Even After Grand Jury Decisions, Seattle Student Still Has Hope

12.10.14

By Ardo Hersi

It hurts that yet another officer isn’t being indited for killing an unarmed black man. Especially, in the case of Eric Garner where there is no ambiguity. These injustices can often make us feel demoralized. But it may seem surprising that after attending a rally on November 25th, I feel inspired.

About 1,000 people marched and attended the rally at the steps of the Federal Building in downtown Seattle that day, after the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson. The crowd was mostly youth like me – some had backpacks – others held signs that read “Justice for Mike Brown” and “Demilitarize the Police.”

The air was filled with mourning but there something else – hope.

“I will confidently proclaim Michael Brown your death will not be in vain!” said a member of Garfield High Schools Black student union.

I’m not surprised at the decision, but I am disappointed. Every 28 hours a police officer kills an unarmed black man in this country. I fear that one day it could be my dad, my brothers, or my cousins who comes in contact with the wrong police officer.

One protester shares the same fears, as an immigrant from former apartheid country Namibia. She says that she came to America for a better chance – not only for herself but one day her own kids. She is outraged about the grand jury decision, and says she doesn’t want to live in a world where any of us could be targeted just because of the color of our skin.

Nearing the end of the rally, another Garfield High School student, Valerie Vong, informed me that it was more than just Garfield students but kids from other schools and people from different organizations in attendance.

“I mean, it just shows solidarity to have so many people walking, coming here. We filled the streets for blocks and blocks. Things will not change until we stand together. If you are a bystander and you know that you can take action it is your responsibility to take action- to take part in undoing oppression…there’s no room in change to be a bystander.”

We will not be bystanders. Michael Brown’s death will not be in vain. It has ignited the fury of a generation hungry for change, results, equality. The only thing powerful enough to stop our generation is justice- for indeed we will not settle for anything less. I am enraged, but if there is one thing I learned from the rallies held in Seattle it is that rage is pointless if it does not fuel change and foster results.

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