In the wake of the St. Louis County grand jury decision that failed to indict Officer Darren Wilson of Ferguson, MO for the killing of the unarmed teenage Michael Brown, communities rallied across the nation to express disgust, shock, frustration and general disassociation with the judicial and law enforcement systems, which, they expressed, regularly fail to protect those most in need. While rallies escalated in Ferguson, provoking yet more violent responses from local law enforcement, gatherings of protest and solidarity in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles , Little Rock, San Juan, Ft. Lauderdale, Montreal, and more demonstrate the scope and reverberation of the court’s decision.
In league with the nation and abroad, New Orleans citizens gathered in solidarity at Lee Circle to protest the grand jury results and maintain the nationwide call for justice. Huddled at noon in front of the monument, the crowd of fifty chanted and hoisted signs demanding an end to police brutality and a reevaluation of the social systems that favor few and largely ignore the interests of communities of color, immigrant, working class, trans, and queer communities.
Issuing protest: “No Justice, No Peace,”// “Hey, Hey, Ho, Ho, Killer Cops Have Got to Go!”//”Hands Up. Don’t Shoot!” the group marched along St. Charles Ave. to Carondelet St. and Euterpe to the site of Cash Money’s Annual Thanksgiving Turkey Giveaway and Health Fair, where they were met by over 200 hundred people, local non profits, and Health Care Providers, engaged in health screenings, eye exams, podiatry, dental cleanings, and check-ups.
Also on Tuesday, across town at Xavier University, members of the Xavier University Student Government Association and over 200 students marched in demonstration on campus before moving the rally to Lafayette Square in the evening. Alongside their signs, reading “Trayvon, Oscar, Jordan, and Michael,” “#BlackLivesMatter,” and “Save our Sons,” representatives of the student body called for a coming together of all people across political and social lines to confront the issues that put those at risk who are underrepresented by legal and social systems.
When attempted to march onto I-10, police blocked off the entrances and sent the protesters back toward the street but thankfully, protests in New Orleans have been non-violent and have not seen malevolent action from police forces.
Though the grand jury decision is in the books, rallies continue throughout the week and across the city, including the upcoming “Circle For Mike Brown,” at 12pm Sunday in Lee Circle, featuring Chalk Line Demos, Spoken Word, Hip Hop, and Information regarding navigating encounters with police and sponsored by the NOLA chapter of the Black Youth Project 100.