Ferguson

OpenCalais Metadata: Latitude: 
38.7442
OpenCalais Metadata: Longitude: 
-90.3053
OpenCalais Metadata: ContainedByState: 
Missouri
Photo Credit: Michael Baez | Daily Texan Staff

Although there has been progress in American race relations over the past few decades, events such as those in Ferguson, Missouri, signify an ongoing adverse relationship between government policies and African-Americans today, according to Peniel E. Joseph, founding director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy and history professor at Tufts University.

In August, white police officer Darren Wilson shot 18-year-old African-American Michael Brown, who was unarmed. Brown’s death, and the fact that Wilson was not brought to trial, prompted months of protests and demonstrations that are still ongoing in Ferguson.

The Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs hosted Joseph’s lecture, “From Selma to Ferguson: Race and Public Policy in the Age of Obama,” on Thursday as part of an effort to hear new voices in the field of civil rights, according to Robert Hutchings, dean of the LBJ School of Public Affairs. 

Joseph said he thinks the gap between democratic rhetoric about race relations and the reality of minority experiences is detrimental to the American democratic process.

“People are talking about race because Ferguson is illustrative of all these inequalities that face us and that, in a lot of ways [and] in our popular imagination, we refuse to confront,” Joseph said. “We believe that we’ve earned this victory — whether we’re saying Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Obama — we’ve somehow gotten our way out of racism, which is why we’re so often ready to embrace post-racialism.”

Between 1980 and 2015, the population of U.S. federal, state and local prisons increased from 350,000 to 2.4 million, according to Joseph. By 2007, there were more African-Americans in prison, on parole and on probation than those who were enslaved in 1850, Joseph said.

“One of the major problems that we face in the last 50 years between Selma and Ferguson is this issue of not just criminal justice, but the criminal justice system’s connection to different democratic institutions in our society,” Joseph said. “When we think about this issue of mass incarceration, it is the civil rights issue of our time.”

Maureen Anway, public affairs graduate student, said she hopes to start a conversation about bridging policy and community activism.

“I think, so often, quantitative data, historically, has been used in a way that’s negative for communities of color, and so I’ve been trying to connect how I use the skills that I’m getting here and then apply them to issues I care about, and, a lot of times, there’s an activist component to that,” Anway said.

Policies and the language in which they are written have the potential to affect the way different communities are perceived, said Loyce Gayo, African and African American diaspora junior.

“We can’t talk about the recent attention that’s being exerted towards the death of all these black people without talking about how they’re being perceived — a young child being killed because they’re viewed as aggressive; they’re viewed as brutal,” Gayo said. “Now, we’re entering this new age of protest and this new age of awareness of race, and I’m trying to see where we’re about to go.”

Protestors shout at Times Square after it was announced that the New York City police officer involved in the death of Eric Garner is not being indicted, Wednesday, Dec. 3, 2014, in New York. A grand jury cleared the white New York City police officer Wednesday in the videotaped chokehold death of Garner, an unarmed black man, who had been stopped on suspicion of selling loose, untaxed cigarettes, a lawyer for the victim's family said. A video shot by an onlooker and widely viewed on the Internet showed the 43-year-old Garner telling a group of police officers to leave him alone as they tried to arrest him. The city medical examiner ruled Garner's death a homicide and found that a chokehold contributed to it. 

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

It used to be that this nation would get riled up over high-profile trials. The acquittal of individuals thought to be guilty in the court of public opinion stirred strong feelings. In the United States, the bar for conviction – that is, beyond a reasonable doubt – is rather high, making convictions, especially for some high-profile cases, difficult to attain. For all the griping and the moaning, most minds agreed that the legal system had run its course and worked.

Sadly, the same cannot be said today following two enormous miscarriages of justice in Ferguson, Mo., and Staten Island, N.Y. In Ferguson, as this paper has discussed considerably in the past, former Officer Darren Wilson killed 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was unarmed, by shooting him six times on Aug. 9. The witnesses’ accounts vary as to what exactly transpired ahead of the shooting, with some claiming there was a struggle between Brown and Wilson and others suggesting Brown was attempting to surrender. In Staten Island on July 17, Officer Daniel Pantaleo placed Eric Garner, another unarmed man, in a chokehold (banned by the New York Police Department’s policy), while attempting to take Garner into custody for allegedly selling untaxed cigarettes. This chokehold, paired with other officers pinning Garner to the ground and causing his chest to compress, led to Garner’s death, which is all on video. In both cases, the grand jury declined to indict the police officers for any crime, be it manslaughter or murder.

