Ferguson: A Call for Action
When I googled “Ferguson” to update myself on the latest media accounts I was struck by the definition I found.
Ferguson is a city in St. Louis County, Missouri, United States. It is part of the Greater St. Louis metropolitan area. The population was 21,203 at the 2010 census. Incorporated as a city in 1894, it gained international attention on August 9, 2014, when a young man, Michael Brown, was fatally shot by Darren Wilson, a Ferguson police officer, sparking ongoing protests and civil unrest.
Wikipedia described a geographic location and an event that has placed this town on the international media scene. But for us, Ferguson is more than one town and one incredibly important young male life. Ferguson represents how the police interact with our communities. It represents what economic isolation and lack of opportunity is in too many communities. It represents the generational divide between youth and adults – and yes – the disconnect that too many of our civil rights organizations have with the generation that did not march with Dr. King.
Ferguson is a cry for justice and a plea for action. It is a plea for the justice system to prevail. It is also a plea for racism and discrimination – in all its subtle and not so subtle ways – to be acknowledged and addressed.
But the lesson of Ferguson is not only for the lawmakers, the politicians, the judges and the police chiefs. The lesson of Ferguson should be a very personal one. The lesson should go beyond the interactions we have with our children, siblings, cousins, nieces or nephews, to the collective responsibility we have for our communities. It is a question each and every one of us must ask about how we are making sure that black men’s lives matter.
The affiliate is leveraging our relationships with the NYPD, the district attorney’s office and black attorneys to work with Young Professionals to help build and expand your Law Day program. It is fully staffing our employment department so young black men can be the active economic contributors to their families that they would like to be. It is growing and expanding our annual Young Men’s Empowerment Day, where young black men experience careers and professions they may have never imagined.
As we work to answer the call to connect with the next generations in life changing ways, we invite you to join us. Black men’s lives matter.
Yours in Service,