Thursday, December 4, 2014

Eric Garner & Michael Brown: Forefront of a Social Movement

By Sara Niles

We are witnessing the beginning of a social movement with two names at the forefront: Michal Brown and Eric Garner. When a large group of people act as one to effect change, it is often marked by upheaval and conflict, such as was the case during the 1960's.

I remember the 1960's as a time of upheaval and protests, the outward expression of cries for change from multiple perspectives, from demanding equal rights for the races and genders, to an end to the Vietnam War. The simple truth was things were not okay as they were. The cultural climate and the political climate were at odds during that time, one was set to overthrow a set of rules and attitudes that prevented change, and the other was comfortable where they were. It is almost always those in power who are most comfortable with things as they are, and they seldom call for sweeping change.This pattern has been in place as long as there have been people on earth, which of course is the reason why change is often a turbulent process, that comes from deep within a nation, from the 'bottom up', just as we are witnessing in 'Ferguson'.

In the case of Ferguson, the shooting of unarmed young Micheal Brown was the last straw in a long string of events that led to the beginning of the 'movement' and  Eric Garner's unnecessary death at the hands of those who were sworn to serve and protect, was the call to pick up the momentum. The Grand Jury verdicts in each case signaled  the fact that something in the system was broken and in need of change, sparking a wave of protests that will not end soon.

Change is in the making.