Unlike a conviction, indictments require relatively low burdens of proof. All an indictment means, in practice, is that the charge is not a frivolous one. And like so many other pernicious instances of our legal system failing, this dereliction of due process appears tied to race. The two police officers in question were white, and the two victims were black. Additionally, grand juries, which unlike petit juries are only comprised of willing applicants, are typically overwhelmingly old and white.

These decisions – or, we should say, indecisions – have set off discussions, debates and protests on campus and throughout the country about race relations and the role of law enforcement in the United States.

Mechanically speaking, there are some policy fixes that would help prevent tragedies such as these, as well as ensure justice is carried out when police brutality transpires. Democrats and Republicans, such as President Barack Obama and Dallas County District Attorney-elect Susan Hawk, have already announced their intention to appropriate money for ubiquitous body cameras for police officers, which would record interactions with the general public.

Studies have shown that the presence of these cameras reduce incidents where physical force is used, protecting both the officers and the community at the same time. However, sometimes – as in Garner’s case – a recording is just not enough. In those cases, we believe that structural changes are needed to the grand jury system in this country.

Here in Texas, the venal “key-man” system for picking grand juries, in which a judge picks one specific person to impanel the jury as opposed to selecting random names, needs to be abolished. State Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, has already introduced legislation to this effect, and we hope it gets its day in next year’s legislative session.

But the grand juries in Ferguson and Staten Island were not impaneled with the “key-man” system. Accordingly, we also believe that grand jurors should, like petit jurors, be summoned from the general populace instead of being volunteer-based. The terms for these grand juries would likely have to be shorter, but fairness in the system would increase remarkably.

There aren’t any silver bullets to solve racial animosity in this country. Fifty years on from the Civil Rights Act, we haven’t quite appeared as a country to move on from nasty prejudice.

UT alumna Maytè Salazar protests the Ferguson decision in front of the Texas State Capitol on Tuesday evening. Hundreds of protesters marched from the Austin Police Department headquarters to the Capitol building. 

 

Photo Credit: Marshall Tidrick | Daily Texan Staff

After the Nov. 24 decision by a grand jury not to indict Darren Wilson, the former Ferguson, Missouri, police officer who fatally shot Michael Brown, tensions ran high among the citizens of Ferguson as well as across the nation. The majority of protesters have no personal connection to the Browns but recognize a bigger issue at stake. While there are mixed opinions on whether Wilson was justified in his act, there is an undeniable trend of black males being killed by police. Those who have taken to the streets have the right idea in mind, but could potentially be more effective with different approaches.

The majority of protest coverage came from the neighborhoods of Ferguson, with a stream of images and video of burning buildings, looting and seemingly out-of-control crowds. An expected symptom of contemporary sensationalized news, many media outlets portrayed Brown supporters as criminals and animals, although the majority of the protests were peaceful. While the surface level showed violence, even a cursory examination reveals the fervor is an outlet for long-felt pain and suffering. This story is bigger than Brown. In the eyes of protesters, it’s the thousands of others like him — unarmed, with only their race as a trigger.

Although instances of arrest and police brutality occur against every racial and ethnic group, the percentage of African-American and Latino victims is disproportionately high in relation to their make-up of the population, especially in drug-related cases. There aren’t statistics proving the racial motivations or bias in these cases, but the racial correlation supported by the data is eerie. After months of protesting with only heavy military and police force as a response, these people wanted to be heard in any way possible. But instead of compassionately portraying the hurt that the protesters feel, the media painted them as monsters, wild and out of control rather than merely exasperated.

An unspoken yet ubiquitous societal mantra teaches that African Americans are not entirely human and therefore more dangerous, just another reason intentionally or unintentionally racist officers, in fear for their lives, will grab for the gun in lieu of using a slower, less lethal method. Violent revolt will only reinforce racial stereotypes and worsen the situation. Everyone has a right to be angry about the loss of human life, but it’s the reaction that defines individuals, and even an entire cause.

