HOW CAN AMERICA ENCOURAGE DEMOCRACY ABROAD WHEN POLICE AT HOME MURDER UNARMED MALE AND FEMALE AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE STREETS, AT THEIR HOMES, IN SCHOOLS AND IN JAILS
SpiritHouse Project, a national social justice organization, announces a national initiative to provide African American young people between the ages of 18 to 35 years with information and nonviolent tools to build up a youth movement to contest the growing police state. On Friday, August 15, 2014 at 11:30 am on the spot where Michael Brown was shot in Ferguson, Missouri, SpiritHouse will unveil the details of this initiative. (For more information, call 202-431-0764.)
All around America, White police, security guards and vigilantes shoot unarmed Black Americans. Roughly, every day and a half, a Black person in America is killed by a White police, security guard or vigilante. 69% of the victims are under 30 years old. They are young Black males and females who recognize that they are being profiled, targeted and executed. Instead of being understood as victims, the media represent them as suspects rather than investments, a drain on society rather than benefits, and criminals rather than future artists, scholars, practitioners, good parents and active community members. State sanctioned murder of Black people is not a Black problem. It is an American problem where all Americans must stop going our separate ways and unite to preserve the threads of democracy rather than let it be ripped apart by a police state.
SpiritHouse challenges the media to extend its coverage of the killing of Black people by White police and security guards in this country beyond the riots in Ferguson, Missouri. This past week, even as the nation grappled with the police execution of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, three (3) other young Black men were killed by police in the nation. On August 5th in Ohio, a White policeman shot 22 year old John Crawford III because he was holding a toy gun in a Walmart. That same day, 38 year old Tyree Woodson died a ‘suspicious’ death in a Baltimore, MD jail cell. Police claim that Woodson, who was in jail and handcuffed, mysteriously obtained a gun and shot himself. On Aug 6, 2014, 19 year old Jeremy Lake was murdered in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the hands of Officer Shannon Kepler. Lake was shot in cold blood just because he was dating Kepler’s daughter.
When the media slant its coverage visually to show Black people looting rather than expose the pile up of Black bodies tortured and killed by White police, it irresponsibly perpetuates a public stereotype of Blacks as gangsters and a threat to the social order. This misrepresentation is not benign. It is deadly. As a matter of fact when the media obscure the brutal and racist nature of police violence and instead criminalize Black people, it fertilizes an environment that allows the police to kill us and get away with it.
SpiritHouse Project additionally calls on President Barack Obama, the Congressional Black Caucus, Attorney General Eric Holder, and Patrick Leahy, head of the Senate Judicial Committee, to call a national hearing on the unprecedented rise of state sanctioned murders in America. We challenge members of churches to partner with us on our national youth initiative by providing a safe space for young people to be trained. After all, police murders of Black people remind us of Jesus who was murdered by the state.
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