TIME Ferguson

Ferguson Protesters Arrested at NYC’s Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

A small group broke away from the designated route and tried to approach the floats

A group of protesters were arrested Thursday at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade while demonstrating in the wake of the announcement that a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo., would not be indicted in the death of an unarmed black teenager.

Officers of the New York City Police Department arrested seven protesters after they broke from their designated route and attempted to approach the iconic floats, PIX 11 reports. Others who did not attempt a disruption were not detained.

The protesters, affiliated with #stoptheparade, were decrying the killings of Akai Gurley, Eric Garner and others. The campaign comes days after the grand jury decision not to charge Ferguson cop Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

[PIX 11]

TIME Crime

Celebrities Are Protesting Ferguson Grand Jury Decision With ‘Blackout Black Friday’

Social media campaign to encourage boycott of biggest shopping day of the year

A social media campaign calling for a boycott on spending this Black Friday has caught the attention of celebrities.

In an effort to protest the Missouri grand jury’s decision on Monday not to indict officer Darren Wilson for the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in August, US celebrities have taken to social media to use the hashtags #NotOneDime, #BlackoutFriday and #BlackoutBlackFriday to advocate for a retail boycott. They include actors Michael B. Jordan and Jesse Williams, Fruitvale Station director Ryan Coogler, actress Kat Graham, hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and journalist Soledad O’Brien . The hashtags are meant to encourage people to stop shopping on the biggest retail day of the year as a protest against police brutality.

The campaign was started by a grassroots group called Blackout for Human Rights, which aims to “to raise awareness that builds and maintains pressure on the instruments of power until we are satisfied that the current threat has passed.” The group has hopes to “make Black Friday (November 28, 2014) a nationwide day of action and retail boycott.”

[Telegraph]

TIME United Kingdom

Ferguson Protests Spread to Britain

People gather outside the US embassy in Central London,
People gather outside the US embassy in Central London, supporting the protests in Ferguson on Nov. 26, 2014. Andrea Baldo—LightRocket/Getty Images

Hundreds of demonstrators gathered outside the U.S. embassy in London on Wednesday night.

Several hundred people marched in London in solidarity with protestors in the U.S., condemning the decision not to charge police officer Darren Wilson with the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

Demonstrators held candles and placards outside the U.S. embassy and observed a minute’s silence before marching across central London to the Houses of Parliament, BBC reports. Many held their hands up and chanted the slogan of American campaigners: “Hands up, don’t shoot.” The protest was peaceful and no arrests were made.

The protest was attended by relatives of Mark Duggan, a young black man shot dead by a police officer in London in 2011 and Sean Rigg, a black musician who died in police custody in 2008.

MORE: The one battle Michael Brown’s family will win

Carole Duggan, Mark’s aunt, told the crowd: “We know the pain of losing somebody at the hands of the police. We stand in solidarity with the community of Ferguson. I feel they are very strong and brave people.”

[BBC]

TIME Crime

Calm in Ferguson While Police Arrest 130-Plus in L.A. and Oakland

Police detain protesters during a march in Los Angeles, California
Police detain protesters during a march in Los Angeles on Nov. 26, 2014 Lucy Nicholson—Reuters

Cold and calm descended on Ferguson, Missouri, late Wednesday after two nights of violent protests against a grand jury’s decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in unarmed teen Michael Brown’s shooting death. But demonstrators in Los Angeles, Oakland and elsewhere across the country again took to protesting by blocking roads and, in some cases, clashing with police.

Police arrested about 130 demonstrators who had been marching through downtown Los Angeles after police determined the protesters were becoming a hazard to motorists. Police declared an unlawful assembly and later surrounded the group to begin making arrests …

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Opinion

Why Ferguson Should Matter to Asian-Americans

A female protester raises her hands while blocking police cars in Ferguson
A female protester raises her hands while blocking police cars in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 25, 2014. Adrees Latif—Reuters

Ferguson isn’t simply black versus white

A peculiar Vine floated around social media Monday evening following the grand jury announcement in Ferguson, Mo. The short video shows an Asian-American shopkeeper standing in his looted store, with a hands-in-his-pockets matter-of-factness and a sad slump to his facial expression. “Are you okay, sir?” an off-screen cameraman asks. “Yes,” the storeowner says, dejectedly.

