Peaceful Ferguson Protests Across The Nation, From NYC To Chicago To DC, Honor Michael Brown's Parents' Wish — PHOTOS
As a nation grieves for what has befallen Mike Brown and his family, protests have broken out not only in his hometown of Ferguson, Missouri, but across the country as well. Following the much-anticipated decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson on any charges related to the 18-year-old's death, allies and supporters have taken to the streets to express their sorrow and their outrage in a variety of ways. Though the scene in Ferguson is one of violence and destruction, with burning police cars and looted liquor stores, reactions have manifested themselves differently in a number of cities cross the United States — many of them respecting and adhering to the Brown family's request for peaceful protests.
Following the announcement of the verdict, Brown's family released a statement via their lawyer, in which they urged protestors remember that "answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction." Though the family — along with what seems to be the majority of the nation — is "profoundly disappointed that the killer of [their] child will not face the consequences of his actions," Brown's parents and relatives have asked their allies to "channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen."
Said the Brown family, "Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference."
And in many cities, that is precisely what is happening.
Reports from the Chicago Tribune note that "several hundred people marched up King Drive, reaching Lake Shore about 8:50 p.m., chanting as they went north on the southbound drive." Protestors could be heard shouting, "We want freedom, freedom!" and "We all stand together! We all stand together!" Activists also cried what has become the mantra of this month-long saga, yelled "Hands up! Don't shoot!"
In Seattle, between 200 and 300 people have come to show their support and stand in solidarity with their compatriots, with cries of "No justice, no peace." As the Seattle Times reports,
Protesters staged a moment of silence as they sat down in the middle of Broadway near Pike Street for 4 1/2 minutes, signifying the 4 1/2 hours Brown’s body was in the street after he was fatally shot. Protesters chanted “hands up, don’t shoot.”
While protest organizer Mohawk Kuzma proclaimed, "Seattle is just like Ferguson,” Seattle Mayor Ed Murray begged to differ, and said instead, "My message to young people in Seattle tonight and particularly to African-American young people is, while we do not have the answers, we in this city are listening to you. We in this city love you."
Protestors in Oakland organized a "die-in" as part of their peaceful protests, and laid down on the streets in the moments before the decision was read. The city, which is no stranger to civil unrest and racial conflict, has organized a number of Healing Centers for anyone who wishes to have a conversation about the verdict. In anticipation of these protests, however peaceful, many Oakland storeowners boarded up their stores and took care of their belongings, fearing the worst.
The most populous city in the United States has drawn one of the largest crowds, with over 1,000 supporters joining together to protest the Mike Brown decision. NBC New York reports,
People held up signs reading "Black lives matter" and "Jail killer cops," and chanted "Hands up, don't shoot" and "No justice, no peace" as they walked from through Times Square toward upper Manhattan.
Initial estimates at Union Square put the total number of protestors at 1,600. One man was arrested when he threw red paint at NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, covering parts of his face in what appeared to be fake blood.
Washington DC and beyond
From coast to coast, the nation saw solidarity against a system that is more willing to blame social media and civil rights activists for the Mike Brown verdict than to address undeniable, intrinsic problems.
Know justice, know peace.