"It Didn't Go So"

"It didn't go so," she said under her breath. —Erna Brodber, Myal, p.84.

Civil rights shouldn't expire at sundown - 25 Aug 2014 04:15

Tags: protest

Killing a black mother's son

In the middle of the day two weeks ago, on August 9, unarmed black 18-year-old Mike Brown jaywalked in his grandma's housing complex. Officer Darren Wilson got out of his car and shot Mike Brown six times, killing him. A hundred people saw Brown's body where it lay uncovered in the street for hours. Despite witnesses, physical evidence, and autopsy reports, Officer Wilson has not been arrested. You know this because of what happened next.

What happened next

The last two weeks have been terrifying, exhilarating, and exhausting. Squads of white police in military fatigues with assault rifles and 40 mm grenade launchers drew down on unarmed Americans. More than 160 arrests later, the only known killer is still free. Beyond the nightly taste of teargas, the militarization of Ferguson caused public school closures, which hurt working parents and kids who depend on school lunches. Buses were re-routed and roads were closed, so third-shift workers had to make do with smaller paychecks. Elderly people depended on neighbors to help with activities of daily living because police barricaded them in their neighborhoods.

Neighbors visibly mobilized to call for the indictment of Officer Wilson. At the same time, they cared for each others' concrete needs: informally, through new organizations like Operation Help or Hush, and through established institutions like the public library, Greater St. Mark Family Church, and the United Way. Supporters and detractors rallied across the country, converging on Ferguson in ways that helped and ways that harmed.

Checking the tide

Last week, organizers and residents directly asked my colleagues to help check the tide of well-meaning whites flooding Ferguson. If you are white and want to go, please think, first, about what you can do from your hometown. Consider these facts:

  • Your local or university police department is equipped with the same precision weapons and tactical gear you saw in Ferguson.
  • Last year, one in five killings in Seattle was at the hands of a police officer. Nationally, US police report that they kill an average of 400 people each year, while last year 45 police died of all causes while on duty.
  • In the last month, police killed at least Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO; Eric Garner on Staten Island, NY; Ezell Ford in Los Angeles, CA; Dante Parker in Victorville, California; and John Crawford in Beavercreek, Ohio. Many more unarmed black men were injured but not killed. Every 36 hours there's an extrajudicial killing of a black person in the United States. Chances are good there's a grieving family near you.
  • Fans raised almost half a million dollars for Officer Darren Wilson. Charles Murray, who identifies as Imperial Wizard of a South Carolina chapter of the KKK, is one of the few raising funds for Wilson who has not remained anonymous. Overt racist comments are commonplace on the crowdfunding platforms and facebook pages supporting Wilson.
  • If you have white family, friends, or colleagues, or if you work in law enforcement, you have heard people you know change the subject, try to justify the killing of an unarmed teenager, or tell you how bored they are by the whole thing.

The best place to challenge these trends is where you are. Here are some ideas:

You want me to focus on the looters, but I stay focused on the shooter.
—- Protest sign in Ferguson

What happened was a tragedy in a long line of tragedies. It will take political will and political power to change the story of the future. Wherever you are, there is something to do that must be done. You are creative. Do it. - Comments: 0

Notes and resources for Ferguson protests - 17 Aug 2014 06:58

Tags: protest resource

Health and safety information


First Aid guides:


Medical support people are encouraged to read and consider these ethical guidelines.

For clinicians:

Local resources

Phone numbers

  • Emergency Services: 911
  • Jail Support: gro.omgnizinagro|nioj#gro.omgnizinagro|nioj or (314) 862-2249
  • United Way (for food assistance, counseling services, etc): 2-1-1 or 1-800-427-4626
  • The Organization for Black Struggle (OBS): moc.oohay|evomehtno_sbo#moc.oohay|evomehtno_sbo or (314) 367-5959
  • Crisis Intervention and Suicide Prevention: 314-647-4357 or 1-800-273-8255
  • Alive Domestic Violence Hotline: (314) 993-2777
  • Homeless Hotline (St. Louis area): (314) 802-5440
  • St Louis AA (24/7): http://www.aastl.org/ (314) 647-3677
  • St Louis NA (24/7): http://stlna.org/ (314) 830-3232
  • Peer Support Warmline (24/7): (513) 931-9276
  • Veterans Peer Support Warmline (24/7): 1-877-927-8387
  • Sex Info Line (M-Th 5-11p, F 5-8p, Sa 4-7p): (415) 989-7374
  • National LGBT Hotline (M-F 3-11p, Sa 11a-4p): 1-888-843-4564
  • Backline Pregnancy Options talk line (M-Th 7p-12a, F-Su 12-5p): 1-888-493-0092

