The Greek play “Antigone” tells the story of a defiant woman sentenced to death by a king who refuses to practice mercy. After a bitter civil war that pitched brother against brother, newly crowned Creon honors one with burial and leaves the other to rot.
Today we reflect on the memory of Mike Brown, the 18-year-old unarmed black youth fatally shot six times, twice in the head, by Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson. The 2014 shooting prompted…
Editor’s Note: Nine national juvenile justice advocacy organizations collaborated on the statement below in response to the Ferguson, Mo., grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting Michael Brown. We stand in solidarity with Michael Brown and his family and their supporters in Ferguson, Mo., and across the nation. Michael Brown’s fate — killed by a police officer and denied justice — is yet another example that black and brown children are not always protected by our nation’s laws and that the justice system works differently for different people. We fully understand how some communities have lost faith in the system. In both Ferguson and other communities, we have failed our youth of color in profound ways.
In this moment of high drama when the nation’s attention is focused on Ferguson, it is important to remember something:
The entire saga of Michael Brown’s killing is simultaneously an individual tragedy and a window into the much larger injustice of ongoing white oppression. For the latter concern the particular outcome of the jury’s deliberations are less relevant, though of course the failure of the grand jury to indict Darren Wilson brings tremendous pain to those who have fought to see a trial happen. Do any of us imagine that convicting Darren Wilson of murder would begin to address the larger injustice? The very system that we have been asking to create justice in this instance is the agent of injustice across the nation, as schools, police, courts and prisons carry out the implementation of what writer Michelle Alexander so aptly calls The New Jim Crow. Real justice on a societal level doesn’t come from courts, it comes from struggle against the system of injustice.