Black lives matter

Manchester Ferguson protest

Thanks to Anna who pointed me at the protest/march in Manchester for all the black people who have died in Ferguson, from police brutality over the years. It comes right after I wrote #Ferguson" href="http://cubicgarden.com/2014/11/28/whats-been-troubling-recently-ferguson/">my own blog post about Ferguson following the guys on singleblackmale.

Its been 20 years since I took part in a protest, I decided after the crazy stuff which happened  during the Criminal Justice Bill protests. I was done, especially watching how the whole thing got co-opt by others for their own reasons

It was amazing, the organiser put it on Facebook as a open event and within 2 days, 300+ people had signed up. Its a true testament of what can be achieved with emergence and what a great reason to bring people together.

Manchester Ferguson protest

I got to St Peters Square where the protest/march started about 12:10. There were about 80-100 people hanging around. White Tshirts with victims names on them and signs with a number of different phrases on them. A few really great chosen speakers spoke and then we were off. We marched around Albert Square (where the Christmas Markets are, I think originally we were going to march through them but as I suggested security made it clear they don’t want us) down Princess street up Portland Street along China town and on to Piccadilly Gardens.

Manchester Ferguson protest

Once at Piccadilly Gardens, the microphone was thrown open to anybody who wanted to talk about Ferguson. It started well with a number of speakers including myself. However once again other organisations used the opportunity to co-opt the event to their own ends. It was shocking and at some points! It was shameful as the best intentions were rocked. Theres a rant on the facebook event thread which is full of fire but there are bits I do agree with…

…It really hurt to see the organisers visibly upset by the end. This is what happens when a group of concerned individuals take the initiative to organise a purely grass roots event unaffiliated to any groups, only for groups and parties to greedily swoop down on it and ruthlessly exploit it like vultures. Shame on you! This event was about Mike Brown and every other black victim of police violence, past present and future. NOT about your group…

 

 

Manchester Ferguson protest

Shame indeed, there was quite a few times when I thought about just going home, heck I had somewhere else (Sunday dinner at Jasmine’s) I needed to be. But this was important and I wanted to hear it through.

I did bump into a old friend and we got talking about what had happened and what we should take from it. I mentioned Ambient Belonging which recently came back up from a wired piece about a possible reason why women are not taking up roles in computer science. Ambient belonging I have never mentioned before on my blog although I heard it first in the video I linked to.

Manchester Ferguson protest

On the slight run back to the flat, I got thinking about Umair Haque’s Whats it means to change the world rant and how critical it is to have diversity in tech sector.  Ayesha Mittal and Naomi Nao Mi were able to organise using widely available services but could there be a startup which would make it even easier and better at prolonging the relationship beyond the one event? Or a better question who is working on systems and use-cases for them? I bet you Google, Facebook and the rest of the stacks certainly are not.

Manchester Ferguson protest

So I am glad I went out, even while I wasn’t really 100%. There was no police involvement, no trouble makers, no big opposition from Manchester’s Sunday shoppers. It was however, upsetting to see things co-opted as the young people just wanted to express themselves, their thoughts on whats going on and pay tribute in their own way…  The Ego of the organisations which tried to take over, was shocking and I’m glad they got the cold shoulder for their lack of respect in something more of a remembrance than protest. For example the socialist worker setup a stand at St Peters even when told to go away.

Ferguson has America corruption all over it and something we all need to tackle black, white, green… but today wasn’t about that… It was remembrance of the many who have lost their lives for their skin colour and the voices of the next generation. Why would you ever want to silence them?

What’s been troubling recently, #Ferguson

Ferguson Protest in Palo Alto: Stanford Students Shut It Down

Everytime I hear about Ferguson, I grow that little more angry. There are literary no words I can say which sum up the feeling of unease,  worry, fear and anger. While most of the people around me carry on their lives not really thinking about the massive injustice which is happening again over the ocean, I wonder about the progress we have and have not made. I wonder about the corruption and how we are going to tackle that? Boycotting Black Friday is a start I guess.

I wasn’t going to write anything because I couldn’t really put it down (The closes thing I could compare it it to was the killing of Stephen Lawrence, something which keeps on giving) and there is so much better people to hear from.

But then after watching the guys behind singleblackmale.org talking over email, I needed to break the silence on my part and join the rest of the people in solidarity… As Dr J writes…

None of the bloggers on this blog have been immune to interactions with police officers. Most, if not all of us have encountered white police officers in our travels. What troubles me about this issue is that I’d like to think that our police officers are here to keep us safe. What we know now is that isn’t always the case and it’s not an exaggeration to say we feel like feeling safe is a minority opinion for Black men in this country…

…People always ask me how I’m doing and my response is the same, “Given my circumstance, the best that I could be.” That holds true today. Now brothers and sisters in the fight; Black, white or indifferent please channel your efforts positively or at least effectively…

Ferguson protest in downtown St. Louis

Celeste Little’s email caused me to breakdown for a bit while reading it on my phone.

…All I could think about, as I was walking along 7th avenue with the 1600 other people who were hurt and appalled by the decision, was my grandmother.

She was born in Mississippi into a family of sharecroppers and when she witnessed President Obama’s 2004 win, she was thrilled, to say the least. She died several years later, and as she was passing all she talked about was how she was happy all of her children and grandchildren were well taken care of.

That’s what all of our ancestors have prayed and wished and died for– that we would be better taken care of. And it is absolutely suffocating to think that, after all this time, we might not be.

Ferguson-10

So I wrote this…

I wanted to share a little perspective from outside the America.

I was really shocked and appalled to hear what happened, I didn’t know what to think really and what can a foreigner bring to the table what you guys don’t already know?
Nothing much, but there has been a whole discussion about police with cameras and using technology to aid solutions in the British media.

Every time I hear this my hand gets a little tense, as using technology to aid or solve human problems is not a good idea.

Its far too easy to turn off cameras and get around systems which are only there to keep those who play by the rules.

You only have to look at piracy to understand this.

Ferguson protest in downtown St. Louis

Talking of rules, what makes things worst is the rules don’t seem to apply to the police in the states.
You don’t think a police officer which has no problem gunning down innocent black men, wouldn’t break the camera lens, remove the power or find another way?

Technology can help but only when people are willing to be helped. Its like an addict, you have to admit you need help before you can be helped.
The police are clearly not willing, the courts are clearly not willing and the system just backs them up.
Lawrence Lessig a Stanford lawyer turned his head to understanding the endemic corruption and although not directly applicable is worth thinking about when talking about what’s wrong.
I’m not saying the UK is any better but the system out there is so corrupt and so broken, something has got to give…

Keep on fighting the good fight people and never give up.

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