Practical Ways to Help Ferguson

Practical Ways to Help Ferguson

It has been a little over a week since 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by officer Darren Wilson and there has been no rest for the weary in Ferguson. With militarized police presence, protesters, reporters, and an ever-looming sense of hostility and violence many, particularly those who don’t live in or near Ferguson, are wondering, “What can I do from where I am?” Below are some of the ways that people can help Mike Brown’s family, the people of Ferguson, and the black community in general.

1. Donate money to Michael Brown’s family.

The Brown family attorney started a GoFundMe campaign to raise money for funeral and burial costs as well as travel and living expenses for the family as they seek justice for their son. Michael Brown Memorial Fund.

2. Purchase supplies for protesters on the ground.

Protesters in Ferguson are initiating clean-ups and are in need of supplies. A group of Spelman college women came together and created an Amazon.com wish list where people can purchase necessities for protesters and organizers such as toiletries and snacks. So far $11,995.90 worth of supplies have been delivered to Ferguson.

3. Attend marches, vigils, and rallys in your city

This past weekend alone 119 vigils were organized across the nation and there are plans for more within the next few days. These marches, vigils, and rallies are a show of solidarity across the miles and they are seeds planted toward change.

4. Sign the petitions for the “Michael Brown Law” and for federal law changes

There is a petition circulating calling for police to be required to wear cameras body cameras (at the time of publishing the city of Ferguson has pledged to outfit police officers with vest camera) as well as a petition to enact federal laws that will protect citizens from police violences and misconduct.

5. Help Churches that Are Helping in Ferguson

Churches in Ferguson are pitching in to help with clean-up efforts, providing lunches and activities for youth while public schools are closed, and providing crisis counseling to families in the area. Click here for a list of some of the churches in Ferguson that you can help.

6. Join and support movements that have vested interest in civic engagement 

Indeed hashtags and tweets have spread awareness and helped people to mobilize in Ferguson but what is also needed is a long-term commitment to to civic engagement and seeking justice. Organizations such as Black and Brown People Vote are focusing on early engagement with minority voting populations in order to get 1,000,000 to the polls this November. They are doing so through education on policies that directly affect persons of color, engagement with other civic and social organizations to arm them with resources for their constituents, and generally empowering black and brown persons to realize their ability to effect change.

If you aware of other ways that people can help Ferguson or get active in the long-term fight for justice for young black men please let us know in the comments below.

Mo’ne Davis Pitching Inspiration

Mo’ne Davis Pitching Inspiration

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Mo’ne Davis (Photo Credit: People Magazine)

Mo’ne Davis has reached national prominence on the baseball field this summer. While most boys pitch in the high 50s or low 60s, she throws at 70 mph. Her skills have helped her team, the Philadelphia Taney Dragons, go undefeated thus far in the World Series in Williamsport, PA. Although she is currently recognized as the best in the little league, Davis says she doesn’t really like when the media places all of its attention on her. “I wouldn’t have made it this far without my teammates,” she says. According to WSJ, when asked post-game by ESPN how she handles excessive media fascination, she said, “I can always say no.”

As one of two girls in the World Series this year, Davis dominates the score boards. On Friday night, she became the first female pitcher to throw a shutout (the act by which a single pitcher pitches a complete game and does not allow the opposing team to score a run) in the Little League post season, and struck out 8 batters on Sunday. Her stepfather says, “She was pitching one day and someone hit a home run off of her, so she felt she needed to work on it more. And from there, it got to this point.” (NPR)

ESPN interviewed parents about how they view girls in baseball and most parents found it empowering for girls to be seen as just as good as boys on the playing field. One skeptical father of a middle school girl said that girls can get hurt by playing with boys. Yolanda Washington, two seats down from him, disagreed and said if her daughter “had the skills,” she would support her in baseball. “I’m excited that as an African-American girl, (my daughter) sees another African-American girl doing something so unique and positive.

If Davis continues down this path, she could definitely wind up in the actual World Series, having been compared to Philadelphia Phillies Jonathan Papelbon and Atlanta’s Ervin Santana. However, Davis plays other sports and has dreams of playing point guard at the University of Connecticut and of making it to the WNBA.

Regardless of the opinions of parents, and whatever she decides to play in the future, it is evident that Mo’ne is a role model for her generation and other little girls that might want to pursue a career in a sport that is normally considered a “male” sport.

An 11-year-old gymnast and Phillies fan who traveled from New Jersey to Philadelphia with her father to watch Davis play says she doesn’t seem stuck up, but just a girl with great confidence. “Mo’ne would be my role model if I was on a baseball team. She would be my role model even in general.” (ESPNW)