On August 9, 2014, the murder of Michael Brown, an 18 year old Black man in Ferguson, MO erupted into riots & protests against the racist police. Every 28 hours, a Black person is killed by police or other person acting as a vigilante. The Ferguson rebellions has sparked a flame that has only gotten brighter and shows little sign of withering away. It has galvanized not only Missouri, but also people in the U.S. and around the world. An example that shows the solidarity and connection Ferguson shared with the world are the instances where Palestinians have been giving tips through social media on dealing with the police force’s daily barrage of tear gas and violence.
It is no surprise why the response by the Ferguson black community has been large and rebellious. It is a small city with a population of 21,000, where almost 70% of the population is Black and authorities are almost all white. To cite just one example, only three of the 53 city police officers are black. The unemployment rate for black youth (16 to 24 years) is 47%, while for white youth it is 16%. Moreover, Missouri was the last US state to abolish slavery. These figures start to paint a picture that is shared by the Black and Brown working class communities in most neighborhoods, ghettoes and projects of the nations elsewhere.
The militarized attack on the Ferguson protesters also added fuel to the indignation the community and the nation. The first night of the protests faced attack and repression by the local police, but more and more people showed up days/nights after. Protests had gone from hundreds to thousands, with some having more than 7000 people at the demonstrations. Local fast food workers, (who’ve been organizing for the Fight for 15$ minimum wage campaign and for unionization) other labor union members, ministers and church members, students, and many sectors have come out to join the protests in solidarity. St. Louis mayor and Missouri governor called out the National US Guard and put forward a curfew after midnight to repress and try to stop the protests, but the Ferguson people have shown courage in coming out to not be silenced, with the support of activists from other cities and states who came out to Ferguson to fight along.
As students, workers, and communities at Cal, we should also support the call of Ferguson protests against police brutality and militirization by organizing against the militarization of the UCPD (police department) at UC Berkeley and the against all repression by the police and campus administration.