Why I’m Marching After the Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Screen Shot 2014-11-25 at 10.56.14 AMPeople have asked me why I’m marching tonight.

I’m marching because people have asked me why I’m marching tonight.

I’m marching because, after the grand jury decision that failed to indict Darren Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, I cannot accept that there is a finite amount of justice in this country.

I’m marching because even if Darren Wilson’s account of the ninety seconds that ended Mike Brown’s life are completely true, there is no acceptable answer to the question, “Why didn’t he use a taser?” (Wilson answers that he didn’t have one. They’re uncomfortable to carry. Well, so is the death of a son.)

I’m marching not because I might lose black friends if I don’t, but because some white friends will shake their heads if I do.

I’m marching because when I post this poignant article on Twitter by Awesomely Luvvie, I get this response:

Ferguson Response

From my Twitter account

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m marching because as a Jew, I feel to the core how frightening silence of the majority can be.

I’m marching not because of this one particular incident, but because I know damn well my sons would be given the benefit of the doubt by police that the sons of my friends would not.

I’m marching because the nightmare I was able to wake up from last week is the daily reality for too many black parents.

I’m marching because we need good officers. We have good officers. We  are grateful to good people who risk their lives to keep us safe. And in order to strengthen that, we need good officers to break the code of blue silence and meet minorities halfway. Not with excuses, but with conversation.

I’m marching because it seems police are allowed to view black youth as a threat, but black youth are not entitled to view police as a threat, despite the mass incarceration-for-profit industry and the indignities they suffer for the crime of existing-while-black.

I’m marching on behalf of Jeffrey Michel, a 27-year-old nursing student with a two-year-old daughter to support, who was “arrested for resisting arrest” and never read his Miranda Rights.

I’m marching because this is about more than Michael Brown. This is about empathy. This is about showing support to my friends who are feeling their hope for their children being drained every day. This is about recognizing the context of the circumstances that have brought us to this point. This is about the fact that while tremendous, important, thrilling strides are being made for LGBT equality, voting rights for minorities and body choice rights  for women are being rolled back.

I’m marching because I can, and if I can, I should. Because, as I wrote about in my conversation with Christine Quinn, no civil rights movement has succeeded without some kind of allies in and support from the majority.

I’m marching not because I caused the problem, but because I have tremendous interest in the arrival at a solution.

I’m marching because the people who are asking, “Can’t they JUST stay out of trouble?” “Can’t he JUST do what the police say?” “Shouldn’t she JUST stay in school?” – no matter how caring and gentle they may be when they ask, are closing their eyes to the complexity of the problem that has brought Ferguson to the national spotlight in the first place. And that, my friends, is a grave miscarriage of “JUST”ice.

Aliza Worthington grew up in Brooklyn, NY, and now lives in Baltimore. She began writing in 2009 at the age of 40. Sometimes her writing follows The Seinfeld Model of “no learning, no hugging.” Other times it involves lots of both. She blogs about Life, Liberty and Happiness at “The Worthington Post.” Her work also appears in Purple Clover. She has written for Catonsville PatchKveller, and has been featured in the Community Spotlight section of Daily Kos under the username “Horque.” Her writing has also landed in the “Winner’s Circle” on Midlife Collage twice. Her piece for The Broad Side, Leaving Gender at the Door, was chosen as a BlogHer Voice of the Year in 2013. Follow her on Twitter at @AlizaWrites.

To schedule an interview with Aliza, contact her at alizaworthington@gmail.com.

  • Kelby

    powerful

  • Kim

    Could not agree more! Everything you said has been on my mind. The more I read, the more I bear witness to the experience of being black in America, and the more I feel our collective white shame, the more I know the time has come to march.

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