The clip is only a few seconds, but it highlights the question of where Asian-Americans stand in the black and white palette often used to paint incidents like Ferguson. In the story of a white cop’s killing of a black teen, Asian-Americans may at first seem irrelevant. They are neither white nor black; they assume the benefits of non-blackness, but also the burdens of non-whiteness. They can appear innocuous on nighttime streets, but also defenseless; getting into Harvard is a result of “one’s own merit,” but also a genetic gift; they are assumed well-off in society, but also perpetually foreign. Asian-Americans’ peculiar gray space on the racial spectrum can translate to detachment from the situation in Ferguson. When that happens, the racialized nature of the events in Ferguson loses relevance to Asian-Americans. But seen with a historical perspective, it’s clear that such moments are decidedly of more colors than two.

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Michael Brown’s death has several parallels in Asian-American history. The first to come to mind may be the story of Vincent Chin, a Chinese-American killed in 1982 by a Chrysler plant superintendent and his stepson, both white, both uncharged in a racially-motivated murder; like Brown, Chin unified his community to demand protection under the law. However, most direct parallels have often had one distinct dissimilarity to Ferguson: they have not spurred widespread resistance, nor have they engraved a visible legacy.

There is the story of Kuanchang Kao, an intoxicated Chinese-American fatally shot in 1997 by police threatened by his “martial arts” moves. There is Cau Bich Tran, a Vietnamese-American killed in 2003 after holding a vegetable peeler, which police thought was a cleaver. There is Fong Lee, a Hmong-American shot to death in 2006 by police who believed he was carrying a gun. None of the three cases resulted in criminal charges against the police or in public campaigns that turned the victim’s memory into a commitment to seek justice. One op-ed even declared how little America learned from Tran’s slaying.

While Ferguson captures the world’s attention, why do these Asian-American stories remain comparatively unknown?

One possible answer could be found in the model minority myth. The myth, a decades-old stereotype, casts Asian-Americans as universally successful, and discourages others — even Asian-Americans themselves — from believing in the validity of their struggles. But as protests over Ferguson continue, it’s increasingly important to remember the purpose of the model minority narrative’s construction. The doctored portrayal, which dates to 1967, was intended to shame African-American activists whose demands for equal civil rights threatened a centuries-old white society. (The original story in the New York Times thrust forward an image of Japanese-Americans quietly rising to economic successes despite the racial prejudice responsible for their unjust internment during World War II.)

Racial engineering of Asian-Americans and African-Americans to protect a white-run society was nothing new, but the puppeteering of one minority to slap the other’s wrist was a marked change. The apparent boost of Asian-Americans suggested that racism was no longer a problem for all people of color — it was a problem for people of a specific color. “The model minority discourse has elevated Asian-Americans as a group that’s worked hard, using education to get ahead,” said Daryl Maeda, a professor of ethnic studies at the University of Colorado, Boulder. “But the reality is that it’s a discourse that intends to pit us against other people of color. And that’s a divide and conquer strategy we shouldn’t be complicit with.”

Through the years, that idea erased from the public consciousness the fact that the Asian-American experience was once a story of racially motivated legal exclusion, disenfranchisement and horrific violence — commonalities with the African-American experience that became rallying points in demanding racial equality. That division between racial minorities also erased a history of Afro-Asian solidarity born by the shared experience of sociopolitical marginalization.

