‘Whose Streets?’ Tracks Inspirational Call For Social Justice

A scene from the new documentary "Whose Streets?" about the rise of social justice activism in Ferguson, Mo. (Magnolia Pictures)

By Jordan Riefe for Truth Dig – On Aug. 9 three years ago, unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot dead by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. The killing took place under disputed circumstances, and Wilson was never charged for the shooting. In the days that followed, peaceful demonstrators were met by a military show of force that escalated into violence, mayhem and looting. “A riot is the language of the unheard” is Martin Luther King Jr.’s answer to those who ask why the disaffected don’t pursue justice through established channels. “Ain’t no Constitution in Ferguson,” says a protester in the gritty new documentary “Whose Streets?” as he ponders Barack Obama’s days as a constitutional law professor. “Tell that n—– he needs to teach a new class and bring his ass to Ferguson, Missouri, and tell us why there ain’t no Constitution.” While a wide majority of protests in the wake of Brown’s killing were peaceful, the media focused on looting and destruction of property. In the eyes of the public, the images shown on TV rationalized the militarization of police forces, newly fortified after the Department of Defense 2013 decision to provide surplus MRAPs (mine-resistant ambush protected military vehicles), bayonets, grenade launchers, assault rifles and other tactical weapons to local law enforcement.

Why Are Ferguson Activists Dying?

Edward Crawford (CNN screenshot)

By Jason Johnson for The Root. The most iconic photo of the Ferguson, Mo., protests, if not the entire Black Lives Matter movement, is of Edward Crawford defiantly throwing a tear gas canister back at riot police. And now he’s dead. Crawford was found shot to death Thursday night in his car, just like activist Darren Seals in 2016 and protester DeAndre Joshua the night of the Ferguson verdict in 2014. The latter two had gunshot wounds to the head and their cars were lit on fire. Crawford, it is believed by police, shot himself in the back seat of his car either in an attempted suicide or by accident. Given the justifiable lack of trust between local activists, black residents and the police, however, questions remain about this story.

Five Years Ago Today, Trayvon Martin Was Killed

Trayvon Martin Peace Walk in MIami Gardens, 2nd Annual

Staff for #RememberTrayvon. The murder of Trayvon Martin was the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement that accelerated with the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and has grown with the deaths of so many other blacks at the hands of police. Here are several campaigns to remember Trayvon: #TrayvonTaughtMe digital toolkit and campaign:The #TrayvonTaughtMe digital campaign highlights the beginnings of the Black Lives Matter movement, and how Trayvon’s extrajudicial murder and his family’s commitment to ending gun violence and strengthening communities catalyzed a generation of organizers and activists to take action for Black lives. #OurSonTrayvon campaign: In collaboration with Gbenga Akkinagbe, founder of Liberated People, and activist-writer Michaela Angela Davis, BLM is supporting the launch of the #OurSonTrayvon campaign, whose goal is to create a sustainable movement humanizing Black children in the collective imagination. #DearTrayvonsMom letter writing campaign: is soliciting love letters to Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother and #TalkAboutTrayvon digital toolkit and campaign: seeks to launch a conversation among white people about the conditions that led to the extrajudicial murder of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman.

Ferguson Protest Leader Darren Seals Shot And Found Dead

Darren Seals, top center, awaits the decision by a grand jury on whether to indict a police officer in the death of Michael Brown in November 2014. Photograph: Robert Cohen/AP

By Lois Beckett for The Guardian – Ferguson protest leader Darren Seals was found dead early Tuesday morning in a car that had been set on fire. Seals had been shot, and St Louis County police said they were investigating his death as a homicide. The 29-year-old’s death sent waves of shock and grief through the community of activists in Missouri who protested the police killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson in 2014. “We have lost a great champion of civil rights in our community,” said Bassem Masri, a friend who had live-streamed the Ferguson protests, sometimes with Seals walking behind him to protect him as he filmed.

Ferguson Protesters Being Arrested Under Unconstitutional Law


By Mariah Stewart and Ryan J. Reilly for The Huffington Post – ST. LOUIS — Officials in St. Louis County have issued warrants for the arrest of at least 47 individuals charged in connection with the August 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, a Huffington Post review of court records has found. But the law that county officials are using to prosecute those protesters — some of whom were originally arrested while standing on the sidewalk — should have come off the books in 1987, when the Supreme Court struck down a similar ordinance as unconstitutional.

Ferguson Prosecutor Determined To Convict Activists Finally Resigns

Stephanie Karr has been the target of many public protests in Ferguson.

By Mariah Stewart for The Huffington Post – ST. LOUIS — After pressure from the media and community activists, Ferguson’s relentless part-time head prosecutor Stephanie Karr has announced her resignation. In a letter to city officials Monday, Karr wrote that she would resign with a “heavy heart,” saying the decision was “thoughtfully deliberated” with family and colleagues, but ultimately hers alone. “I have greatly enjoyed my work with the city of Ferguson,” Karr wrote.

Black Liberation: Ghosts Of The Past, Potential Of The Future

Angela Y. Davis gives a lecture at the University of Vienna. (Photo: Universität Wien)

By Angela Y. Davis for Truth Dig – Thank you so much and good evening everyone. First of all it is a pleasure and an honor to be here at Davidson College to help you celebrate Black History Month. I always welcome the opportunity to come to North Carolina because I spent a number of years of my own activist career doing work in this state. So first of all, let me say that Black History Month falls in the month of February, about which people used to complain because it’s the shortest month of the year, but there are specific reasons, including the birthday of Frederick Douglass, why we observe Black history during this month.

