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Michael Brown Solidarity Open Letter
Dear TU Friends and Allies,
We at the Tenants Union are deeply saddened by the murder of Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson Police officer, Darren Wilson. Brown graduated from high school this past spring, and was visiting his grandmother when he was fatally shot by Wilson. Today, August 18th, 2014, would have marked Brown’s first full week as a college student. The staff and board of the Tenants Union of Washington send our deepest condolences to the Brown family, as well as to the protesters who were injured or arrested while making their voices heard.
Two times each week, an African American individual is killed at the hands of a Caucasian police officer in America. Centuries of bias and discrimination pervade the American legal system, where racial disparities abound in every sector from police shootings to minor arrests and incarceration. Self-reported statistics from local police departments to the FBI report a 50% increase in police shootings resulting in death between white police officers and black and white suspects under the age of 21. The people of Ferguson and communities across the nation have every right to stand against such needless bloodshed. As such, we condemn the acts of the Ferguson Police Department in their efforts to silence the protests with military-grade weaponry and restrictions on the resident’s right to free speech and peaceful assembly. We believe that tanks and tear gas have no place in any neighborhood, and such draconian strategies will inevitably lead to more lives lost.
We support the ongoing efforts to memorialize Brown’s life and untimely passing through protest and civil disobedience. As portions of the nation condemn the residents of Ferguson for refusing the state-instituted restrictions on free speech and assembly, we urge those individuals to remember Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King’s words, “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” We ask you to voice your pain over Michael Brown, Eric Garner, John Crawford, Aaron Campbell, and the countless other lives lost to police brutality.
It is time that we, as a nation, demand the unequivocal end to the structural forces that perpetuate racial bias and the disproportionate police occupation of communities of color. As the fight for police accountability continues in Ferguson and across the nation, we understand that the root causes of these ongoing tragedies must be corrected. We stand in solidarity with Brown’s family in this painful time as they mourn their family’s heart-rending loss. To the Brown family, and to the protesters – we support you.
TU Staff & Board