dream hampton @dreamhampton
"These women offer a place where Ferguson youth could come & scream & cry & be held & heard in love. Mighty work."
Today I broke down in tears at my desk, mourning the death and the pain of everyone affected by police violence and brutality. Between Michael Brown's death, the militarization of police in Ferguson, the teargas, media censorship, racial profiling against black men, the violence against protesters in the MO suburb...I just feel helpless. My breaths are getting shallower and my heart is getting heavier.
I ask myself, how can this be happening? While we are by no means even close to a post-racial society, or to complete racial equality and justice in this country, we never expected to see brutality and censorship at this level. But what we must not forget is that people of color still face daily violence and overpolicing in their neighborhoods and homes. What is happening in Ferguson is a result of the same systems of oppression, racism and violence that plague people all over the country.
While some of us feel powerless, the residents of Ferguson fighting for justice on the front lines, facing teargas and scare tactics are exhibiting tremendous power, strength, bravery and heroism. We should channel their will, their power, their steadfastness into our organizing and advocacy efforts.
But right now it is okay to feel sad. I invite you to feel outraged, angry, empathetic, sad, heartbroken, inspired, hopeful, connected. However, in the face of such an urgent crisis, I encourage you to take some sort of action when you are feeling ready.
Here are some basic steps you can take to contribute to the growing opposition of police brutality and racial profiling.
1. Start a conversation by posting something on Facebook and inviting people to share their thoughts. While some people believe using Facebook is a shallow form of activism, I personally believe it's a great place for us to connect with others and share our thoughts.
2. Write a letter to your elected officials- city, state or federal- urging them to support Rep. Hank Johnson's new bill, the Stop Militarizing Law Enforcement Act, to be introduced in the House soon. You can visit THIS PAGE to find resources on writing effective letters to your elected officials.
3. Attend a local vigil, moment of silence, protest, or solidarity gathering in your community.
4. Talk with your friends and family about issues of police violence. Share stories, share your fears, your hopes, your experiences. Connect deeply, with your heart and your soul and your gut and your tears and your screams and your silence and your mind. Connect with everything you have.