Update! March 16th, 2015:
The shooting of two police officers in Ferguson was a terrible, criminal act. It has unnecessarily led to increased tensions between the community and the police department. The shooter has been identified as 20 year old, Jeffery Williams. He has admitted to the shooting, but says it had nothing to do with the protesting of Michael Brown. He was aiming for someone else all together, not for the police officers he actually shot. Other protesters agree, he is not part of their close-knit group. (nytimes.com)
Although, “demonstrators had denounced the shooting, but vowed to continue marching and protesting, saying they would not be distracted from seeking justice for Mr. Brown’s killing and for systemic change in Ferguson’s police and court system” (nytimes.com, 2015).I couldn’t agree more. Now that the shooter has been caught, my hope is that peaceful strategies for improved race relations can be developed and implemented.
Comment below and tell me what you think can be done to make racial relations more positive in Ferguson. Or, tell me what you and your neighbors do in your community to improve race relations.
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Update! February 17th, 2015:
Harris County DA Anderson has stated her support for legislation that will revamp the grand jury selection process. (Houston chronicle)
Although I am not aware of the details, there is legislation that will be considered by the Texas lawmakers in Austin. It is my hope that any such legislation will not only deal with the selection process of the grand jurors, but will also deal with overhauling the grand jury system in total. This would include, looking at things like making the entire process more transparent.
What could have been done differently in Ferguson? See my thoughts below.
First, the media could have highlighted the issue of coming together as a community to TALK and plan a solution. Instead, the media played on the emotions of the crowd. They could have helped the police and the citizens come together as a unified group instead of playing on the divisiveness of the emotions of the group.
The community could have shown more restraint, following the lead of Mike Brown’s Mother, as she asked for peaceful protest. They could have done more to keep outside influences, such as negative media and violent protesters, away. On top of that, how stupid is it to burn down your own community? You’re going to burn down businesses that you use, that are there to serve you? That doesn’t help anybody.
How could the public officials have done to help put the fire out?
I think they tried. They appointed the senior level black state policeman to deal with crowd control, public appearances and so forth. If anything could have been done differently, the governor could have stepped up in support of the community a little more. I believe the public officials did the best they could.
Overall, we need to do something to revamp and modernize the grand jury process, making it more transparent. Because the grand jury meets in secret, the process of selection is questionable and their deliberation is not transparent, people feel starved for information and facts. If citizens were informed on what happens behind those closed doors, then their reaction could have possibly been different, maybe causing the community to react differently regardless of the outcome of the grand jury’s decision. Changing the process of the grand jury could be the key to start the process of building the community, instead of burning it down.