Tag: Michael Brown protests

Congressional Staffers Walk Out of U.S. Capitol in Protest of Police Killings

congress walkout

WASHINGTON — Dozens of congressional staffers walked out of their offices Thursday afternoon to show solidarity with demonstrators who are protesting the decisions not to indict police officers who killed Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Just after 3:30 p.m., the staffers stood on the steps of the U.S. Capitol with their hands raised in the “hands up, don’t shoot” gesture. In interviews, the staffers said they felt the need to express their support for demonstrators calling for police accountability for officers who take the lives of unarmed black men and women.

“We’re coming out here to let them know, no, it’s not business as usual, our lives matter, we’re asserting our humanity and our dignity,” one congressional staffer told The Huffington Post.

“Even though we go to work in these prestigious buildings among prestigious people, we go home and we’re still profiled, we still are part of those statistics,” the staffer added. “It could have been any one of us who was Eric Garner, who was Mike Brown.”

Most staffers did not speak to the press, and none who did agreed to give their names.

Another staffer said that while there may be longterm changes that come about as a result of the protest movement, it was important to assert that it was wrong to allow police officers to take lives without being held accountable.

“They want to put cameras on police officers, which is a great idea, but the Eric Garner case was seen on live TV; the entire world saw it,” said one young black congressional staffer who participated in the walkout. “President Obama said protests are necessary. This is a necessary protest.”

congress walkout

Rep. Joaquín Castro (D-Texas), who took part in the demonstration, said the protest represented “the best of American democracy.” He said he hoped the effort had bipartisan support, and pointed out that a majority of Americans now support some reforms, like having body cameras on police, even in places “thought to be conservative,” like Texas.

The walkout was planned by the Congressional Black Associates, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Staff Association and the Congressional Hispanic Staff Association.

article by Dana Liebelson and Ryan J. Reilly via huffingtonpost.com

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen Hire Food Trucks to Feed Protesters in New York

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend (ANDREW GOODMAN/GETTY IMAGES)

Despite New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton’s prediction that public demonstrations over the Eric Garner and Ferguson Grand Jury decisions would “peter out,” the protests are still going strong thanks, in part, to a generous contribution from musician John Legend and his wife model and food blogger Chrissy Teigen. The couple purchased a fleet of food trucks to serve up free food to hungry protesters in New York’s Lincoln Square.

Though neither Legend or Teigen is on the ground or taking direct credit for the trucks, Teigen did retweet the following message to her 500,000 followers:

https://twitter.com/ophelporhush/status/541671670797574144

For his part, Legend has let his art do the talking for him. The musician (who was just nominated for several Grammy awards) co-wrote a stirring track from the upcoming (and sadly timely) film Selma about the three Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 which led to to the passage of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

The track, entitled “Glory,” contains the lyrics: “That’s why Rosa sat on the bus/That’s why we walk through Ferguson with our hands up.”

article by Joanna Robinson via vanityfair.com

Attorney General Eric Holder Announces Plan To End Racial Profiling “Once And For All”

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder gestures as he speaks to members of the community during an interfaith service at Ebenezer Baptist Church, Dec. 1 in Atlanta. (David Goldman/Associated Press)

Addressing the state of race and policing relations, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that he plans to introduce new policies that will end racial profiling “once and for all.”

Speaking to a capacity crowd at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where the 1960s civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was a preacher, Holder said he’d lay out specific policy changes in the coming days, but acknowledged that the events in Ferguson, Missouri, had laid bare significant issues regarding policing and race relations.

“The issues raised in Missouri are not unique to that state or small city,” he said.

Tackling those issues would require systemic changes and a commitment at the federal, state, and local levels to change how law enforcement interacts with the public.  “Our police officers cannot be, or be viewed as, an occupying force, disconnected to the communities they serve,” Holder said. “Bonds that have been broken must be restored; bonds that never existed must be created.”

