Target: Missouri Governor Jay Nixon
Goal: End human rights abuses and police violence against protestors
The unprovoked shooting of a black teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri has shaken the suburb – and an entire nation. Protestors, enraged over the continual racist practices and targeted violence perpetrated by police across the country, clashed with the Ferguson police force, which still refuses to prosecute the officer in question; justice is pending an investigation. In response, the police have become militarized, using tear gas and smoke bombs to deter protestors, while Governor Jay Nixon declared a state of emergency and established a curfew. Urge Governor Nixon to restore human rights in what has become the police state of Ferguson and allow protestors to exercise their freedom of speech and assembly.
The fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown is only the latest in a long history of racial targeting by the police. The community in Ferguson has had enough and is demanding that Officer Darren Wilson be brought to justice. Instead, the police have responded by using military tactics such as firing tear gas canisters, employing armored vehicles and rubber bullets, and wearing camouflage. These are the state-sanctioned tactics that the police employ to quell civil unrest and undermine valid political protest.
For a group of people who have systemically been abused, silenced, and oppressed by the political and legal institutions that should be in place to help them, protest is one of the only ways that many African Americans feel their voices can be heard. Excessive force on the part of the police and unjust curfews only attempt to take away what little power and freedom of expression many in this community have. These tactics only exacerbate feelings of mistrust and resentment and do nothing to promote healing or serve justice.
These mostly unarmed and peaceful protestors deserve to be heard and treated with respect. Sign this petition to urge Governor Nixon to rescind the curfew, end brutal police force, and restore human rights to protestors in Ferguson. It’s only through protest and change that the police and legal systems will stop committing acts of brutal racial violence and profiling against African Americans across the country.
Dear Governor Nixon,
The tragic fatal shooting of teenager Michael Brown is only the latest in a long history of police brutality and violence directed towards African Americans. The shocking scenes from Ferguson seem almost out of a history book, but reveal how little has really changed for African Americans since the protests of the Civil Rights Movement decades ago. Stop ignoring the protestors’ legitimate rage against the police and calls for justice in a racist political system. Repeal the unjust curfew imposed on residents there and restrict the brutality of police tactics to restore the people’s right to protest and assemble in Ferguson.
Since Officer Darren Wilson shot unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, little has been done to ensure justice there. Instead of taking a long, hard look at how the police force and other legal institutions regularly abuse, target, and oppress African Americans across the nation, the police have instead resorted to violent tactics and the governor has tried to take away protestors’ civil liberties in attempts to keep dissenters quiet and preserve the status quo of racism in the United States.
The nature of modern racism is insidious and can be invisible to those who do not suffer its daily effects. I urge you to make this a turning point in how governmental institutions confront their own racist views and actions. Instead of imposing a curfew and trying to limit the rights of protestors in Ferguson, listen to what they have to say. Starting a dialogue, not taking away rights, is the first step to resolution.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Elvert Barnes via Flickr