As with Ferguson, it’s easy to say the Civil Rights movement was entirely black and white, when in reality there were many moments of interplay between African-American and Asian-American activism. Japanese-American activist Yuri Kochiyama worked alongside Malcolm X until he was assassinated in front of her. Groups protesting America’s involvement in the Vietnam War, like the student-run Third World Liberation Front, united resisters across racial lines under a collective radical political identity. W.E.B. DuBois called on African Americans to support the 1920s Indian anti-colonial resistance, which he compared to whites’ oppression of blacks. Chinese-American activist Grace Lee Boggs, who struggled as a female scholar of color, found passion in fighting similar injustices against African-Americans alongside C.L.R. James in the 1950s. Though Afro-Asian solidarity wasn’t the norm in either groups’ resistance movements, the examples highlight the power of cross-racial resistance, and what hardships they shared as non-whites.

The concept of non-whiteness is one way to begin the retelling of most hyphenated American histories. In Asian-American history, non-whiteness indelibly characterized the first waves of Asians arriving in the mid-1800s in America. Cases like People v. Hall (1854) placed them alongside unfree blacks, in that case by ruling that a law barring blacks from testifying against whites was intended to block non-white witnesses, while popular images documented Asian-American bodies as dark, faceless and indistinguishable — a racialization strengthened against the white supremacy of Manifest Destiny and naturalization law. Non-whiteness facilitated racism, but it in time also facilitated cross-racial opposition. With issues like post-9/11 racial profiling, anti-racism efforts continue to uphold this tradition of a shared non-white struggle.

“This stuff is what I call M.I.H. — missing in history,” said Helen Zia, an Asian-American historian and activist. “Unfortunately, we have generations growing up thinking there’s no connection [between African-Americans and Asian-Americans]. These things are there, all the linkages of struggles that have been fought together.”

The disassociation of Asian-Americans from Ferguson — not just as absent allies, but forgotten legacies — is another chapter in that missing history. In final moments of the Vine depicting an Asian-American shopkeeper’s looted store, the cameraman offers a last thought in their conversation that had halted to a brief pause. “It’s just a mess,” the cameraman says. The observation, however simplistic, has a truth. That, as an Asian-American who’s become collateral damage in a climate often black-and-white, he, like all of Ferguson, must first clean up — and then reassess the unfolding reality outside.

TIME Crime

Ferguson Bakery Vandalized in Protests Gets Big Donations

Natalie's Cake's & More opened in early June

The owner of a bakery in Ferguson, Missouri, said she is in awe of the support she received after rioters on Monday smashed the windows and damaged some kitchen equipment in her small shop.

Natalie DuBose, a 32-year-old mother of two, owns Natalie’s Cake’s & More at 100 S. Florissant Rd., which opened in early June. DuBose told NBC News Wednesday that baking and cake decorating have always been a passion, but they didn’t become a full-time job until earlier this year, when she finally saved enough to open her store.

“Everything that I invested, it came from me saving money through bake sales…

Read the rest of the story from our partners at NBC News

TIME Crime

Rev. Al Sharpton: Pray for Michael Brown’s Family on Thanksgiving

Reverand Al Sharpton speaks at a press conference on the eve of Thanksgiving to pray and address the events of the last few days regarding the grand jury verdict of police officer Darren Wilson on Nov. 26, 2014 in New York.
Reverand Al Sharpton speaks at a press conference on the eve of Thanksgiving to pray and address the events of the last few days regarding the grand jury verdict of police officer Darren Wilson on Nov. 26, 2014 in New York. Andrew Burton—Getty Images

Families of two men killed in police incidents came together with Rev. Al Sharpton

The families of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, who were both killed in confrontations with police officers over the summer, are set to experience their first Thanksgivings without their loved ones. In preparation for the holiday, Rev. Al Sharpton and the National Action Network hosted a “bonding prayer” Wednesday for the two families at the civil rights organization’s headquarters in Harlem.

“Not only do they share pain of being victims of police conduct,” Sharpton said. “This will be their first Thanksgiving with an empty seat at the table”

Garner was killed after being held in a chokehold by a New York City officer. For Brown’s family, the wounds from his death are especially fresh given the grand jury decision announced this week not to indict officer Darren Wilson, who fired the fatal shots at the 18-year-old. Since the announcement of the decision, protests have sprang up across the U.S. and in Brown’s hometown of Ferguson, Mo.

