Ferguson, Missouri activists met with President Barack Obama Monday to demand that officials put an end to police brutality in the nation.
It has been one week since a St. Louis County grand jury failed to indict Officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting 18-year-old Michael Brown on Aug. 9. The unarmed teenager was shot six times in the head, chest and arms.
Communities nationwide have responded to the miscarriage of justice by carrying out more than 150 sustained, coordinated and intense protest actions that show no signs of letting up. Primarily led by young people of color, the continued sit-ins, highway shutdowns and walkouts have commanded the White House’s attention.
[On Monday,] President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder met with seven Black and Latino organizers – from Ferguson, Mo.; Columbus, Ohio; Miami, Florida; and New York City – who have been leading some of the ongoing actions to disrupt a status quo that is intolerable.
“The president requested this meeting because this is a movement that cannot be ignored,” said Ashley Yates, a co-founder of the St. Louis-based organization, Millennial Activists United. “We have two sets of laws in America – one for young Black and Brown people, and one for the police. We are sick and tired of our lives not mattering, and our organized movement will not relent until we see justice.”
The young leaders expressed how tired citizens are of being traumatized by police. Peaceful protesters have had guns drawn on them, rubber bullets, chemical agents and bean bags fired at them, in addition to menacing threats, according to the protesters.
“We attended this meeting to make it clear to President Obama that we are in crisis, and police officers must be held accountable,” said Rasheen Aldridge, director of Young Activists United St. Louis. “It is a crisis when a Black American can get locked up for traffic fines, but police officers are rarely prosecuted for killing unarmed children. Black communities have suffered under racially biased policing and unconstitutional law enforcement policies for far too long. This has to stop.”
Kudos to these young leaders for standing up for the lives of Black youth.
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