The grand jury’s decision last night not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown burns with the pain of loss and the anger of injustice. Once more, we are told that black and brown lives are disposable, vulnerable to being cut short at any moment without a guarantee of justice. Michael Brown was just the latest in a long line.
As a young black man, I reject the complacency bred from illusions of progress. Despite our best efforts, we continue to be confronted with a system that kills unarmed people of color with impunity. As activists and community leaders, we must redouble our efforts to make the system work for communities of color. We must act together to build an equitable society where everyone — including young men and women of color — is valued and supported. And we must remain confident in our conviction that doing so will not only help our communities; it will build a stronger, fairer, and more just America for all. Here are some of the things you can do right now:
(1) Stay informed about what is happening in your community
Protests and direct actions are planned in dozens of communities over the next several days. Find out what’s happening near you, join an action and invite your network to attend. You can also follow what’s happening on the ground in Ferguson and other places by searching the hashtag #Ferguson and by following these groups and people on Twitter and Instagram:
(2) Host conversations about the inequities facing communities of color
The tragic death of Michael Brown, and too many young men and women of color before him and since, have shone a national spotlight on police militarization and the systemic inequities affecting communities of color: historic disinvestment in housing and infrastructure and unequal access to quality jobs, healthcare, and education. Use this moment to help community leaders, educators, students and families understand these inequities and work with them to envision a more equitable society in which all can fully participate and prosper. The Race Matters Institute Toolkit offers a range of tips for hosting productive conversations about race.
(3) Donate to the courageous young leaders who are risking their lives to lead this movement
Young activists on the ground in Ferguson and across the nation need support to continue advocating for a more equitable society in which the emerging majority people-of-color generation can reach its full potential. You can donate to their organizations through the following links:
Hands Up United
Millennial Activists United
Black Youth Project
Ohio Students Association
The Organization for Black Struggle
(4) Join advocacy networks such as the Alliance for Boys and Men of Color in California, and national networks like the Institute for Black Male Achievement, and the Leadership Conference for Civil and Human Rights to advance more just policies in your community.