On Monday, November 24, right before Thanksgiving, news outlets announced that former Ferguson, Missouri police office Darren Wilson would not be indicted by a grand jury in the killing of 18-year-old Michael Brown. No one was shocked by this news, but many were outraged.
What is diversity and who does it matter to? As I scroll through my Facebook timeline, I see all of my black friends posting about the decision not to indict Darren Wilson. I did not see any of my white friends post. History has shown time and time again that in America white allies are necessary to get anything done. Until white men are willing to stand up for young black men and women, we will not see change.
In the meantime, instead of throwing our energy behind appeals, shooting, looting, and burning down buildings, we need to throw our energy behind repealing voter suppression laws, creating jobs in underserved communities, education reform, gun control, restoring funding to social services, and getting the arts back in schools. If we can make a progress in any of theses areas, we will see a different response in the justice system as it relates violent acts against black and brown bodies. We must work together and strategize. We need objectives and tactics attached to measurable goals. Outrage is expected; grassroots organizing is effective.
I am concerned about the abandonment of communities of color. There are many American cities that never recovered from the fires and looting that took place in response to the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Detroit, Chicago, Pittsburgh, Selma: all were abandoned and left to dissolve into poverty as a result of un-civil disobedience.
Taking to the streets is a first step. Afterall, Malcolm contributed to the change just as much as Martin. However, we need to force this new Congress to act. We pay the taxes, therefore we have the power. Black lives matter, and we cannot go back to the days of lynching and sharecropping. This issue is more complicated than a hashtag. It is time to act.