Friday News Bites: Police Violence in Ferguson + #BlackLivesMatter Protests

Continuing coverage from Karishma’s posts earlier in the week, let’s get right into what is happening in both Ferguson and with the larger #BlackLivesMatter movement. A lot has happened, to say the least.

After activists Mara Jacqueline Willaford and Marissa Johnson disrupted a Bernie Sanders event in Seattle, seems like everyone had an opinion on how one should protest and why and “Won’t these ladies just play nice?”…followed by a dash of conspiracy theories. I won’t get into my thoughts on the matter here too much because I’m going to let black people speak for themselves. Imagine that.

Ijeoma Oluo offers her perspective on the protest for The Seattle Globalist:

“Disruption and riots aren’t how you accomplish change.”

How do you think change has been accomplished throughout history? What do you think the Boston Tea Party was? What about the Montgomery Bus Boycott? Even looking at the changes in Ferguson this past year you can see that disruption can lead to change. If saying “please” and waiting patiently led to change, we’d have seen it a long time ago.

And though it was just a representation of existing material, Bernie Sanders had a new “Racial Justice” platform added to his site the next day.

Also, around the same time (though admittedly not because of the protest), he hired Symone Sanders as his national press secretary — a black woman who “reached out to him to offer advice on how best to handle emerging criticism from the Black Lives Matter movement.”

For everyone who says that the movement is “picking on Bernie only” or that the protesters were somehow Hillary plants, it certainly not true: In New Hampshire, activists were shut out of one of her events, though they later met with Clinton “for about 15 minutes in a private meeting that they claim turned contentious at times, and featured Clinton giving unsolicited advice for the direction of the movement.”

Now with crowds growing increasingly larger at his events, Bernie Sanders has moved ahead of Hillary Clinton in a New Hampshire poll, 44% to her 37%. Goodness, you’d almost think increased press for a candidate helps or something… [auto-playing video]

At The Washington Post, Sally Kohn asked various #BlackLivesMatter activists and writers to talk about how white people can support them. (Listening, is the big thing.)

And here’s a list of kids’ books on the subject of racial equality.

Now, some Twitter reactions to the protest:

(It should be said that Twitter has been an excellent resource for on-the-ground perspectives when it comes to breaking news stories. If you’re relying on police statements, CNN (and the like) only, your picture of events like these may be limited.)

In Ferguson:

One year after the death of Mike Brown, police shot a man during this past weekend’s commemoration and protest events. Police also fired tear gas into protest areas.

Then an armed militia called the Oath Keepers turned up with guns. And somehow, police were totally fine with this?

The Pentagon ordered Ferguson police to return Humvees “amid concerns about police militarization.”

A State of Emergency was then declared in St. Louis, and activists (including Cornel West) were arrested at a rally outside the federal courthouse.

Rachel Colocha details what happened when she was arrested while participating in protests and how the police were presenting it to the public.

Washington Post reporter Abby D. Philip wrote on Tuesday night:

There are also a group of “radical knitters” in Ferguson, called The Yarn Mission. They “use yarn to promote action and change to eradicate racism, sexism, and other systems of oppression.”

Related News:

Police fatally shot unarmed 19-year-old Christian Taylor after they said he was attempting to rob a car dealership. The investigation is ongoing, but the officer involved is on administrative leave.

Also in Texas, Charnesia Corley, a 21-year-old black woman, was forced to undergo a body cavity search on the concrete of a Texaco station because police “smelled marijuana.” AKA… That’s sexual assault and also violates the Constitution.

In California, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill that banned the use of grand juries in cases of police use-of-force.

And finally, here’s a conversation between writers Roxane Gay and Ta-Nehisi Coates, where they cover Coates’ new book, Between The World and Me, and the problems of discussing race.

Stay tuned for Friday News Bites, Part 2, where I’ll get into the rest of this week’s stories of note. Until then…

By Sara Habein

Sara Habein is the author of Infinite Disposable, a collection of microfiction, and her work has appeared on The Rumpus, Pajiba and Word Riot, among others. Her book reviews and other commentary appear at Glorified Love Letters, and she is the co-manager of Electric City Creative.

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