Ferguson Grand Jury Decision: Brown’s Death Should Be Call To Action Not Violence
by Juan Williams
Where is the black leadership now that a grand jury has decided not to indict the police officer that killed Michael Brown?
Where is Al Sharpton? He advertises himself as a spokesman for the best interests of black America. But he is absent.
Where is Jesse Jackson, another popular media personality who says he speaks for black America? He’s missing in action, too.
President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder have been meeting with younger civil rights activists who are on the front-line in Missouri. The young activists are taking the lead in the churches, the schools, the community meetings in Ferguson. Those young people have led difficult conversations about the importance of moving past anger at the lack of any sanction against the policeman for shooting an unarmed young man.
Incredibly, the best leadership on the scene has come from the family of the murdered teen.
Michael Brown’s family issued a statement right after the prosecutor announced that the grand jury was not going to indict the officer. They said they are “profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequence of his actions.”
They then spoke about the need for “positive change…[the] need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen.” They specifically called for requiring the police to wear body cameras and then they added “please keep your protests peaceful.”
“Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction – Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference,” their statement read.
As the black father of two boys and a grandson I can only imagine the pain being felt by young Michael Brown’s parents. If anyone could be forgiven for lashing out, crying out in rage it would be Michael Brown, Sr.
Instead President Obama read Mr. Brown’s words calling for people to avoid violence: “Hurting and destroying others is not the answer,” Mr. Brown said a week ago, setting the stage for a constructive response no matter what the grand jury decided.
President Obama added another quote from Mr. Brown: “I do not want my son’s death to be in vain. I want it to lead to incredible change, positive change, change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone.”
That “positive change,” is not advanced by riots.