*St. Louis/Washington – After a grand jury chose not to indict Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death last August of local resident Michael Brown, members of the Project 21 black leadership network are speaking out about the ruling, what it means for the black community and how protesters might redirect their energies to find some redemption from the loss.
“Now that we have a grand jury decision, may the process of healing begin in earnest,” said Project 21 member Stacy Washington, a St. Louis resident who hosts a local radio talk show. “I truly hope for a refocus of protest energy towards reflection and away from blaming the police for the difficulties facing black Americans today. We must begin to look at improving ourselves instead of blaming groups of others for endemic problems that plague the black community. May God grant the Brown family peace and closure.”
“The grand jury’s decision shows that facts do matter,” said Project 21 member Joe R. Hicks , a former executive director or the Greater Los Angeles chapter of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Los Angeles City Human Rights Commission. “From the inception — and despite the hyperbolic rhetoric from national black leaders, local protesters and political opportunists of all stripes — my position was that the facts and a thorough investigation would tell the story of what happened on that street between teenager Michael Brown and Officer Darren Wilson. Now that Officer Wilson’s actions have been deemed within the scope of a lawful police response to the dangerous actions of Mr. Brown, it’s now important to watch how the so-called black leadership responds. Will they irresponsibly reject the decision, along with the facts it revealed, and continue to claim that Brown was the murder victim of a racist white cop? To what extent will Ferguson protesters defy the orders of authorities for lawful behavior? We don’t need a replay of the violent, pathological riots we saw on the streets of that small suburb of St. Louis.”
“It amazes me that there are so many who dismissed the fact that Michael Brown robbed a convenience store and attacked a police officer prior to being killed,” said Project 21 member Michael Dozier, Ph.D “Once again, the black community largely turned a blind eye to the real issues affecting the very lives of our youths. Black-on-black crime is an epidemic and thousands of black children are brutally killed every year, yet we do not see the Al Sharptons or Jesse Jacksons protesting their deaths. The President doesn’t proclaim their lives would reflect the life of a son he never had. The black community needs to stop with the excuses and victimization and stop allowing antagonists to come into their communities to promote their own agendas.”
“Now that the grand jury has rendered a decision, people on both sides can now peacefully debate the result. The decision does not give anyone the right to engage in property destruction, physical assaults and general chaos if they don’t agree with that decision,” said Project 21 member Kevin Martin. “The grand jury looked at all the evidence, and it surely did its best to render a judgment respectful of all parties. It is long past the time for those who might seek to use violence to achieve an outcome to decamp from Ferguson and allow the community to heal.”
Since August, Project 21 previously issued six press releases and posted numerous news-related blog entries addressing the death of Michael Brown and related events. Project 21 members have already completed over 150 radio and television interviews on the death of Michael Brown and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri and been mentioned by Cal Thomas in his nationally-syndicated column. Several Project 21 members have visited the area in the wake of the initial rioting, and two members live in the immediate area and another is currently there to chronicle events as they unfold.
Additionally, Project 21 member were interviewed or cited by the media over 1,500 other times in 2014 – including TVOne, the Philadelphia Inquirer, Fox News Channel, Westwood One, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, SiriusXM satellite radio and the 50,000-watt radio stations WBZ-Boston, WHO-Des Moines, KDKA-Pittsburgh, KOA-Denver and WJR-Detroit – on issues that include civil rights, entitlement programs, the economy, race preferences, education and corporate social responsibility. Project 21 has participated in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding race preferences and voting rights, defended voter ID laws at the United Nations and provided regular commentary during the Trayvon Martin judicial proceedings in 2013. Its volunteer members come from all walks of life and are not salaried political professionals.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).
Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.