“We hope that when people pull up to their tables on Thanksgiving, they pray for these families,” Sharpton said before praying that both Garner’s and Brown’s deaths “birth a new way” of handling police conduct and race relations in America.

TIME Crime

See How Ferguson Protests Rippled Across the U.S.

Cities across the country saw a strong reaction to the grand jury's decision not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown, as protests erupted from Los Angeles to New York to Atlanta, demonstrators congregated en masse and shut down several major highways

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TIME

Facts and Ferguson

An undated evidence photograph made available by the St. Louis County prosecutors office on Nov. 25, 2014 shows Ferguson Police officer Darren Wilson's vehicle at the scene of the confrontation.
Officer Darren Wilson's vehicle is shown at the scene of the confrontation in this undated evidence photograph made available by the St. Louis County prosecutors office St. Louis County

There will be two conversations about this shooting and its investigation. One will be public. The other will be private

It has come down to this in the Ferguson shooting of Michael Brown: none of the evidence produced a clear enough picture of inappropriate behavior by Officer Darren Wilson. Indeed, the preponderance of forensic and eyewitness testimony suggests that Wilson was acting in self-defense against a violent perpetrator. But the eyewitness testimony is muddled, even among the local residents who supported Wilson’s version of the story. It is amazing how fast violence happens, how hard it is to remember events accurately. And so the grand jury couldn’t say–wasn’t asked to say–what actually happened on August 9 in Ferguson.

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It is probable that a public jury trial would have a tough time establishing Wilson’s guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. The question is, do Michael Brown’s parents–and the rest of us–deserve to have the facts laid out, the case against Wilson argued in a court of law? Undoubtedly, there will be such a case–a federal case or a civil case, brought by the parents. But a grand jury indictment, even on a lesser charge like manslaughter, would have lent appropriate seriousness to a contested, foggy situation. It would have indicated, at the very least, that the evidence wasn’t dispositive and the situation required further public attention.

Several things are absolutely clear, though. The authorities in Missouri, from Ferguson to St. Louis County to the governor’s office, have bungled this case from the start. That Michael Brown’s body was allowed to lie in the street for four hours is inexcusable. That crucial evidence–Wilson’s gun–was not dusted for prints is mystifying and incompetent. And then there was the Monday spectacle of a verdict reached, but not announced until after dark. Sheer idiocy.

But there can no longer be a question that the initial accounts of the case were fraudulent. Michael Brown was not a gentle giant. He was not shot in the back. There was a scuffle of some sort between Brown and Wilson, perhaps with Brown trying to gain control of the police officer’s gun. There was, apparently, at least one shot fired at close range. Brown ran away, then turned and charged the officer.

Again, as I wrote a few weeks ago, Wilson’s actions may have been justifiable under the law in Missouri, but he is not entirely exonerated: the death would have been preventable if he had been better trained. Still, you can’t indict Wilson for not abiding by training he didn’t receive. And you can’t elide the facts of the case. Wilson clearly panicked. He thought his life was in danger. He killed a young man. He should have to defend these actions publicly, under the fierce pressure of cross-examination.

There will now be still more calls for a discussion about race in America. But that conversation can not simply be about white guilt or prejudice. The latter certainly does exist; it exists overwhelmingly, disgracefully. But the assumptions that lead police, and bodega owners, to racial profiling are real–and those must be discussed, too. Liberals have avoided this conversation for 50 years, since crime rates exploded in the 1960s. And by doing so, they have done a real disservice to the disproportionate number of crime victims who are African-Americans, urban and poor. Poverty is no excuse for criminality. People who commit crimes are perpetrators, not victims. Indeed, blaming poverty for criminality is an insult to the vast majority of poor blacks who play by the rules–graduate from high school or college, find a job, are responsible parents–and have improved their lives as a result. As the President said, you can’t gainsay the fact that there has been enormous progress over the past 40 years…with more to come, as a new generation of polychromatic, unprejudiced young people take charge.

