Do Your Part To Break The Cycle


By Elvert Barnes Washington, DC August 14, 2014 Flickr/creative commons
By Elvert Barnes
Washington, DC
August 14, 2014
Flickr/creative commons

Michael Brown and his family have finally put a face on police brutality, sparking a robust national conversation that must take place. Freedom and human rights are just words, words this country peddles abroad but does little for at home. We can honor this family’s awful sacrifice by doing more each day to end this scourge in our nation. Will you? (VenusPlusX, August 18, 2014)

Yesterday, we wrote Solutions Are Available But Will We Pay Attention? to start a list of what we can do to bring about substantive change to the circumstances that lead to the tragic killing of young black men in this country. We talked about three things we need to be doing to get started:

  1. Mobilize people of color to vote, making sure they are represented proportionally at all levels of local, county, and state administration. The most recent elections in Ferguson brought out only 12% turnout by minorities, less than a third of white turnout.

  2. Support national legislation to reverse the decades long, constitution-bashing systems that turn local police forces into armed militias who must overreact to justify their existence. (Sign the Care2 petition.)

  3. Make every policeman wear a body camera, a simple fix that has shown a dramatic 88% decline in the number of complaints about police, and a similar drastic reduction in the use of force and police brutality. (Sign White House petition.)

Today,  and  expand on our list, writing on Huffington Post, 10 Ways You Can Help The People of Ferguson, Missouri.

  • Donate to the Michael Brown Memorial Fund to assist the family with legal, burial and travel costs as they investigate their son’s killing.
  • Support and donate to Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment’s Legal Defense Fund for Justice for Mike providing legal support for those arrested as part of the protests, primarily on bailing or bonding residents out of jail.
  • Sign the Amnesty International petition, and/or the related one launched by the American Civil Liberties to show support for and voice your opinions to Ferguson’s elected officials charged with helping to mediate the conflict.  You can also contact the Ferguson Police Department, urging law enforcement leaders to release public information related to the shooting (Police Chief Thomas Jackson, 314-524-5269 or email
  • Don’t allow irrelevant narratives to deflect front he larger issue at hand.
  • Send condolences or a message of support to Brown’s family.

Ashtari and Boboltz urge everyone to invest ourselves in the cause of racial equality (one of the pillars of VenusPlusX’s work). They also talk about something we stress over and over: Always remember that if you have any privilege whatsoever its only use is give it freely to those who have none.

How will you use your privilege today to help others?