Freedom Winter: My Remarks at the #AA2Ferguson Vigil, 11/25/2014

Austin McCoy


Freedom Winter: Remarks at the #AA2Ferguson Vigil, 11/25/2014

Thank you all for coming out tonight. I’m the last one to speak tonight, so I will keep it short. I am also keeping it short because I will get emotional if I don’t. I would not want to be with anyone else, but you. Last night and today has been tough, but your presence gives me comfort.

I wouldn’t want to be standing with anyone else because we are the ones who care about black and brown lives — from the University of Michigan, to Ann Arbor, to Ypsilanti, to Ferguson, to Mexico, and to Palestine.

We are gathered here tonight because black lives matter.

I said last night that the roll out of the grand jury decision was a provocation to the protestors in Ferguson. The last several years has been a provocation to black and brown people — from state violence against black and brown bodies, to the theft of democratic control and water in Detroit, to the roll back of voting rights across the country. The last seven days has been a provocation — from Nixon’s state of emergency last week to the disrespectful way the authorities announced, and the way our President reacted to, the grand jury decision.

Last night was a miscarriage of justice and an attack on black humanity and black agency. We learned that private property has more value than black skin. The authorities in Missouri basically blamed Michael Brown supporters, especially the witnesses and those on social media, for the extra scrutiny. “Normal” suspects are taken to trial with less evidence. Darren Wilson walks with his life. We now know more than ever that the system needs changed.

So we are here — 109 days after Mike Brown was shot and killed; 48 days after Vonderrit Myers, Jr. was shot and killed; 16 days after Aura Rosser was shot and killed by the Ann Arbor police department.

We are here to mourn the lives of all the black and brown people who have died at the hands of the state and the police. We are here to answer last night’s provocation.

We will answer that provocation by marching, by organizing, and by further mobilizing. We will answer last night’s provocation by supporting the humanity of all people of color, especially under threat by state and sexualized violence. We are part of a national movement.

Last night was the end of the grand jury case, but not the end of the struggle. Tonight is a new beginning. Freedom summer has turned into freedom winter.

Let’s get to work.

#MikeBrown #AuraRosser #Ayotzinapa #Ferguson #BlackLivesMatter

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