Protesters are taking to the streets in cities across the country in outrage at the grand jury's decision to not indict racist cop Darren Wilson for the Murder of Mike Brown. Below are reports from demonstrations across the country:
New York City, N.Y.
Hundreds of people started gathering in Union Square Monday night, Nov. 24, awaiting the announcement of the verdict in the Darren Wilson case, all anticipating what we already knew in our hearts that murdered youth Mike Brown would not receive any justice.
By 9 p.m. EST, when the Ferguson, Mo., press conference began, a crowd of nearly 1,000 community members of all ages and backgrounds had gathered. The second the verdict was announced, an immense outcry arose from the crowd.
The various marches around the city were long, loud and energetic — truly people’s-led marches that lasted until nearly 2:30am Wednesday morning. Each went to different major intersections throughout the city, staging moments of silence and sit-downs like in Brooklyn at the Barclays Center, the United Nations building in midtown Manhattan and in front of the state building in Harlem.
(Photo: Jenna Pope)
In Oakland, a rally began to gather at 5 pm with Cadine Williams addressing the crowd. Cadine’s brother O’Shaine Evans, a 26-year-old aspiring boxer from Jamaica, was killed by San Francisco cop David Goff on October 7.
In San Francisco, the ANSWER Coalition organized a speak-out in the dramatically gentrifying Mission district. Several speakers noted how they were being priced out of the neighborhood in which they had lived their whole lives. They drew connections between the death of Mike Brown and Alex Nieto, killed by the SFPD on March 21 of this year as he ate a burrito in a park in Bernal Heights, the neighborhood where Nieto grew-up, which is also undergoing rapid gentrification.
As St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced the decision Nov. 25, demonstrators were already gathered in sub-freezing temperatures at the University of New Mexico at an emergency action called by the ANSWER Coalition. When news of the racist grand jury investigation’s results spread through the community, a large contingent from the Black Student Union arrived to express their grief and anger.
Over 400 demonstrators rallied again the day after at an action called for by (un)Occupy Albuquerque, blocking the San Mateo and Central intersection and marching down six lanes of traffic towards the University of New Mexico. Central Avenue, a main student and commercial thoroughfare, was effectively shut down for three hours as demonstrators chanted, “Hands up! Don’t Shoot!” “Whose streets? Our Streets!” and “The racist system? Shut it down! The whole damn system? Shut it down!”
On Nov. 24, hundreds of activists and community members gathered at Chicago Police Headquarters to demand justice for Michael Brown and to express their solidarity with the people of Ferguson. Despite freezing temperatures and thickly falling snow, protesters were undeterred from their desire to make their voices heard as they gathered in Chicago’s Bronzeville neighborhood at 35th and Michigan.
Speakers representing Black Youth Project 100 and We Charge Genocide started off by drawing connection between the murder of Michael Brown and the ongoing victimization of black youth here in Chicago and elsewhere throughout the country. In the words of organizer Mariame Kaba as quoted by speaker Malcolm London, “We are not trying to indict a man, but a system.”
Hours prior to the grand jury announcement in Missouri, people started gathering in Leimert Park, a center of the Black community in Los Angeles and historic gathering point for actions against racism. After the announcement, the crowd swelled to hundreds expressing their anger at the non-indictment of Darren Wilson. A community speak-out began, where people voiced their distrust of the system and their experiences of being Black in the United States.
Andrew Nance, leading organizer of the ANSWER Coalition in LA, also spoke. “I know none of us here were surprised when they decided not to indict Darren Wilson; just like at this very park we weren’t surprised when they let George Zimmerman walk, or when they executed Troy Davis. It’s clear that this system isn’t going to work for us. We have to organize against the system as a whole, and fight to put a new system in it’s place.”
On November 25, 300 people took the streets of downtown New Haven the day after the grand jury announced they would not indict Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown. The march started with a rally at the New Haven green, at which many members of the community spoke about their experiences with police brutality. Many of those present had either been assaulted by officers themselves or lost loved ones to police violence.
As the march began, police tried to keep it on the sidewalks, but the youth at the front persisted and successfully took over and shut down entire streets of New Haven, while marching through busy downtown areas. Chants included “Wake up, downtown! Justice for Mike Brown!”, “No justice, no peace, no racist police!” and “Hands up, don’t shoot!”
Protesters gathered outside Philadelphia’s City Hall in the hours leading up to an announcement from the Grand Jury in the case of the murder of Mike Brown by racist cop Darren Wilson. Hundreds had gathered to listen to the official announcement by Prosecutor McCulloch, and began to march as soon as the outrageous decision to not indict was confirmed.
Since the announcement of the St. Louis grand jury verdict on Nov. 24, demonstrators have been on the streets in Seattle, demanding justice for Mike Brown and all victims of police killing.
On Nov. 24, hundreds of protesters gathered at 6 pm at Westlake, and marched through the streets, blocking intersections.
Before and after the announcement that the Ferguson grand jury would not indict racist cop Darren Wilson for unjustly murdering unarmed Black teenager Mike Brown, Pittsburgh activists and community members rallied to demand action against an unjust system that they recognized not only affects Ferguson but Pittsburgh and the rest of the country.
The people of Sacramento have joined the thousands across the country in demanding justice for Mike Brown. Since the announcement from the St. Louis grand jury refusing to bring charges against killer cop Darren Wilson, people throughout Sacramento have taken to the streets in outrage. The past week in Sacramento has been described as a week of solidarity for Mike Brown, and a week of resistance to the racist police force.
These demonstrations were initiated by the ANSWER Coalition and the California Campaign to End Police Terror. Many organizations supported the demonstrations, including the Zapatista Solidarity Coalition, the Brown Berets de Sacramento, the Party for Socialism and Liberation, and MEChA de Sac State.
Bay Area, Calif. (Black Friday)
After protests in Oakland and San Francisco drew thousands on Nov. 24 and 25, the Bay Area erupted again on Black Friday, Nov. 28, to demand justice for Mike Brown.
In Oakland, an action was announced to shut down the Bay Area Rapid Transit system at the West Oakland station, for four hours and 28 minutes, the amount of time Mike Brown’s body was left in the street in Ferguson. The BART station connects Oakland and San Francisco, and shutting it down could potentially cripple much of the Bay Area transit system.
On November 25, the people of Bradenton and Sarasota rallied at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Newtown after the non-indictment of killer cop Darren Wilson. Gathered under a gazebo during a torrential rain, 50 New College students and community members spoke out against police brutality and racism, as well as the brutal, unconstitutional repression of peaceful protests in Ferguson.
Standing in a circle illuminated by the floodlights of local reporters, activists chanted “Indict! Convict! Send that killer cop to jail! The whole damn system is guilty as hell!”