How to help if you’re feeling helpless about Ferguson

Last night, a verdict was reached in the Michael Brown killing. Brown was 18 years old when he was shot and killed by Officer Darren Wilson this August in Ferguson, Missouri. Brown was unarmed. The verdict, reached by a grand jury, decided not to indict Wilson — meaning Wilson walks free of any charges.

With the lack of indictment comes a wave of anger. The situation draws into sharp relief racial tensions in the country — Brown was black, Wilson is white — as well as a growing national distrust of law enforcement, especially amongst minority communities. An atmosphere of alarm, upset, and frustration is palpable. People from St. Louis, to New York, to California, to Jackson are taking to the streets to protest, many with the rallying cry, “black lives matter.”

After something like the events in Ferguson, it’s easy to feel helpless. And while we can’t reverse the grand jury’s decision, there are things we can do to help.

Here are a couple examples:

Donate to the Ferguson library system.

Though Ferguson’s schools were shut down in the wake of the decision and the ensuing protests, the library has declared that it will stay open as long as it can in order to have a place where the kids of the neighborhood can go. “We will do everything in our power to serve our community,” the library wrote on its Facebook page. “Stay strong and love each other.”

Donate to the Michael Brown Siblings Memorial Fund.

Money will go to helping support Brown’s family and relatives with legal costs.

Sign a petition that requires all police to wear body cameras.

There’s a White House petition currently circulating for a “Michael Brown Law” which would make body cameras a legal constraint of serving as an officer. There are also several local petitions for similar measures.

Send a message of support to the Brown family through the NAACP.

An online form is available here. 

Most important of all: Don’t forget Michael Brown.

Don’t forget what happened in Ferguson. Too often, stories like his cause a fire storm and then fade from public consciousness, replaced by the next outrage. But if we’re collectively ever going to figure out a way to prevent more young lives from being taken, it’s crucial not to forget. Even after the cameras and the news trucks leave Ferguson, Missouri, we can’t let our attentions waver from the issues that Brown’s death have highlighted. In the words of Brown’s family, who released a moving statement last night, “Let’s not just make noise, let’s make a difference.”

[Image via]