Ferguson, Palestine, & Fracking

Injustice Seen in Ferguson is Rallying Cry for Movement Confronting Police Violence Across U.S.

MP3 Interview with Tory Russell, co-founder of the youth-led group Hands Up United, conducted by Scott Harris


In the week since the Missouri grand jury announced its verdict opting not to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed African American teenager Michael Brown, the local community is assessing the damage caused by riots that burned down a dozen buildings, as well as the persistent sense of injustice felt by many residents. But beyond Ferguson, the Michael Brown case has become a rallying cry for activists protesting police violence across the country. In addition to hundreds of solidarity demonstrations held on Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year, organizers called for a school and job walkout on Dec. 1.

On the eve of the 59th anniversary of the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott, the national NAACP launched the Journey for Justice march, where some 250 activists are walking 120 miles from Ferguson to the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City over the course of seven days. The marchers are seeking fundamental reform of policing nationwide, beginning with state legislation to stop racial profiling by police. A Pew survey earlier this summer, which revealed the racial polarization surrounding the death of Michael Brown, found that 63 percent of whites and only 20 percent of blacks think that Brown’s death at the hands of Darren Wilson was not about race.

In a series of meetings at the White House on Dec. 1, President Obama, Vice President Joseph Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder spoke with Cabinet members, law enforcement officials and young activists about the distrust between police and communities of color. The president called for $75 million in federal spending to purchase 50,000 body cameras that would record police interactions with civilians and also announced the convening of a government task force on “21st Century Policing.” Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Tory Russell, co-founder of the youth-led group Hands Up United. Here, he discusses the current situation in Ferguson and his group’s work building a national movement to confront police violence in communities of color.

For more information on the youth-led group Hands Up United, visit

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