The incidents in Ferguson might be likened to a case of lethal domestic violence. A misunderstanding, which instead of being talked out, led to a killing. And in the wake of the killing, as the family began to voice it’s pain and outrage and demand that there be justice, tragedy only deepened. The killer was a member of a state sanctioned gang. The killers gang members gathered all of their weapons and surrounded the community as they expressed their grief and threatened them – pointing guns from every side demanding silence. The family mayor said “Shhhh…we always get along, there is no real problem here”. And then without warning they turned on physiologically deafening 160 dB LRAD audio weaponry, began shooting war banned chemical weapons indiscriminately into the family (yes tear gas is banned in war by US signed treaties), began shooting “less lethal” bullets, plastic, wooden and bean bag indiscriminately into the family (all of which have killed US citizens and been banned in other communities), pointed sniper guns with live ammo onto citizens verbally threatening to kill them, chased them into dead end alleyways, went after them with dogs, insisting they stop expressing themselves and disperse. They climbed into armored vehicles and raced them through the fleeing crowds of family members.
This is the description of a gang of bullies backing up a perpetrator of domestic violence. But it didn’t stop there. They had effectively threatened and diminished the fundamental right of human beings and a community to freely express their pain and outrage. By making this expression of pain life threatening, they insured it’s chances of becoming an intergenerational disabling trauma. They insured the sight of their gang would deepen the visceral terror felt in the prescence of killers who know impunity. They demanded that the grief and outrage be expressed on the gangs terms. They demanded that even in grief the family be obedient to it’s terrorists.
Other families and communities heard the cries and many who heard responded and came to bear witness. The cry of pain was so strong and so clear people travelled from all of the continents of earth to bear witness to this pain.
The gang insisted this was a family matter and that it must be dealt with without interference. Witnesses were gassed and shot at, arrested in restaurants, knocked to the ground, kneed in the back and arrested for asking questions, corralled into holding pens, and had all their cell devices disconnected before the most violent gang attacks at the expressions of the wounded family. Witnesses without gang approved credentials were told they could not exist as witnesses. The gang called in backups from bigger gangs who had given them many of their weapons. The family was given a day to feel itself, on a Sunday, and began to strengthen. The gang decided they could not be allowed time to strengthen and insisted that they must walk, that they could not assemble as a family, they must walk, 5 seconds the longest they could stand still. Suddenly rules were changed and at the slightest whim the family was subject to attack over and over and over again. The family was told it was being punished for allowing those from outside who have heard your pain to be among you. The whole family would be punished if one among them acted out of the prescribed lines. At the slightest provocation, such as the tossing of a water bottle, the whole family was repunished.
The family was not a stranger to this violence. Just down the road lies the grave of Dred Scott who had once appealed to the heart of the gangs elder wise men to recognize his humanity as a free black man. The Supreme Court of the gang had ruled that the country was set up for property owning white men and so as a black man he had no rights that a white man was bound to respect. The gang members had started a war with each other over that and with their newly crafted guns killed each other more successfully than humans had ever killed each other before. The family had survived 100’s of years of such ignorance and it’s violations. The family knew about the heart. A shrine to Mike Brown was built over the place his blood has poured into the Earth. Grandmothers let out a call 4 & 5 times a day and circled people into song & prayer, young men & women wrote poems and rapped them to the beats of their feet walking on the stones. Grandfathers called out the truths of their hearts and let the witnesses record their truths. Young women & men faced the guns and spoke their truth hands raised… HandsUpDontShoot! Those with unconsolable grief and outrage were touched with love. The people fortified each other with NoJusticeNoPeace! Young citizens realized they knew the cost of freedom and they could not live without paying it, even if it meant death. Rights of existence cannot be asked for, they must be claimed. The people rinsed each others faces from the burning gas. They bound bullet wounds and helped each other find medical help. The people found each other. The poverty of soul endured by the gang members code of silence around their violations was obvious. The people had each other. Their burning and righteous light was shining around the world visible to those with eyes to see, audible for those with ears and hearts to hear, opening for those with hands to hold on to one another. The flame of righteous life burned bright. At times it had to burn down the known but it was burning. The flames of transformation are sometimes all that exists to hold onto. In those moments of eyes meeting one another – there was just enough – to be more than enough. And the family rejoined in the cries… JustUsMikeBrown!
This militaristic gangsterism, masquerading as a government, revealed itself as all too willing to violate the people and their most fundamental rights of existence, expression, witness and safety from harm. The family is waking up. Other families are awakening. We have hard truths & good work to face together.
Photos from Thursday August 18th Ferguson Solidarity – Martin Luther King Jr Blvd – Portland Police Dekum Police Station – Demanding Mayor Hales and Police Chief Reese – condemn militarized police response in Ferguson
Photos from a Citizen gathering in Portland OR on August 21st, National Day of Outrage in Solidarity with the peoples of #Ferguson and all Human Beings suffering State Terrorism – Portland OR (Pioneer Square – Federal Justice Center – Portland Police Dept).
Ferguson has revealed our need to use our ears to hear, our hearts to feel, our hands to hold one another, our minds to rethink – knowing our human family to be in crisis – this is a time to stretch beyond our comfort zones…
How are we writing the next chapter in this… our story?
Love and Strength to US