The variety of protests over the decision mirror those of the Civil Rights Movement a little over 60 years ago, with the peaceful petitioning aligning with Martin Luther King Jr.’s philosophy and the more radical opposition with Malcolm X’s. The two symbolize what can be seen as a nonviolent versus violent approach to change. Both men were great leaders in the movement, although King’s ideology was arguably more effective with its perseverance and refusal to give in to anger. We see the same stark differences today between the various protests in response to Ferguson and other similar incidents. And again, King’s methods will prove to be more effective in combating the racial prejudices that spark police violence against racial and ethnic minorities.

Austinites and UT students were perfect models of how to put King’s teachings into practice as they organized and stood in solidarity Tuesday evening. The chants of “Protect black life” and “Black lives matter” not only diffused the message of their marches to passersby, but demanded the attention of the Austin Police Department, which has its own record of using lethal force against black and Latino men. Writing letters to local and state officials, peacefully protesting and most of all exercising patience and perseverance are key to eroding the system of bias that perpetuates the continued loss of life. Racial prejudices weren’t formed overnight, so it can’t be expected that their extinction will be a swift process. Clearly, the peaceful widespread opposition is making a difference, as Wilson recently announced his resignation from the police department. Again, the most important motif in these events is solidarity to address the widespread issue of racism. The anger and hurt of one demographic alone cannot change the status quo. Every group needs to stand together to stop injustice and do so in a peaceful manner.

Griffin is a journalism freshman from Houston. Follow Griffin on Twitter @JazmynAlynn.

The original intent of the Ferguson to Palestine panel, covered by Kylie Fitzpatrick in a story that ran online Thursday under the headline “UT Palestine group discusses connections between Ferguson, Gaza,” was to facilitate a discussion on the shared experiences of institutionalized racism and militarized state violence. By connecting the recent events of Ferguson, Missouri, to what is occurring in Palestine and Gaza, the panelists and audience began a critical discussion on these pressing issues. However, the article covering the event a) failed to recognize black student voices, b) mislead readers in the title and c) failed to adhere to journalistic integrity and objectivity.

The voices of black students at this event were entirely excluded from the coverage or even noted as participating members of this discussion. The original article failed to note that the event was co-hosted by the Pre-Law National Black Law Student Association and Association of Black Psychologists. The article failed to include any means of representing black students in this discussion. This is ironic because a substantial proportion of the discussion related to how the media lacks coverage of (or misrepresents) the struggles of minority groups. Rather, the author made the choice to include a volunteered comment by an individual from the organization Texans for Israel who was not in attendance. 

I found the title, “UT Palestine group discusses connections between Ferguson, Gaza,” to be misleading. “UT Palestine group” suggests only pro-Palestine students organized this event. The title also suggests that the reader might learn more about what “connections between Ferguson and Gaza” were addressed in the discussion. Unfortunately, nowhere in the story does it explain the actual content discussed, which included the use of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles on civilian populations, how media coverage portrays minority struggles of racism and the respectability politics of minority groups that turns the victims into the responsible parties. 

As an unaffiliated participant in the event, I can say the author did not present a true representation of the event and its purpose. The author failed to adhere to journalistic objectivity by focusing more on the overlapping of the event with a religious holiday than on trying to convey the scope of the discussion that took place. She did this while largely ignoring the black student organizations that co-sponsored this event and the black students who participated in the discussion by not quoting them. 

As readers we must always question the integrity of the journalist, any journalist. It is the responsibility of the journalist to be objective and accurate when reporting on what takes place in the day-to-day. All consumers of any kind of media have to ask themselves how the facts are represented, what sources were used and whose voices are included or excluded. If the motto of UT is “What starts here changes the world,” then we need our journalists coming from UT to ensure that world is represented accurately. 

— Megan Maldonado, an international relations and global studies and sociology junior from Houston, in response to a Thursday news article that ran under the web headline “UT Palestine group discusses connections between Ferguson, Gaza.”

Article leaves out black voices

The original intent of the Ferguson to Palestine panel, covered by Kylie Fitzpatrick in a story that ran online Thursday under the headline “UT Palestine group discusses connections between Ferguson, Gaza,” was to facilitate a discussion on the shared experiences of institutionalized racism and militarized state violence. By connecting the recent events of Ferguson, Missouri, to what is occurring in Palestine and Gaza, the panelists and audience began a critical discussion on these pressing issues. However, the article covering the event a) failed to recognize black student voices, b) mislead readers in the title and c) failed to adhere to journalistic integrity and objectivity.

