Edinburgh University BME society would like to express their outrage at and condemnation of the events which have recently taken place in the city of Ferguson.
Namely, the shooting and murder of an unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a police officer. He was shot 12 times despite having his hands up and clearly being unarmed. Subsequently on the 24th of November the Grand Jury made the decision to not indict Darren Wilson, which means he will not go to trial. This is a grave miscarriage of justice by the US legal system. Many lawyers and organisations have expressed their concerns towards this decision being made. We send a message of solidarity to Michael Brown’s family as well as the protesters involved.
Ultimately, this is not an isolated incident. It takes place against a context of systematic racism and oppression of black people and people of colour.
According to a 2012 Operation Ghetto Storm Report, an African-American is killed by the police every 28 hours. As seen with Darren Wilson, these police officers are never held accountable for their actions and are often protected, funded and looked after by the police force, federal government, the law and even private businesses (Walmart donated $10,000 to the ‘Darren Wilson Fund’ before the grand jury’s decision).
A more recent example of this at work is the tragic case of Tamir Rice a 12 year old African American boy who was shot by police on the 22/11/14 simply for holding a toy gun.
These incidents are not limited to America, cases such as these are prolific within the UK. Prominent examples include Mark Duggan and Stephen Lawrence but there are many more. This is not including other instances of racism such as “arbitrary” stop and search powers which allow officers to target people of colour, and terrorism legislation which encourages racial and religious profiling and discrimination.
It is important as students that we strongly oppose any form of racism, discrimination and inequality.
We will also be holding events throughout the year to raise awareness as well as raise money for the protesters’ legal defence fund.