Reclaiming Our Way promoting the well-being of African American children & families

20Aug/140

This is Not New: Pastors, Activists and Everyday People All Fed Up with Ferguson and St. Louis Racism

Interesting discussion from Democracy Now on Tuesday. This is an old pattern and problem, but - fortunately - new and younger people are now beginning to understand more clearly the ugly persistence of white racism and state-sanctioned oppression of Black people.

Ferguson is the most recent and most naked example, between the actual execution of Michael Brown and the subsequent (and continuing) state occupation of the Black community in Ferguson, but be clear that there are many "Ferguson" communities all around the country that must get our attention.

Broken into 4 separate segments...

  1. Pastor: In Ferguson Police Crackdown, I Need a Gas Mask More Than My Clerical Collar (approx. 15 min.)
  2. Activist: For a New Generation, Ferguson Marks Historic Nonviolent Resistance to Police Repression (approx. 10 min.)
  3. St. Louis Activist: Decades After 1968 Urban Uprisings, Key Economic & Race Issues Remain Unresolved (approx. 10 min.)
  4. "Overpoliced & Underprotected": In Michael Brown Killing, Neglect of Black Communities Laid Bare (approx. 3 min.)

Segment #1:  Pastor: In Ferguson Police Crackdown, I Need a Gas Mask More Than My Clerical Collar

We go to the streets of Ferguson to speak with Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, a pastor from the First Baptist Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, who was dispatched to Missouri by the Fellowship of Reconciliation. "It is a tragedy that as a clergyperson I need a tear gas mask more than I need a collar to be able to do the work that I feel called to do," Sekou says.

Approximately 15 minutes

Segment #2:  Activist: For a New Generation, Ferguson Marks Historic Nonviolent Resistance to Police Repression

As protests continue in Ferguson, activists are traveling to Missouri to join the movement in solidarity. We speak with one activist who has just arrived to Ferguson from Florida, Phillip Agnew, the executive director of Dream Defenders, a network of youth of color and their allies who engage in nonviolent civil disobedience and civic engagement to bring about social change. "I came here to be part of resistance," Agnew says. "We have not seen a reaction of nonviolent civil disobedience [to] officers of the state like this in my lifetime." Agnew helped organize protests to the 2012 shooting of unarmed, African-American teenager Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida.

Approximately 10 minutes

Segment #3:  St. Louis Activist: Decades After 1968 Urban Uprisings, Key Economic & Race Issues Remain Unresolved

The upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri, has called to mind the racial divisions that split open in the 1960s with a series of uprisings in cities across the country. In 1967, President Lyndon Johnson established what became known as the Kerner Commission to investigate the causes of the unrest. In February 1968, the commission famously concluded: "Our nation is moving toward two societies — one black, one white — separate and unequal." Just a month later, the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. sparked uprisings in more than 100 cities across the United States, including Kansas City, Missouri, where the National Guard was deployed and at least five people were killed. We speak with Jamala Rogers, who was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and witnessed the 1968 uprisings. She recently did a commentary for St. Louis Public Radio titled "Kerner Commission Warning Comes True — Two Societies, Separate and Unequal." Rogers is a founder and past chair of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis, Missouri. She joins us from the streets in Ferguson.

Approximately 10 minutes

Segment #4:  "Overpoliced & Underprotected": In Michael Brown Killing, Neglect of Black Communities Laid Bare

As we continue to discuss the developments since the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer, we turn to john a. powell, professor of law, African American studies and ethnic studies at the University of California, Berkeley. He is the director of the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society. "The black community tends be overpoliced and underprotected," powell says. "That’s a very serious problem."

Approximately 13 minutes