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New York Protest

A night of heavy hearts: Reflections on the Darren Wilson grand jury verdict

As if they were extras in a perfectly framed shot from a post-apocalyptic horror movie, a faceless row of heavily armoured riot police stood guard beneath a glowing “Seasons Greetings” sign hung between telephone poles, backlit by streetlamps and heedless traffic lights.

This was Ferguson; as political leaders urged calm from a besieged and powerless community, the police continued to master the finer points of irony, juxtaposing tear gas volleys with President Obama pleading for peaceful protest.

Last night’s failure to indict Officer Darren Wilson for killing Michael Brown, unarmed and surrendering, was a travesty on par with CeCe McDonald’s conviction, or with George Zimmerman’s acquittal. Like in those previous two cases, a nation gathered around its glowing screens, and just as before, we walked away knowing that justice remains elusive and unequal as it has ever been for black Americans, who continue to be scapegoated for their own suffering. 

A line of young women holding a banner, their mouths open in protest. They are wearing bandanas on their faces, and many of them have their hair braided.

What Obama’s silence on Ayotzinapa says about the War on Drugs

Last week Obama announced an executive order that offers temporary legal status for over 4 million undocumented people living in the United States. This has been a long time coming, and though the order leaves out 6 million other undocumented people, it is a step in the right direction, and a pretty big deal.

Yet Obama has remained completely silent on the massive protests taking place in Mexico, the country so often implicated when we speak of undocumented migration to the US. He has yet to acknowledge a movement to hold the Mexican government — and by association the US government — accountable for the murders and forced displacement of tens of thousands of people.  

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