With the growth of protests and demonstrations in our country
over the loss of young lives of color in police confrontations,
parents, educators and youth are asking questions and demanding
In Ferguson, MO, community members and activists have launched
a campaign to question the death of Michael Brown Jr. and the
St. Louis grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, the
Ferguson police officer who killed Michael Brown.
The contentious issues of policing and communities of color are not
new. Numerous investigations over the past 40 years have confirmed
the lack of trust and respect and the use of profiling which continued
on Staten Island, and in Cleveland this year.
These incidents raise serious challenges:
• What really happened to these two young people?
• Are grand juries subverting the democratic process? The United
States is virtually the only common law jurisdiction in the world
that continues to use the grand jury to screen criminal indictments.
• How do parents guide their children in relationships with authorities,
particularly in matters of trust?
• How do young people protect themselves and handle interactions
• How do teachers and school leaders handle students’ requests to demonstrate,
and/or wear clothing sympathetic to loss of life?
Are there larger issues related to democracy that are at play?