Hospitals and urgent care: Name, address, approximate time by car from Canfield Green Apts, phone number, hours.

  • St Louis University Hospital: 3635 Vista Ave, STL. 25 min. 314-577-8000.
  • Concentra Urgent Care: 463 Lynn Haven, Hazelwood. 13 Min. 314-731-0448. M-F 8-5
  • Concentra Urgent Care — North Broadway. 8340 N Broadway, STL. 15 min. 314-385-9563. M-F 8-5.
  • St Luke's Urgent Care: 8857 Ladue Rd, STL. 18 min. 314-576-8189. M-Su 8-8.

Services for people who often face discrimination

  • Casa de Salud serves new immigrants and refugees, including undocumented immigrants. 3200 Chouteau Avenue, STL. (314) 977-1250
  • Paraquad is the Independent Living center, offering services to people with disibilities including home care, transition from nursing homes, wheelchair and equipment, and Deaf interpretation. 5240 Oakland Avenue, STL. (314) 289-4200

Counseling appointments

  • Ferguson Community Center. 501 N Florissant Rd, Ferguson. (314) 521-5661. 10a-2p.
  • University of Missouri Counseling Center. (314) 516-5824.


Notes (from 17 August)

Thanks to Esther for putting these notes and resources together tonight for our fellow medics in Ferguson, MO.

Weather tonight: 77, down to 73 in early hours and morning. Rain possible all night.

Medics are staying 8.5 miles, or 16 minutes by car, from where the protests are happening and near where the shooting happened.

Scene assessment

Currently: the march has been going up and down Florrisant Ave at least since 7 pm local time, in the street but allowing cars to drive on it going the other way. There are many cars guarding the march from behind and driving with it up and down the street. People are poking their heads through sunroofs and sitting on the roofs and hoods of cars and in the beds of trucks as they drive.

There are spectators with signs line the march. Lots of cameras in the march and among the spectators. I haven't had a good view of the marchers but the spectators are old and young people; youngest is 4 or 5, oldest is in her 60s it seems.

According to twitter:
@BusquedaJess: Ferguson protestors to challenge midnight curfew with march to the city border.


Last night there were at least 1,000 protestors on the streets after midnight. Some protesters threw molotovs at police; police responded with tear gas. New Black Panthers and other volunteers tried to push those protesters back.

There was looting last night; some protesters formed human barriers and wielded guns to stop looting, and in the morning swept broken glass and tried to repair damage. Volunteers organized to protect stores from looters tonight but the curfew may put a stop to that. Protesters say looters are "outsiders"; "this is not us, did you see how peaceful we were earlier?"

Today: Gov. of MO declared state of emergency and curfew: Midnight to 5am.
Highway Patrol says officers will not enforce curfew with tear gas but will "talk to people" — however breaking curfew is theoretically grounds for arrest. Police are establishing a media staging area to allow press in and out of emergency zone.

There are pictures showing bystanders handing out water to marchers. Unsure if that is from today or not.

Rally due Sunday afternoon; schools due to open on Monday.


A pastor speaks: "Individuals are sick and tired of being sick and tired. I've been out here close to an hour, but I came out last sunday and prayed, for the community and for the family."

Young black women speak: "We came out here to support… from indianapolis, IN… we didn't know each other, we just met up on Facebook…. also to support Travon Martin and (someone else who was killed last month)… we're just tired. … They shot him because he was black. We were talking in the car about how they dehumanize black people… he was going to college, that doesn't matter, he was a life! I love that there are multiple races out here — that's the best part, that we're coming together." - Comments: 0

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