(The following was originally published on the Justice Party website.)
The Justice Party stands in solidarity with the people in Ferguson, Missouri who are protesting the killing of Michael Brown. We call on all members of the Justice Party and all Americans to protest the spectrum of inequities — including the ultimate price, in this case paid by Michael Brown — perpetrated against minority youth in our country. We also call on the Ferguson police department and law enforcement agencies across the country to err on the side of restraint in these types of emotionally charged circumstances. Although it is not possible to avoid the use of deadly force in all cases, we can reduce unnecessary deaths of both citizens and police officers with the proper TRAINING of our law enforcement personnel.
The movement for justice in the U.S. is often divided — a division that is fostered and exacerbated by the wealthy and powerful. Those of us who believe in justice for all must stand with all who are under attack and for whom oppression has become a way of life. African Americans and other segments of our population have been facing events like those in Ferguson for generations. In recent years, the federal government has been supplying local police departments with “surplus” military equipment. SWAT teams, armored vehicles, and various kinds of weapons of war are found in cities and towns across America. Most of that equipment is simply inappropriate for local police activities and, therefore, should be banned from use. The use of that type of equipment coupled with the us vs. them attitude that exists in many police departments can give rise to the emergence of a police state — and that must absolutely not be permitted.
We must not overlook the core problems that so many within our nation face. The poverty that is spreading across our country is strangling Ferguson. One in four residents of Ferguson lives below the poverty line. Unemployment in Ferguson has doubled from 2000 to 2012. Teachers in Ferguson are forced to use their own MONEY TO BUY dictionaries for students. Those statistics in general apply to an unacceptable number of communities across the U.S.
As a society, we must come to grips with poverty and the inadequacy of our education and CRIMINAL JUSTICE systems; otherwise, the recent events in Ferguson will become normal. And that would not be a society of which any of us could be proud or in which any of us would want to live.