Gyasi Ross: Police shootings aren't just a 'people of color' issue

Police clash with protesters following the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by an officer in Ferguson, Missouri. Photo by Loavesofbread / Wikipedia

Gyasi Ross pens a letter to people awaiting word of potential charges against a police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown:
It's inspiring to see such an amazing cross-section of colors, ethnicities and backgrounds seeking, marching for and expecting justice in Ferguson. It reminds me a lot of this same time of the year in 2010 in Seattle, Washington. Much like in Ferguson, it was a powerful time that came directly after a tragedy. That year, in this city named after a great leader from the Suquamish and Duwamish Tribes, a Seattle Police Department officer named Ian Birk shot and killed a Native American carver for failing to heed the officer's instructions to "stop." Evidence later showed that the carver stood nine feet away from the police officer and was deaf in one ear and had headphones on at the time of the shooting.

Both of these cases are obviously heartbreaking. The deaths were unnecessary, brutal and avoidable. Both killings also speak to the callousness that the state, with its enviable collections of guns and bloodthirsty minds, has treated brown-skinned and black-skinned men and women for centuries. It is a trend that goes back several hundred years. It has waned, absolutely, and not been as pronounced in recent times. But it is still there. Michael Brown, John T. Williams, Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, etc., etc., are living testaments to this; that callousness is still there.

That is empirical fact, not speculation.

Still, much like what happened when our brother John T. Williams was brutally gunned down here in Seattle, people of all colors have grouped together to demand justice in Ferguson over the killing of young brother Michael Brown. Good. That's a positive outcome from a horrible deprivation of justice -- making something beautiful out of nothing. It's incredibly positive and reassuring to see the racial and economic cornucopia that demands justice; you folks have it 1,000-percent correct! This is not a "black issue"; this is not a "people-of-color issue"; this is not a "liberal issue."

Get the Story:
Gyasi Ross: Love Letter to Those Awaiting Justice in Ferguson (The Huffington Post 11/17)

Join the Conversation