Back in the 1980s, my wife and I lived in a mostly-black neighborhood in New York. Our neighbors were placed in an impossible position: they were infuriated that many of the police who patrolled (or, more often, failed to patrol) our streets treated them as if they were criminals, but they also were terrified of, and infuriated by, the criminals who made it a life-threatening challenge to go down to the corner for a quart of milk. We had some real conversations in those days–about crime, about the double-edged sword of affirmative action, about the hilariously stupid racial assumptions they encountered in the city. Some of our neighbors were public employees; others weren’t and were pissed off about the level of service they were receiving. There were intense conversations about whether it was “racist” to fire incompetents on the public payroll. I miss those conversations. They required a certain amount of candor and subtlety. They would have been impossible for ideologues, because the reality on our block defied any ideology. And they probably would have been impossible in public, since it was very hard for our neighbors to criticize young black men who had grown up in anger-infusing chaos.

It is sad, but inevitable, that there will be two conversations about Ferguson. One will be public, one will be private. The public conversation will be dominated by rant, oversimplification and guilt-mongering. The private conversation will be unspeakable in segments of the white, Asian and Latino communities. If my experience in the 1980s is any guide, the conversations in the black community will be more reasonable, marked by anger, pain, embarrassment and the difficulties of dealing with kids like Michael Brown. It’s a national tragedy that we can’t seem to have that conversation in public, that political correctness stands directly athwart honesty in this republic of free speech.

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TIME Race

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: White People Feel Targeted by the Ferguson Protests—Welcome to Our World

A female protester raises her hands while blocking police cars in Ferguson
A female protester raises her hands while blocking police cars in Ferguson, Mo. on Nov. 25, 2014. Adrees Latif—Reuters

Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA champion and league Most Valuable Player. He is also a celebrated author, filmmaker and education ambassador.

White Americans feel like they are being singled out because of the color of their skin rather than any actions they’ve taken. That's how black people feel. Every. Single. Day.

In 1971, a riot broke out at the Attica Correctional Facility in New York during which prisoners demanded more political rights and better living conditions. About 1,000 inmates out of 2,200 took control of the prison, holding 42 staff members hostage. Negotiations went on for days before state police stormed the prison, resulting in 43 deaths. Attica has since become a pop culture reference in movies, songs, and TV shows. Even children’s shows like SpongeBob Squarepants, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Sabrina: The Teenage Witch have referenced it. The word “Attica” is no longer about what happened in that prison 43 years ago, but is now simply a synonym for political oppression.

VOTE: Should the Ferguson Protestors Be TIME’s Person of the Year?

I hope the chanting of “Ferguson! Ferguson!” and the symbolic upraised arms of surrender will become a new cry of outrage over social injustice that will embed itself in our popular culture as deeply as Attica did.

As always, there will be blacklash.

Many white people think that these cries of outrage over racism by African Americans are directed at them, which makes them frightened, defensive, and equally outraged. They feel like they are being blamed for a problem that’s been going on for many decades, even centuries. They feel they are being singled out because of the color of their skin rather than any actions they’ve taken. They are angry at the injustice. And rightfully so. Why should they be attacked and blamed for something they didn’t do?

Which is exactly how black people feel.

The difference is that when the media frenzy dies down, and columnists, pundits, and newscasters take a break from examining the causes of social evils, white people get to go back to their lives in relative freedom and security. But blacks still have to worry about being harassed or shot by police. About having their right to vote curtailed by hidden poll taxes. Of facing a biased judicial system.

Every. Single. Day.

That’s the reason Attica makes such a poignant symbol 43 years later. The word isn’t about a specific prison and the terrible violence there, it’s about feeling unjustly imprisoned. Many African-Americans feel imprisoned by walls that are no less restrictive for being built by lack of educational and employment opportunity than by concrete and razor wire. That’s not to say things aren’t a lot better than they were back in the ’60s and ’70s, but there still isn’t an equal playing field.