Part of that effort, he added, would be “rigorous new standards and robust safeguards to help end racial profiling once and for all.”

Continue reading “Attorney General Eric Holder Announces Plan To End Racial Profiling “Once And For All””

St. Louis Rams Players Show Support for Ferguson Protesters in Sunday’s Pre-Game

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Members of the Rams raised their arms during pregame introductions as a salute to nearby Ferguson, Missouri. (CBS Sports)

ST. LOUIS — Five Rams players used the team’s pregame introductions to offer a show of support for nearby Ferguson before Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders.

As the offense was introduced, Rams tight end Jared Cook and receivers Kenny BrittStedman BaileyChris Givens and Tavon Austin stopped near the tunnel and raised their hands in a nod to the fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9.  (Wilson’s resignation from the police force was announced Saturday.)

“We kind of came collectively together and decided we wanted to do something,” Cook said. “We haven’t been able to go down to Ferguson to do anything because we have been busy. Secondly, it’s kind of dangerous down there and none of us want to get caught up in anything.

“So we wanted to come out and show our respect to the protests and the people who have been doing a heck of a job around the world.”

Earlier this week, the Rams spent time lamenting the fact that there wasn’t much they could do to help right now with the unrest in Ferguson. But Cook said he plans to go to Ferguson once things settle down.

“My sister, brother-in-law, sister-in-law — all of them went this past week for Thanksgiving,” Cook said. “They came back and reported to me about the things they saw and what was going on around there. Definitely, I will be making a trip to Ferguson.”

Britt claimed that he and his teammates were not “taking sides” with their display.

“We wanted to show that we are organized for a great cause and something positive comes out of it,” Britt said. “That’s what we hope we can make happen. That’s our community. We wanted to let the community know that we support the community.”

Continue reading “St. Louis Rams Players Show Support for Ferguson Protesters in Sunday’s Pre-Game”

Michael Brown Supporters Interrupt St. Louis Symphony Orchestra Performance with Song and Banners (VIDEO)

Protestors at a performance of the St. Louis Orchestra display a banner of officer shooting victim, Mike Brown. TheGrio.com
Protestors at a performance of the St. Louis Orchestra display a banner of officer shooting victim, Mike Brown. (YouTube)

Supporters of slain Missouri teen Michael Brown launched a peaceful protest during a St. Louis Symphony Orchestra performance at Powell Symphony Hall.

The October 4 performance was interrupted suddenly when protestors located in the upper balcony unveiled banners—three in total—with written messages and artwork drawn in remembrance of the Ferguson youth fatally shot by a St. Louis police officer. The protest, launched during a performance of “Requiem” by Brahms, caused a minor delay in the orchestra’s performance. Some members of the protest also stood up in the lower seating sections, singing a tribute—set to the original Brahms’ piece—called “A Requiem for Mike Brown,” according to the title of one YouTube video of the event.

“Justice for Mike Brown,” the protestors can be heard singing in the video taken by one of the audience members, as the video pans towards the balcony, revealing two of the banners. The first is shown saying “Racism Lives Here,” with an arrow pointing to what appears to be a sketch of a city skyline; the second is a sketch of Michael Brown’s face, with “Requiem for Mike Brown” written, along with the dates 1996 – 2014, the years of the 18-year old Brown’s birth and death. The refrain of the protestors’ song was “which side are you on?”

(AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Steve Giegerich)

The video later pans to the third banner, which also features a drawing of the young man’s face, as well as the dates.

A significant portion of the audience can be heard clapping, with some even cheering as the protestors sing the song for approximately a minute and a half. Some audience members however, can be seen with looks of shock and confusion at the sudden and surprising interruption.

After finishing their song, the protestors can be heard chanting “Black lives matter,” before many of them head towards the exits. No arrests were made in the protest, as the demonstrators left of their own accord in peaceful fashion.

The protest follows the continued national controversy surrounding the death of Michael Brown on August 9 in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.

article via thegrio.com