This is a statement from the National Youth Council of Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) on the grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson.
It has been three months since a police officer opened fire and shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri. In those three months, the nation has witnessed the outrage, grief, and resilience of communities across the country and the world standing in solidarity with Ferguson. Peaceful protesters who demanded justice in Ferguson were met with heavy police response, including rubber bullets, tear gas, and assault rifles, only adding to the boiling tension. Since then, our nation has held its breath waiting for the decision of the grand jury.
For young people in this country, today’s grand jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson sends a grave message. We live in a society where young people struggle every day against systems that push black youth and other youth of color out of school and into the punitive justice system of expulsion, police brutality, prison, and even death. These systems of oppression have ended countless lives, including the life of Michael Brown.
This verdict sends youth the message that our lives, bodies, and communities are expendable and that we are not worthy of basic compassion and justice.
As LGBTQ and allied youth leaders in the national GSA movement, we will continue to actively speak out and fight against the systems and the injustices that threaten our safety, education and ability to thrive. The modern LGBTQ movement was started by a group of queer and trans people, white people and people of color, who refused to allow police violence to control their lives any longer. We do not accept the message that youth of color don’t matter or don’t deserve the same justice, safety and empowerment as other young people. As a community, it is more crucial now than ever that we continue to stand against the many systems of oppression and violence that are held up by our society.
As LGBTQ and allied youth standing in solidarity with the people of Ferguson, we are calling GSAs across the nation to action. Demand justice for Mike Brown. If you are interested in supporting the Don’t Shoot Coalition by traveling to Missouri, please contact the Missouri GSA Network to see if that is needed. And no matter where you are, join students from the Missouri GSA Network by reaching out to local organizations, sharing the message that you see police violence and school pushout send to youth and asking your communities:
By: Sterling Waldman, Ruhi Bhalla, Foster Noone, Ka’Milla McMiller, Skylar Lee, Manuel Rodriguez, James DeCosta, and Zeam Porter
GSA Network National Youth Council
Gay-Straight Alliance Network (GSA Network) is a national youth leadership organization that empowers youth activists to fight homophobia and transphobia in schools by training student leaders and supporting student-led Gay-Straight Alliance clubs throughout the country. GSA Network operates the GSA Network of California and the National Association of GSA Networks, which unites 39 statewide networks of GSA clubs.