Detroit Ferguson Rally on Aug. 14

Open Letter On Michael Brown #HandsUpDon'tShoot

AJ Trager

Transgenderlawcenter.org along with many different LGBT organizations including the ACLU, Advocates for Youth, Equality Michigan, BiNet USA and AIDS United have come together to release an open letter to the family and community of Michael Brown.

The letter reads as follows:

"When communities experience fear, harassment and brutality simply because of who they are or how they look, we are failing as a nation. In light of the recent events in Missouri, it is clearer than ever that there is something profoundly wrong in our country.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community cannot be silent at this moment, because LGBT people come from all races, creeds, faiths and backgrounds, and because all movements of equality are deeply connected. We are all part of the fabric of this nation and the promise of liberty and justice for all is yet to be fulfilled. The LGBT community stands with the family of Michael Brown, who was gunned down in Ferguson, Missouri. We stand with the mothers and fathers of young Black men and women who fear for the safety of their children each time they leave their homes. We call on the national and local media to be responsible and steadfast in their coverage of this story and others like it-racialized killings that have marred this nation since the beginning of its history. We call on policy makers on all levels of American government not to shrink from action, and we are deeply grateful to Attorney General Eric Holder and the Department of Justice for their immediate commitment to a thorough investigation.

At this moment, we are inspired by the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: "In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies ... but the silence of our friends."

Brown was only 18 when he was gunned down by police in the streets of Ferguson, MO on Aug. 9. Reports claimed that Brown physically assaulted the officer, and during a struggle with the officer, reached for the officer's sidearm. One shot was fired in the car followed more outside. An autopsy filed the week after his death concluded that Brown was shot six times, twice in the head.

A candlelight vigil to honor Brown was held that same evening and turned violent with more than a dozen businesses being vandalized and looted. The FBI announced on Aug. 10 that they would conduct a parallel investigation into the shooting of the young man. Parents and attorney of Brown, the same attorney who represented the family in the Treyvon Martin case, asked for a stop to the violence. Rioting, looing and violence continued on throughout the week. Treyvon's mother released this letter to the family of Brown. The Ferguson police responded to the rioting with tear gas, armored vehicles, rubber bullets and wood pellet bullets as a means to control the crowds and maintain city safety. There has been a dispute as to whether the police acted with brute force, verging on "police brutality."

It wasn't until Thursday Aug. 14 that the evening violence ended as citizens marched peacefully alongside state troopers. But the cease-fire didn't last and rioting and violence between city members and the police started up again on Aug. 15.

As of the morning of Aug. 19, Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden said on the Today Show that their focus remains on getting justice for her son. "When justice is prevailed, then maybe they'll regain their trust in the locals," McSpadden said.

School had been cancelled in Ferguson for the entirety of last week, maintaining safety for the students during the violent conflict.

View the USATODAY extended timeline here


  • Latest News

Enter To Win

Enter contests to win great prizes like CDs, DVDs, concert tickets and more

Special Section: Automotive
A Driving Force

Travis Parman predicted the future. As the current director of Corporate Communications at Nissan, Parman oversees all sorts of relationships within the automotive industry. But it wasn't that long ago that he wrote a 333-page thesis for his master's degree that specifically examined the relationship between corporations, their media marketing strategies and the LGBT community at large.

View More Automotive
This Week's Issue

Download or view this week's print issue today!