The voices of black students at this event were entirely excluded from the coverage or even noted as participating members of this discussion. The original article failed to note that the event was co-hosted by the Pre-Law National Black Law Student Association and Association of Black Psychologists. The article failed to include any means of representing black students in this discussion. This is ironic because a substantial proportion of the discussion related to how the media lacks coverage of (or misrepresents) the struggles of minority groups. Rather, the author made the choice to include a volunteered comment by an individual from the organization Texans for Israel who was not in attendance. 

I found the title, “UT Palestine group discusses connections between Ferguson, Gaza,” to be misleading. “UT Palestine group” suggests only pro-Palestine students organized this event. The title also suggests that the reader might learn more about what “connections between Ferguson and Gaza” were addressed in the discussion. Unfortunately, nowhere in the story does it explain the actual content discussed, which included the use of Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles on civilian populations, how media coverage portrays minority struggles of racism and the respectability politics of minority groups that turns the victims into the responsible parties. 

As an unaffiliated participant in the event, I can say the author did not present a true representation of the event and its purpose. The author failed to adhere to journalistic objectivity by focusing more on the overlapping of the event with a religious holiday than on trying to convey the scope of the discussion that took place. She did this while largely ignoring the black student organizations that co-sponsored this event and the black students who participated in the discussion by not quoting them. 

As readers we must always question the integrity of the journalist, any journalist. It is the responsibility of the journalist to be objective and accurate when reporting on what takes place in the day-to-day. All consumers of any kind of media have to ask themselves how the facts are represented, what sources were used and whose voices are included or excluded. If the motto of UT is “What starts here changes the world,” then we need our journalists coming from UT to ensure that world is represented accurately. 

— Megan Maldonado, an international relations and global studies and sociology junior from Houston, in response to a Thursday news article that ran under the web headline “UT Palestine group discusses connections between Ferguson, Gaza.”

 

Coverage of panel shows bias

After reading the article, I felt compelled to express my disappointment with this newspaper. Wednesday’s event was co-hosted by two black student groups and discussed struggles of African Americans, but Ms. Fitzpatrick failed to include comments from any black voices. She did, however, decide to include comments from Texans for Israel, who had no involvement in the event.

As a reader, it suggests to me that Ms. Fitzpatrick, the editorial staff and possibly even the entire organization, The Daily Texan, are heavily biased against the Palestinian human rights cause, the movements in Ferguson and speaking out about blacks’ struggle in America.

The whole lot of you ought to be ashamed of such an article and the message The Daily Texan has sent by approaching the article the way it has.

Black voices matter and, without question, should have been included in this article. The Daily Texan obviously disagrees.

— Moureen Kaki, a UTSA student, in response to the same article.

Professor Barbara Harlow and Professor Snehal Shingavi speak on the similarities between Ferguson, Missouri and Gaza, Palestine.

Photo Credit: Jenna VonHofe | Daily Texan Staff

The Palestine Solidarity Committee held a panel discussion on campus Wednesday, in which professors and students discussed the links between oppression in Ferguson, Missouri, and Gaza. 

During the event, which was co-sponsored by the Association of Black Psychologists and the Pre-Law National Black Law Students Association, assistant English professor Snehal Shingavi said the purpose of the event was to highlight the connections between the conflict in Gaza and Ferguson after police broke up protests over the shooting of African-American teen Michael Brown. 

“That would be the presence of massive militarized forces in dense urban settings and unarmed people fighting back with rocks and sticks against it,” Shingavi said. 

Elan Kogutt, co-president of Texans for Israel, criticized the event in an email as it was held at the start of Rosh Hashanah and said no members of Texans for Israel were in attendance. 

“Rosh Hashanah is a time for reflection and goal-setting for the coming year,” Kogutt said. “Rather than bringing our two communities closer to peace, this event serves as a regressive step away from dialogue and education, comparing two very distinct instances and failing to acknowledge the loss of innocent Israeli life and suffering of millions of Israelis under rocket fire this summer.”

Mohammed Nabulsi, first year law student and member of the committee, said his organization was not aware that Rosh Hashanah was that night and that the scheduling was not intentional. 

“We don’t plan our activities around holidays,” Nabulsi said. “As far as the Texans for Israel goes, the problem that the Palestine Solidarity Committee has with groups like this is that the ideology that they operate under is Zionism, and we can’t work with Zionism.”

