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We’re collecting bandages – they’re collecting bullets

We’re collecting bandages – they’re collecting bullets

AN OPEN LETTER FROM FERGUSON, MO

Huddled together in the woods – coughing, and eyes burning – we were panicked. I was protesting in Fe

rguson on the afternoon of August 11, 2014, with my friend and Congresswoman – Senator Maria Chapelle Nadal – when the police launched teargas into our crowd gathered peacefully. They knew that we were trapped on a dead end street and that we had no way out – yet they teargassed us for 3 hours.

Our entire city is now trapped again as Gov. Jay Nixon is showing up ready for war, mobilizing the National Guard ahead of the grand jury decision about whether or not to charge Officer Darren Wilson for killing Mike Brown. In this moment, we need all of our brothers and sisters across the country to raise your voices with us, calling on Gov. Nixon to serve and protect us as he is sworn to.

Will you help us? Call Gov. Nixon today: Tell him that the world is watching his actions of militarized escalation in response to peaceful protesters. This is a reflection of his leadership and concern for people. Tell him that we expect him to exercise respect and restraint, protecting the safety of our clergy and youth activists as we exercise our first amendment rights.

Cornered in the woods and being teargassed, we repeatedly called out for help and no one came to us. Our fear was so great, Maria had an anxiety attack – all I could do was hold her until it stopped.

Now facing the imminent Grand Jury announcement, I am again afraid of the potential aggressive and violent police response as we gather in protest. But I have to show up because I can’t un-see Mike’s body lying in the street, baking on the hot pavement for four and a half hours, surrounded by more blood than I’ve ever seen before. We have to raise our voices together because our community has suffered too long from racist police and justice systems, and because we believe that anyone who kills an unarmed child of God should be tried.

In the past two weeks, we have trained 500 of our community members in non-violent direct action. We have spent thousands of hours developing teams and strategies that will amplify our voices loudly but peacefully. Yet as we have been collecting bandages, our Governor and police have been collecting bullets.

Will you stand with us today by calling Governor Nixon, telling him that as people of faith you demand respect and restraint for local youth activists and clergy? Tell him to de-escalate the militarized police response to our non-violent demonstrations. Tell him that you hold him responsible for all police actions towards peaceful protesters.

Call Governor Nixon using the script provided by PICO at:
http://salsa3.salsalabs.com/o/2115/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=15181

Thank you for standing with us in this time!

Rika Tyler
Youth leader and activist in Ferguson, Missouri
Partnering with the PICO National Network

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