With continued officer-involved shootings, attempts at voter suppression, and ongoing racial and economic disparities, it is easy to push voting to the side. But it is precisely because of tragedies like the deaths of young Michael Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in Staten Island, and because of an unequal educational and employment system, that we need to show up at the polls.
Our job is to ensure that his efforts continue on with the next AG, whoever he or she may be. We in the civil rights community must strongly advocate maintenance and continuance of a Justice Department that will fight aggressively in these areas.
When we look at the situation in Ferguson, Missouri and the tragic death of Michael Brown, we are reminded of the importance of who we elect to our city councils, who sits on our local board of education committees, who we pick to represent us in Congress, in the Senate and more.
Either we need to redefine what probable cause means and say that police are not subject to it, or we arrest officers right away just as we would with any other person accused of committing a crime.
Whether it’s Ferguson, Staten Island, New Orleans, Oakland, or anywhere in the United States, we know that change will only occur when national standards are implemented and enforced.
If we do not prosecute and discipline officers who break the law and who abuse their positions, then what sort of message does that send to the others? What kind of police culture does that create?
Whether it’s James Brown or Eric Garner, police shouldn’t be trained or allowed to go above the law in the name of enforcing the law.
The historic participation of blacks and other minorities helped elect the first black president of the United States. But while we greatly exercised our right to vote in 2008, many failed to do the same two years later during the 2010 midterms. What we got were a slew of politicians who are more concerned with their own self-aggrandizement than with serving people.
After watching continuous acts of police abuse and brutality from coast-to-coast, perhaps the real question is, have we reached a point where federal authorities need to step in?
The next time you hear about migrant children near the border, just picture them as your own. Then think what you would want our government to do.