“In Ferguson, a wound bleeds” – open letter from protesters

Protestors in Ferguson have posted an open letter after a grand jury decided not to indict police officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of unarmed 18-year old Michael Brown back in August 2014

November 25, 2014 · 5 min read

The message, in its entirety, has been posted below. no_justiceThe Results Are In. An Open Letter from Protestors On The Grand Jury Decision (11.24.14)

In Ferguson, a wound bleeds.

For 108 days, we have been in a state of prolonged and protracted grief. In that time, we have found community with one another, bonding together as family around the simple notion that our love for our community compels us to fight for our community. We have had no choice but to cling together in hope, faith, love, and indomitable determination to capture that ever-escaping reality of justice.

After 108 days, that bleeding wound has been reopened, salt poured in, insult added to the deepest of injury. On August 9th, we found ourselves pushed into unknown territory, learning day by day, minute by minute, to lead and support a movement bigger than ourselves, the most important of our lifetime. We were indeed unprepared to begin with, and even in our maturation through these 108 days, we find ourselves reinjured, continually heartbroken, and robbed of even the remote possibility of judicial resolution. A life has been violently taken before it could barely begin. In this moment, we know, beyond any doubt, that no one will be held accountable within the confines of a system to which we were taught to pledge allegiance. The very hands with which we pledged that allegiance were not enough to save Mike in surrender.

Once again, in our community, in our country, that pledge has returned to us void.

For 108 days, we have continuously been admonished that we should “let the system work,” and wait to see what the results are.

The results are in.

And we still don’t have justice.

This fight for the dignity of our people, for the importance of our lives, for the protection of our children, is one that did not begin Michael’s murder and will not end with this announcement. The ‘system’ you have told us to rely on has kept us on the margins of society. This system has housed us in her worst homes, educated our children in her worst schools, locked up our men at disproportionate rates and shamed our women for receiving the support they need to be our mothers. This system you have admonished us to believe in has consistently, unfailingly, and unabashedly let us down and kicked us out, time and time again.

This same system in which you’ve told us to trust – this same system meant to serve and protect citizens – has once again killed two more of our unarmed brothers: Walking up a staircase and shot down in cold blood, we fight for Akai Gurley; Playing with a toy after police had been warned that he held a bb gun and not a real gun at only twelve years old, we fight for Tamir Rice.

So you will likely ask yourself, now that the announcement has been made, why we will still take to the streets? Why we will still raise our voices to protect our community? Why will still cry tears of heartbreak and sing songs of determination?

We will continue to struggle because without struggle, there is no progress.

We will continue to disrupt life, because without disruption we fear for our lives.

We will continue because Assata reminds us daily that “it is our duty to fight for freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support one another. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Those chains have bound us-all of us- up for too long. And do not be mistaken- if one of us is bound, we all are. We are, altogether, bound up in a system that continues to treat some men better than others. A system that preserves some and disregards others. A system that protects the rights of some and does not guard the rights of all.

And until this system is dismantled, until the status quo that deems us less valuable than others is no longer acceptable or profitable, we will struggle. We will fight. We will protest.

Grief, even in its most righteous state, cannot last forever. No community can sustain itself this way.

So we still continue to stand for progress, and stand alongside anyone who will make a personal investment in ending our grief and will take a personal stake in achieving justice.

We march on with purpose. The work continues. This is not a moment but a movement. The movement lives.

This letter was written and signed by numerous protestors and supporters, too many to list. Permission is granted in advance for reproduction by all outlets.


One million hours of solitude

Simon Hedges shares his tips on surviving lockdown and government ineptitude

Review – Steal as Much as You Can by Nathalie Olah

Anna Clayton reviews Natalie Olah's book, which explores how upper middle-class pop culture has affected British politics

No solutions, no justice: Covid-19 and BAME communities

Apsana Begum MP asks why no action has been taken to protect BAME communities from Covid-19, despite the Government report revealing disproportionate impact


The nationalist unconscious

To fully grasp the rise of the new authoritarians, we must engage with psychoanalysis as well as economics, writes Richard Seymour

Lockdown live: ‘Race Today’

Join Red Pepper editor K Biswas and guests Paul Gilroy, Lola Olufemi, Ciaran Thapar and Joy White to discuss marginality, inequality, creativity and belonging in Britain

Brazilian oligarchs sacrifice people for profit

Business leaders are using social media and political influence to spread coronavirus disinformation – and endangering thousands of lives. Raphael Tsavkko Garcia reports

Enjoying this article? Grateful for the lack of ads?
Donate any amount to Red Pepper and support radical media with an independent editorial line, strict ethical advertising policy, and no-paywall promise.