Black Lives Matter: two years after Ferguson

8.31.16_Features_CatieByrne_Fergusontwoyearslater_flickr_Joe Brusky (1)

Joe Brusky/ Flickr

Catie Byrne
  Features Editor

Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2014, marks the second anniversary of Mike Brown’s homicide by police officer, Darren Wilson.

It’s hard to forget the murder that re-ignited the Black Lives Matter movement that took America by storm after George Zimmerman murdered Trayvon Martin in 2012. Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi and Patrisse Cullors, the coiners of “Black Lives Matter,” are all outspoken black lesbians, who have been at the forefront of Black Lives Matter protests, rallies and social media.

The trio, among many others, has been and continues to be an advocate for justice for black lives taken by police violence, while additionally working to secure black LGBT victims of police brutality.

In a statement on blacklivesmatter.org, Garza expressed her frustration with the way the media have postured the leaders of the Black Lives Matter movement as only straight black men.

“Straight men, unintentionally or intentionally, have taken the work of queer Black women and erased our contributions. Perhaps if we were the charismatic Black men many are rallying around these days, it would have been a different story, but being Black queer women in this society (and apparently within these movements) tends to equal invisibility and non-relevancy,” said Garza.

To date, according to theadvocate.com, the number of black trans people murdered by the police in 2016 is 15; 14 of them trans women. And while there is not an official number available documenting the number of black people murdered due to police violence, the intersection of homophobia and racism — as seen in the recent Pulse shooting in Orlando — leaves little doubt that black LGBT lives are in danger by virtue of living in the United States.

According to mappingpoliceviolence.org, the police have killed 160 black people in 2016 thus far. Filled with a myriad of graphs, diagrams and illustrations, mappingpoliceviolence.org displays consistently that black people are at a high risk of murder America for existing.

Mappingpoliceviolence.org statistics’ include: “Black people are three times more likely to be killed by the police than white people,” and that contrary to the stereotypes perpetuated in the news,”30 percent of black victims [murdered by the police] were unarmed in 2015, compared to 19 percent of white victims.”

Additionally, mappingpoliceviolence.org provides evidence proving that the murder of black people in America by the police is not an issue of black people committing crimes. “Fewer than one in three black people killed by the police in America were suspect of a violent crime and allegedly armed.”

As Americans have seen in the public eye with regards for the murders of Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray, there is no justice for black people killed at the hands of the police. This is substantiated by mappingpoliceviolence.org, “97 percent of cases [regarding police involvement in black people’s death and murder], in 2015 did not result in any officers being charged with a crime.”

Not only was Darren Wilson not convicted on any charges for the murder of Mike Brown, he has even attained fame for being a murderer. “The truth according to Darren Wilson,” is an upcoming film, directed by actor Ezra Miller, and Sol Guy, about what it is to understand the mind and story of a murderer.

Miller and Guy released a rather unsettling statement regarding their project: “If we agree that we live in a country born of violence that reacts with acts of violence when cornered, then perhaps we could begin to find a new way to look at the situation. We could explore what happens to us when we take a human life, what happens to the collective psyche when we attempt to assign personal blame or justification alone.”

While Miller and Sol later clarified that their movie does not intend to take sides regarding Darren Wilson murdering Mike Brown, it is still chilling to see that the murderer of a young black man is receiving more media attention than the family and communities of the man he murdered.

Indeed, two years later; and the radio, television, newspapers and collective media have substantially quieted down about black people’s ongoing struggle against police brutality and murder in this country. Where does that leave Mike Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, or Freddie Gray’s then six-year-old daughter, Paige? It’s hard to say, and even harder to imagine what it must be like to grieve the loss of a loved one due to police brutality.



Categories: Catie Byrne, Features, Uncategorized

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