The Ferguson grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson is troubling, not just for the sake of Michael Brown, but for our faith in legal institutions. Ben Casselman’s recent article in FiveThirtyEight.com concluded that it was extremely rare for a grand jury not to indict. He cited statistics that showed U.S. attorneys prosecuted 162,000 federal cases in 2010, with grand juries refusing to indict in only 11 of those cases. Given those odds, why wasn’t Officer Wilson indicted? Not because he’s white, but because he’s a cop. Casselman reviewed various studies involving officer-related shootings and concluded that grand juries rarely indict police officers in on-duty killings.

In addition to that disturbing information is the fact that the federal government keeps no national database on officer-involved shootings. One can find out how many unprovoked shark attacks occurred in 2013 (53), but you can’t find out how many cops shot or even killed citizens. Right now, it’s left up to individual police departments to self-report (wink, wink). Even the Department of Justice has stopped releasing figures because they were thought to be so unreliable.

So, with a tendency for grand juries to give officers a pass and with no reliable information on just how many shootings and killings are police-originated, how can people feel confident that there’s effective oversight on those officers who might be more prone to shoot unarmed black people? The police and the judicial system are the infrastructure of our society, and right now that infrastructure is as cracked and potholed as many of our highways.

The people of Ferguson, and across the country, are not protesting against white people or police officers, they are protesting against the kind of racism that is so embedded in various social institutions that it’s invisible to all except those it affects. They are protesting a blind faith in any institution when the facts don’t warrant that faith.

Perhaps this quote has some resonance today:

Some who accuse others of inciting riots have by their own conduct invited them.…[T]his much is clear; violence breeds violence, repression brings retaliation, and only a cleaning of our whole society can remove this sickness from our soul. For there is another kind of violence, slower but just as deadly, destructive as the shot or the bomb in the night. This is the violence of institutions; indifference and inaction and slow decay. This is the violence that afflicts the poor, that poisons relations between men because their skin has different colors. This is a slow destruction of a child by hunger, and schools without books and homes without heat in the winter. This is the breaking of a man’s spirit by denying him the chance to stand as a father and as a man among other men. And this too afflicts us all.

Those words are from a speech by Robert F. Kennedy—in 1968, the year he was assassinated. He wanted things to change, and he recognized that meaningful social and political change always originates among the people, not the politicians; it originates among individuals, not institutions. When enough people are frustrated about an injustice, they will raise their voices until they are heard in the courthouse, the statehouse, and the White House.

That’s why I think people should peacefully protest whenever they believe there’s an injustice to be addressed. But we have to remember that the goal of protesting is to raise awareness in those that don’t agree. This is not done instantly, through one gathering. Nor is it done through the persistent occupation of one space. It has to be a national movement, and it has to keep its energy high. When enough people across the country gather to say something, more and more people will listen.

Second, the violence and looting is counter-productive because it redirects the message away from the reasoned arguments to just the emotion. The roar of the fires and the sound of shattering glass drowns out the voices demanding change. The level of frustration that leads to violence is understandable: When you’re treated as if you’re not a valued member of society, why should you uphold society’s values? But violence turns away potential allies and only provides more targets to start the cycle over again. Yes, we must be passionate about the situation, but only because our passion will fuel the open discourse.

Should the Ferguson Protestors Be TIME’s Person of the Year? Vote Below for #TIMEPOY

Third, we must focus our protests, not on the individuals that disagree with us, but on the institutions that are corrupted and therefore need to change. Change is brought on by political power and political power requires numbers. Pointing out the hypocrisy of this politician or this media pundit has no effect. But lobbying politicians with a huge voting block behind us will be effective.

While the word “Attica” has become synonymous with “oppression,” perhaps one day the word “Ferguson” will be inducted into American pop culture as meaning “justice.”

Abdul-Jabbar is a six-time NBA champion and league Most Valuable Player. Follow him on Twitter (@KAJ33) and Facebook (facebook.com/KAJ).

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

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