Nabulsi said he thought the reason the struggles had been linked by both Palestinians and people of Ferguson is that they see a common humanity. 

“I think the most important thing said tonight is that the struggles for both Palestinian rights in Palestine and Israel and the struggle for rights of people of color in the U.S. are commonly linked by the fact that we are all human,” Nabulsi said. 

During the discussion, Shingavi said he was not arguing that the situations in Palestine and Ferguson were identical, but he wanted to discuss activism using the analytic tools of an academic context. 

“What I am going to be arguing is that if you are outraged by what the police did in Ferguson, you might want to get a closer look at what routinely happens in Palestine,” Shingavi said.

This article has been updated since its original publication.

A group of four students held a silent vigil at the Martin Luther King Jr. statue Wednesday afternoon to raise awareness of the events in Ferguson, Missouri, more than three weeks ago.

The students set up the vigil to depict the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American teenager who was killed by a white police officer on Aug. 9 in Ferguson. Ethnic studies senior Hakeem Adewumi lay at the base of the statue in imitation of a dead body, with bullet wounds depicted and fake blood coming out of his head, while three other students held signs with quotes by Malcolm X and Emmett Till, whose death helped mobilize the African-American civil rights movement in 1955.

African studies senior Jasmine Graham said students staged the vigil to raise awareness of the racial dynamics and police brutality that affect others, particularly people of color.

“We just wanted to bring general awareness to the UT community and to people who probably don’t have to face this reality every day,” Graham said.

Graham said she hoped the vigil would promote dialogue among students about racial issues and find a solution to the problem of excessive police violence.

“We want people to start a conversation because I feel like people are afraid to confront things like this,” Graham said. “If enough people are talking about it, something can actually be done.”

African studies senior Kwanisha West said the group came up with the idea after seeing a group of performance artists stage a similar protest at a park in Philadelphia.

“We saw a video online where a group in Philly did something similar, so we got most of our inspiration for this [vigil] from that,” West said.

The four students wrote the names of people who had been killed in events involving excessive police violence around the country with chalk on the sidewalk near the statue.

Graham said the names showed the widespread occurrence of racism in society today. 

“People might believe that we live in a post-racial society, which isn’t true,” Graham said. “It takes more than one person to overcome something that’s as systemic as profiling or racism in the police force.”

According to Graham, the vigil started around 9:45 a.m. Wednesday and ended around 11:30 a.m.

A protester is arrested while walking down the street on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday. On Aug. 9, a white police officer fatally shot Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year old, in the St. Louis suburb. (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton)

Photo Credit: The Associated Press

It has been a difficult month for the victims of state violence, as well as their families, friends, and those in solidarity. The month-long Israeli assault on Gaza involved a litany of war crimes, including the killing of trapped civilians, multiple bombings of hospitals, and the destruction of Gaza’s only power plant — all with critical U.S. support. And after the U.S. population reeled in shock from the NYPD murder of unarmed black man Eric Garner in broad daylight, Ferguson, Mo., was the site of another police murder — this time of unarmed, black 18-year-old Michael Brown, who, according to an eyewitness, was surrendering as he was shot six times. When people took to the streets of Ferguson in outrage, militarized police forces responded with armored vehicles, riot gear and riot weaponry, including rubber bullets and tear gas, which they used against not only the protesters but also reporters. Such instances of disproportionate force are unfortunately common, but there is at least one consistent pattern: When people resist subjugation, the state responds with violence.

Take Israel: It is a capitalist settler-state whose economy, in author Naomi Klein’s words, has “lost its economic incentive for peace and is heavily invested in fighting and profiting from an endless and unwinnable War on Terror.” So, the Israeli state depends on the subjugation and removal of Palestinians in order to continue economic expansion — this means the rejection of peace is built into its current existence.

In June, the two major factions of official Palestinian leadership, Hamas and Fatah, formed a unity government in the Palestinian Authority — this presented a major geostrategic problem for Israel. As public intellectual Noam Chomsky explains, a 20-year-long Israeli strategy has been “separating Gaza from the West Bank” in order to prevent the West Bank — which is geographically trapped between Israel and Jordan — from using Gaza as “an outlet to the outside world.” This strategy arose due to the 1993 Oslo Accords, which “declared that the West Bank and Gaza are a single territorial entity whose integrity must be preserved.” The Hamas-Fatah unity threatened to unite the Palestinians in Gaza and the West Bank as a single political entity — this could be a powerful force for peace, and so Israel responded with the opposite.

First, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared Fatah leader and Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas a terrorist for working with Hamas, which is the democratically elected governing organization of Gaza (but considered a terrorist group by the U.S. and Israel). Second, Israel stated that it would maneuver to prevent further Palestinian elections. And third, it cynically used the murder of three teenage Israeli settlers in the West Bank to unleash a new siege on Palestine — first came the arrests of hundreds of innocents in the West Bank and then the destruction of Gaza, which, in addition to the demolition of mosques, schools, hospitals, and vital infrastructure, has killed almost 2,000 Palestinians, disproportionately children and overwhelmingly civilians. As Amnesty International and other human rights groups have stated, this is collective punishment.

If Israeli capitalism relies on the total subjugation of Palestinians, then U.S. capitalism relies on something similar of black people and has done so since its beginnings under slave labor. The late historian Howard Zinn explains that the “United States government's support of slavery was based on an overpowering practicality,” which was that at their peak, Southern plantations were producing a million tons of cotton annually. And at this country’s founding, that capitalist practicality soundly rejected revolutionary spirit and led to the Constitution’s institutionalization of slavery. Thus, subjugated black labor was placed at the core of U.S. existence — the ending of one could end the other, and as Zinn explains, that meant fear of slave revolt was “a permanent fact of plantation life.” I will not get into the brutal horrors that were inflicted upon slaves in order to control them, particularly following revolts.

After the Civil War, racism continued not simply as a “legacy of slavery,” but because the capitalist economy still required obedient labor to function – as W. E. B. Du Bois put it, the “American Negro” had to be convinced that “his greatest enemy is not the employer who robs him, but his fellow white working-man.” Zinn explains that the American Federation of Labor and other dominant trade unions of the time only fought for limited workers’ rights and embraced the philosophy of “business unionism” – this involved mimicking hierarchical business practices, and thus “the Negro was excluded from most AFL unions.” Fundamentally, this practice perpetuated all the divisions of capitalist society — it was only the anti-capitalist unions, such as the Industrial Workers of the World, that sought to organize all workers, “undivided by sex, race, or skills.” In the midst of such radicalism, the worst sorts of violent coercion of black people were condoned or even actively carried out by the state. Lynchings, for example, typically involved publicly humiliating and murdering a black person, and regularly occurred without punishment in both the North and Jim Crow South – in fact, sociologist Arthur Raper estimates that 90 percent of lynchings were actively encouraged by police and that 50 percent had police participation.

When black students began sit-ins at segregated lunch counters in the 1960s, the norm of subjugation was again threatened. White racists heckled and violently beat them, but it was only the nonviolent students that were “hauled off to jail,” in “mass arrests that [filled] the jails to overflowing.” Malcolm X (and others in the Black Power movement) offered a solution to young black people, one that terrified the state: “You get freedom by letting your enemy know that you’ll do anything to get your freedom.” This is a total refusal to be subjugated, and it is the reason that the overwhelmingly white Ferguson police have gone to war against the majority black protesters. After the Missouri State Police took over from their Ferguson counterparts, there were naïve hopes that they would de-escalate the situation — these were quickly dashed, as they also began using tear gas and militarized crowd-control tactics.

However, the U.S. state apparatus and the people are on opposite sides of this issue. Across the country, vigils with hundreds of people have been held in solidarity with the protesters, including in Austin. Even more amazing has been the international solidarity between subjugated peoples — Palestinians have advised the Ferguson protesters on how to deal with tear gas, tweeted messages and images of solidarity, signed a statement in their support and a Ferguson protester even brought out a Palestinian flag. This empowerment is necessary, because the state will not back down, for the inherent reasons explained. As such, Israel has ended peace talks and launched missile strikes at the family home of a Hamas military commander, killing his wife and child, in retaliation for alleged (and unconfirmed) rockets launched into Israel from Gaza. In either case, Netanyahu has called for a “continued campaign” of strikes in Gaza, which already has a civilian-majority death toll. The St. Louis police have shot and killed yet another black man, 25-year-old Kajieme Powell, and a cellphone video shows that the official police account of the incident contains falsehoods. The state’s violence will continue and so must the struggles against oppression — those of us in Austin must show solidarity for both Palestine and Ferguson.

Rathi is a computer science honors junior from Austin.