Newsletter: Justice Takes A Lifetime

Eduardo Munoz/Reuters

By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. The #BlackLivesMatter movement continues to grow its power and have notable victories, but 600 hundred years of racial oppression, older than the nation itself, will not be rooted out quickly. The movement had a series of electoral and other victories this week. These victories for #BLM and their supporters are notable but problems still persist and the movement must continue to grow and get stronger. There are no quick fixes to a country that is crippled by its history of racism. We must all recognize that the work we are doing for racial, economic and environmental justice requires us to be persistent and uncompromising. achieve the transformational justice we seek will last our lifetimes – a marathon and not a sprint.

The End Of Discriminatory Policing In Ferguson?

Michael Brown Sr. shakes hands with a Ferguson City Council member. Jeff Roberson / AP

By J. Weston Phippen for The Atlantic – The Ferguson, Missouri, City Council reversed its previous position and voted Tuesday night to accept the changes to its courts and police departments that were recommended by the U.S. Justice Department in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, by a police officer. The council voted unanimously, 6-to-0, to accept the Justice Department’s changes, and likely spared itself from an expensive legal battle.

How Hashtags #BlackLivesMatter; #Ferguson Became Movement

Photo by Chauniqua Young: #BlackLivesMatter from the Starbucks #BaltimoreNYC

By Deen Freelon, Charlton D. McIlwain, and Meredith D. Clark for CMSI – IN 2014, A DEDICATED ACTIVIST MOVEMENT—Black Lives Matter (BLM)—ignited an urgent national conversation about police killings of unarmed Black citizens. Online tools have been anecdotally credited as critical in this effort, but researchers are only beginning to evaluate this claim. This research report examines the movement’s uses of online media in 2014 and 2015. To do so, we analyze three types of data: 40.8 million tweets, over 100,000 web links, and 40 interviews of BLM activists and allies. Most of the report is devoted to detailing our findings…

Angela Davis Talks Black Liberation, History & Contemporary Vision

Angela Davis speaking at Myer Horowitz Theatre of the University of Alberta. Nick Wiebe/Wikimedia Commons

By Sheryl Huggins Salomon for Ebony – Fifty years after the founding of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, the agenda and style of the legendary Black revolutionary organization remains relevant in today’s public discourse. An end to “police brutality and the murder of Black people,” central to the Black Lives Matter movement, was laid out in the Black Panthers’ 10-Point Platform five decades ago. Both acclaim and condemnation erupted when their iconic black berets made an appearance recently in Beyoncé’s half-time show performance during the Super Bowl.

Civil Disobedience And Free Speech Tested By Prayer In Ferguson

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By Sharmini Peries for The Real News – On February 9 of 2016, after 20 minutes of a jury deliberation, Ferguson civil liberties protester Rev. Sekou was found not guilty on charges stemming from an arrest back in September of 2014, during the Ferguson uprisings. Rev. Sekou was detained when he knelt in prayer outside a local police department where police officers claimed that he was resisting orders. On to talk about his ordeal and what it means for the democratic right of civil disobedience and the right to protest is the man himself, Rev. Sekou. Rev. Sekou is an author, documentary filmmaker, pastor, theologian, and of course a political activist. Rev. Sekou, good to have you back on the Real News.

Feds Sue Ferguson For Widespread Constitutional Violations And Racial Discrimination

On August 8 in Ferguson, Missouri, demonstrators mark the first anniversary of the death of Michael Brown. (Scott Olson / Getty Images)

By Ryan J. Reilly for The Huffington Post – WASHINGTON — The Justice Department filed a civil rights lawsuit against the city of Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday in an effort to end what it described as patterns of constitutional violations by the city’s police department and municipal court. The decision comes one day after Ferguson rejected a negotiated deal that would have set the St. Louis suburb on a path toward reforming its police department.

Newsletter: Defeating The Oligarchs


By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers. People in the US are taught that the way to create change is through voting. But in reality, voting in the US is very limited and ineffective. In an article, “Don’t Count on Elections: Organize or Die” the authors examine the myriad of ways that elections fail to create change; how they are designed to place a middleman, your representative, between you and the change you want and how elections tend to reinforce the status quo rather than change it. They point to South Carolina where there have been numerous attempts to rid the state of the Confederate Flag, but it was not until an activist climbed up a flag pole and took it down, that the government finally acted. Direct action, at the right moment, was more powerful than elections.

DOJ Agreement Would Stop Policing For Profit In Ferguson

The protests against police violence in the wake of Michael Brown’s death have expanded recently to tackle other injustices in the St. Louis region. Jewel Samad/Getty  Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/news/activists-in-ferguson-broaden-scope-unveil-power-behind-the-police-20150709#ixzz3h6VwKKTY  Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

By Ryan J. Reilly and Mariah Stewart for The Huffington Post – ST. LOUIS — A sweeping proposed agreement between the Justice Department and Ferguson, Missouri, would bring big changes to way the city’s police department and municipal court have operated, in an attempt to end the unconstitutional practices that had severely damaged the relationship between officers and members of the community. If adopted, the agreement would mandate extensive officer training; make several revisions to the municipal code to eliminate statutes that police used to abuse the city’s most vulnerable residents…