Planetize the Movement stands with the community in Ferguson, Missouri, and the movements in Ferguson and beyond to end systemic racial oppression in policing and in society.
We are witnessing in Ferguson and across the country a watershed moment, one that calls each of us to respond to the pressing need to transform our culture toward racial and economic justice.
Now is the time to support this new tide of youth-led activism. Please stay attuned to the possibilities emerging, and ways to lend our individual and collective voices and actions to create justice for all.
Groups to know and support include:
the Dream Defenders (http://dreamdefenders.org/),
The Black Youth Project (http://www.blackyouthproject.com/),
The Organization for Black Struggle (http://obs-onthemove.org/),
Color of Change (http://colorofchange.org/),
and many more.
On Sunday, August 24th, I traveled to Ferguson on the invitation of my dear friend, Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, who has deep ties to the Ferguson and St. Louis communities, and had been organizing there for over a week in the midst of teargas and brutal militarized suppression of peaceful protest.
My first night in Missouri we attended the end of a vigil against racist violence. It was heartbreaking to meet Bobby Johnson, uncle of Oscar Grant, an unarmed Black man killed by BART police in Oakland, and Ron Davis, father of Jordan Davis, an unarmed Black man killed by a white man in Florida.
After the vigil we visited the memorial to Michael Brown at the site of his murder on Canfield Drive. The spirit of grief and tragedy was heavy.
On Monday we attended the home-going memorial service for Michael Brown which was utterly heartbreaking. In addition to the immense grief there was a powerful spirit of unity, community, resolve, and resistance.
That night I attend a panel discussion at which Rev. Sekou, Martin Luther King III, and many others spoke.
On Tuesday there was a youth-led rally at the St. Louis City Hall that then marched to the Federal Building. Local organizers sought to meet with officials inside the building, to present and discuss their list of local and national demands, but were stopped under threat of arrest by police.
Rev. Sekou and other clergy were asked to help lead the line as local activists risked arrest to walk past the police. They were stopped again at the front door, but eventually eight local leaders were able to enter and meet with federal officials.
At the Federal Building protest I spoke with Rev. William Barber, of the 73-week Moral Mondays movement in North Carolina. I asked Dr. Barber what he saw happening with the leadership of the youth in Ferguson.
“I came down to visit with some clergy and the NAACP, heard about these youth,” Dr. Barber said, “and I’m telling you, there’s a fire here, and what I see in the youth is that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, if I may be biblical. There’s Black, there’s white, there’s Latino. It’s deepening. It’s young people understanding… and knowing what systems have to be changed. They’re a force to be reckoned with.”
“I looked at their eyes,” Rev. Barber told me, “and I went back and snapped a picture of the eyes of the young folk in the 60s, when they came to consciousness. That’s what I see here. That’s what I see happening in North Carolina. There’s something in the eyes. They are focused. This is life-transforming for them, and it’s going to be nation-transforming for America.”
Planetize the Movement is committed to supporting the leadership of youth and the leadership of communities of color as we all work to create a world beyond racism in policing and society.
Let us honor the memories of Oscar Grant, Jordan Davis, Trayvon Martin, Renisha McBride, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and so many others by demanding and taking action for racial justice.
–Drew Dellinger and the PTM Team