The following is Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s response to Ferguson:
Yesterday, a grand jury in Ferguson, Missouri decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting of Michael Brown.
This announcement is likely to spark understandable feelings of frustration, not only in Ferguson, but across the country.
However, while many are saddened and angered by the grand jury’s decision, I urge everyone taking part in demonstrations to do so in a peaceful manner. I support the efforts of local leaders to promote non-violent expression by self-policing and elevating the voices of community members. Equally important, I believe we should respect the wishes of Michael Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., that all protests be conducted in a way that honors his son’s memory, rather than distract from it. It is also essential that all local, state, and federal law enforcement officials show proper restraint and respect every citizen’s constitutional right to assemble. Atlanta’s history demonstrates that we can come together and protest in a non-violent and peaceful fashion.
Going forward, I encourage the United States Department of Justice to conduct a complete review of how Michael Brown’s killing has been handled thus far. Both the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation have opened civil rights investigations, and I look forward to the release of their findings.
Finally, let’s not forget what this case is really about. It’s about the deep pain and sorrow that a mother and father have lived through since their son was killed more than three months ago. We must view this case, not just through our own eyes, but through the eyes of parents who lost a child. While this decision does not do justice to Michael Brown and his family, it serves as an opportunity for Atlanta, and the rest of the nation, to engage in a thoughtful conversation on how to build greater trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve.
UPDATED: A message from Elizabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless can be found after the jump. For those that would like to help, food assembly for Feed the Hungry begins at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the DeKalb Jail.
Elizabeth Omilami, CEO of Hosea Feed The Hungry and Homeless:
I am sorry to say to our children and our young people that this is not new. Racism in Ferguson, Missouri is deeply embedded and that is not the only city in America. I AM NOT SURPRISED AND MY HEART IS BROKEN. We need to wake up and realize, that this is not the post racism era, that there never was a war on poverty. This kind of racism I believe cannot be legislated, it has to be a heart change. We must remain non-violent in our protesting, but we must continue to protest. I will soon join you in our fight for equality.
The young black men and women who have been killed with no chance for justice are our sons, our brothers, our sisters, or our daughters. This country is steeped in this stronghold, but we wrestle not against flesh and blood. Whenever there was a victory in the Civil Rights movement blood was shed. Sacrifice was made and my Father, Hosea Williams, often led the charge that caused great decisions to be made into law. We must learn from this. We have gotten too comfortable in this country. To comfortable with this parody of “Democracy”. We must wake up!
Self-defense is often used as an excuse to take the lives of our children. We must address institutional racism in order to move forward in this country. We need to stop pretending this is a Fairyland and see the real truth about America.
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