Springfield NAACP Makes Statement On Situation In Ferguson
Events in Ferguson have sparked reaction from the Springfield chapter of the NAACP. President Cheryl Clay released the following statement in light of what's happened in the last week:
I have been asked repeatedly to make a statement about the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, and on the violence that occurred after that shooting. I have repeatedly replied that I had no comment at the time because I only knew what I had heard on the news, and I was uncomfortable making a statement at that time.
For a week I have avoided all media requests, and for a week I have struggled to prepare a statement. How do I put in one article the causes and effects of a lifetime of inequalities for people of color? Not only for people of color but for people who also are economically handicapped. How do I explain how it feels to have no hope and everyday situations that confirm this hopelessness? How do I explain a lifetime of trying to survive, always aware of having to overcome stereotypes and bias?
For a week I have listened to the news and watched a city burn. For a week I have listened to Mike Brown's mother who now has to bury her black son, yet she still asks the community to please be calm.
For a week I have watched the Ferguson Police Department gradually increase their force until there were military vehicles patrolling the streets of this city. For a week the name of the officer who fired the fatal shots that killed an unarmed young black man was not revealed. It seems that police across the nation are routinely killing young black men.
When did it become acceptable for our police departments in this nation to use deadly force on unarmed citizens? This trend not only alarms me, but it frightens me as a mother of black sons; yes, it makes me angry. For a week I have been angry that once again a mother has to bury her son, her child who was killed by an officer who was hired to serve and protect the community.
For a week I have been angry that men of color are expendable because of stereotyped and biased thinking. The police are supposed to protect, but people of color are advising their children to be aware of the deadly trend that is occurring in our society. What is wrong with our society that some will justify this killing?
Ferguson, Missouri, is a prime example of a community that is tired, a community that has had enough. Ferguson, Missouri, is an example of a dream deferred as Langston Hughes wrote in his 1951 poem, “Harlem”: "What happens to a dream deferred? Does it dry up like a raisin in the sun? Or fester like a sore-- And then run? Does it stink like rotten meat? Or crust and sugar over-- like a syrupy sweet? Maybe it just sags like a heavy load. Or does it explode?" This is 2014, and I believe that the dreams deferred in Ferguson have begun to explode.
As our nation looks on, may Missouri begin to heal and may dialogue continue. The killing of unarmed citizens is unacceptable, and I can only pray for our state and our nation if these tragedies continue.