As a nation we have watched Ferguson and as nation we have waited to hear if Darren Wilson would be held accountable for shooting an unarmed civilian. In the time of waiting we learned of Tamir Brown, a 12-year-old boy shot dead in Cleveland, and Akai Gurley, a 22-year-old father shot dead in the stairwell of his housing unit. We have seen communities across the nation rise up and demand justice. The murder of Michael was not justified because a police officer fired the gun. The fact that a sworn officer of the state fired the gun amplifies the murder to a state-sanctioned killing. If the state will not protect you–will not recognize your right to life–where do you go?
And is that who we are? A nation that kills 12-year-old boys who have toy guns in parks? A nation that kills unarmed civilians? The lack of indictments would say yes.
Melissa Harris-Perry holds open a space to remember the people left to pick up the pieces of lost life. In her open letter to Lesley McSpadden, mother of Michael Brown, she invites us to remember for how long black mothers have faced state-sanctioned destruction of black families. She invites us to step outside the media blitz on this issue and be present to a grieving mother. May this presence–this grief–help all of us to join those in the streets demanding justice.
Click her to watch: Letter to Mother of Michael Brown