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Philadelphia Ferguson Response Updates and POWER Statement

By November 24, 2014January 15th, 2016No Comments

Ferguson Solidarity Events in Philadelphia, November 25, 2014:

12PM at Federal Courthouse – rally organized by National Action Network calling for Federal Prosecutor in Mike Brown Case

Rally at 3PM, City Hall and March to Broad and Cecily B. Moore (starting approx. 3:30PM) – organized by PURP (People Utilizing Real Power)

Follow hashtag #fergusonphl on Twitter for live updates, as details are changing quickly.

November 24, 2014, 10PM 

Citizens and members of the clergy gathered in a church in downtown Philadelphia to listen for news from Ferguson, MO about whether police officer Darren Wilson would be charged for the killing of Michael Brown, whose death has unleashed the pain and fear experienced by too many of our communities as we walk our streets. Now that we know there has been no indictment, we stand in solidarity with the family of Michael Brown, Jr., the community of Ferguson, MO, and all the known and unknown victims whose death was the result of an armed police officer shooting an unarmed citizen.

We are appalled that the prosecutor of that county has yet again watched over a grand jury proceeding that refused to indict a police officer.  The fact that he has never brought charges against a police officer in his lengthy career as county prosecutor is suspicious at best, and may well point to bias against citizens of his own county.  It leads to the inability of the public to trust these proceedings and to wonder if even before the process began, the fix was already in.

We are outraged that the image of God in Michael Brown was not respected by the police officer who shot him and now has been disrespected by the grand jury and the county prosecutor who refused to bring an indictment in the case of his death.

We are aware of the tensions and mistrust in the Ferguson community and around the nation because of this injustice.  We certainly call on outraged and frustrated citizens to raise their voices for justice peacefully and persistently.  But we also call on law enforcement to exercise restraint in the performance of their duties and to show respect for our citizens as they utilize their rights guaranteed to all of us in the Constitution of the United States of America as we demonstrate and speak against injustice.

We decry the absence of trust between the law enforcement system and the citizens that system is supposed to serve and protect.  We call upon law enforcement to bear the greater responsibility in building trusting relationships with the community because, “to whom much is given, much shall be required.”

We stand against a legal system which prioritizes the rights of certain segments of our society while neglecting and dismissing the rights of the poor, people of color, and other marginalized populations who have a right to a system which holds law enforcement accountable for their actions.  We yearn for the day when all communities can trust in law enforcement to be concerned with everyone’s humanity.  We demand to feel safe when see police officers in all our neighborhoods.  We insist on police forces that are representative of the communities they serve.

We will not stop marching, working, preaching, insisting, agitating and demonstrating until all law enforcement personnel has an equal regard for the dignity, personhood, and image of God of all God’s children. The color of our skin, the clothes we wear, the neighborhoods we live in, even the moods we may be in when we encounter law enforcement should not negate law enforcement’s obligation and responsibility to respect the humanity of every person.

Law enforcement professionals work for us and are supposed to serve us.  They’re supposed to protect us.  The police shooting of an unarmed citizen may not have been deemed indictable by the county prosecutor’s grand jury in Ferguson, but we know something else.

We know that any person’s death diminishes all of us.  We know that black lives matter too.  We know that the lives of the poor matter, too. We know that people who may not look like us are still people with mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, friends, colleagues just like us.  We know that all of us deserve to be treated with dignity and regard for our humanity. We will not be quiet, we will not sleep on the job, we will not turn a blind eye to injustice anywhere until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream. Our children deserve to live. Our children are worth more then a system that consistently fails them, whether it be the justice system in St. Louis or public schools in Pennsylvania.  Black lives matter. All lives matter.