"Let's work together to heal...to create lasting change."
—Michael Brown Sr.
Before this Thanksgiving holiday, we asked leaders in the Not In Our Town community for wisdom and words. Specifically, in the aftermath of the indictment decision in Ferguson, we asked them: What is your wish for change?
Here's what they had to say.
"My wish for change is that all government agencies, especially in law enforcement and the criminal justice system, work much harder to make their agencies and departments much more representative of the communities which they serve. If in fact, the Ferguson Police Department’s ethnic and racial make-up was more in proportion with that of their community, then I believe that the community would have had a greater sense of trust in the justice system. This is in contrast to the sense among many in that community that the system cannot be trusted to ensure justice is done, because they cannot relate to those in power, who appear and act very different from them. In the interim, I wish the police would become even more active in continuously engaging the full spectrum of community groups and leaders, before problems occur, so they have a mechanism to dialogue and a sense of personal trust built up between the liaisons from each group."
—Oscar Garcia Chair, San Diego Regional Hate Crimes Coalition
"There are questions of police procedure, criminal behavior and reaction to a street confrontation that one could argue specifics about for years to come. The larger issue, however, is how we respect our youth and also cultivate respect from our youth, particularly so that young African-American and Latino young males do not feel targeted and also do not feel hopeless within the limited employment and educational opportunities many face. Ferguson is the symptom of a deeper discontent and injustice that needs not only wise words, but thoughtful ears to listen, that than leads to hopeful action."
"One main thought is to note the importance of not reacting, but to respond to an appearance of injustice and to provide a non-violent means to allow the community and its leaders to resolve the appearance of injustice and discriminatory actions resulting in the lost of a life...
If we can see this youth as our child—my son, your grandson, my neighbor—how would we have wanted this fatal situation handled?
The police represents us, our community; not them against us. Our police departments and community must review the accounts that occurred in Ferguson and bring recommendations to help protect and serve. There must be fact finding with a dose of compassion and humanity.
In conclusion, when we resort to violence nobody wins.
Prayer + Faith + Positive Actions = Results in a Caring Home, Community, People and a Nation."
—Willie Holton Halbert
"The rule of law is an important principle that our nation is founded upon. The application of the rule of law is imprecise, often inconsistent and leads many to believe the justice system may not always be just. In order to move forward, a complete review of the justice system, from the streets through the process of parole, needs to be examined and modernized to confront today's crime and free yesterday's bias."
—Police Chief Susan Riseling
What is your wish for change?
Watch this video featuring Michael Brown Sr.