National March on Ferguson Saturday; civil disobedience MondayBy Richard B. Muhammad | Last updated: Aug 28, 2014 - 4:30:38 PM
Richard B. Muhammad, editor for The Final Call Newspaper reports live from Ferguson, Mo. @RMfinalcall #ferguson #justice4bigmike
CLAYTON, Mo. (FinalCall.com) - A National March on Ferguson Saturday, August 30, will express outrage over police killings, brutality, profiling, legal cover-ups and offer an action plan to help resolve longstanding problems, said spokespersons for the Justice for Michael Brown Leadership Coalition today. Major civil disobedience is also planned for Monday, Sept. 1, added a coalition leader.
The predominantly Black suburb outside St. Louis has become symbolic of deadly police encounters and America’s racial divide since the killing of Michael Brown, a Black 18-year-old, in Ferguson, Mo., by officer Darren Wilson. The unarmed teen was shot at least six times, including a kill shot to the head, by the White officer.
The march is a tribute to the young people whose protests and acts of rebellion brought the world’s attention to racial oppression in America, said A. Akbar Muhammad of the Nation of Islam. He spoke along with Zaki Baruti of the Universal African Peoples Organization and Anthony Shahid of the Tauheed Youth Group in St. Louis, a stone’s throw from Ferguson on behalf of the coalition. The press conference was held Aug. 28 outside the Justice Center, which houses the office of the county prosecutor and courts for St. Louis County, where Ferguson is located.
“Ferguson is the spark plug and those young men and women that took to the street, those that were sincere to let the world know their outrage is why we are standing here right now,” Mr. Muhammad, a top aide to Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, said.The coalition wants to support the actions of youth who want justice, he said. Mr. Muhammad thanked young people for tweeting and using social media to urge participation in the march.
“This is not going to go away. America has a real serious problem, and the serious problem is how we do not really have community control of the police and the disrespect many times our community feels from the police department,” said Mr. Baruti. The march will cover the critical issues of the murder of young Brown, the disproportionate number of White officers patrolling Black neighborhoods and the disproportionate number of Blacks subjected to traffic stops by police, he said.
A major announcement about civil disobedience is coming Saturday tied to the 4 hours and 32 minutes that Mr. Brown’s body lay on the ground, said Mr. Shahid. Like in slavery it was a signal that anyone who rises up will be dealt with, said the activist. It’s “no more business as usual. Stay tuned and you will see this Monday,” he vowed.
The Saturday march will begin at 10 a.m., gathering at Canfield Drive and W. Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Mo., proceed to the place where teenager Brown was “assassinated” and conclude at a park with messages and performances from hip hop artists, said rally organizers.
National leaders and entertainment figures have been invited to the gathering. “We must keep the pressure on and pull youth and youth leaders into planning and organizing efforts. They have suffered far too long and the targeting Black youth must end now,” said Mr. Muhammad.
The spokespersons also held up copies of the Black-owned Final Call Newspaper, which has extensive coverage of the racial tension and Brown killing in Ferguson, and the Black-owned St. Louis America, which ran a full page ad about the march. The American has also covered events in Ferguson, from heavily armed and militarized police-community clashes to acts of kindness and forums aimed at problem solving.