Photos: Tom and Nadin Abbott
Nov. 29, 2014 (San Diego) Mark Jones led the march to Horton Plaza to protest the grand jury Decision from Ferguson, Missouri. He is an honorably discharged United States Marine and chose to lead the march in his Dress Blues. The march started at the convention Center, with about 50 participants, but grew over the course of the march to about a 100.
When the march reached the mall, security told stores that these people, who were very loud, but peaceful, came to cause trouble and riot. It could not be further from the truth and Jones addressed that during his speech to both marchers and onlookers. He gave this speech after the group stopped at the bottom of the mall, after marching through all levels.
In the speech he said, “we are peaceful, to show you, to show everybody. Black, look at this crowd, brown, white, asian, standing together in solidarity.” He added, “I don’t care what you think about that indictment, civil rights is civil rights, period.”
He continued, “but there is an unjust system that discriminates against black and brown in this nation and until you are able to admit that, we will never be able to overcome our problems. It starts with you realizing, whether you want it or not, there is a problem.”
Jones also said that the people, who were marching, were not there because there is no problem. They were there because there is a problem. He also pointed out the mixed nature of the crowd, who were multi racial. “My injustice today, is your injustice tomorrow!”
Jones also was clear that people could go on with shopping like nothing happened. Then he, and the group, stood in silence for four and a half minutes, in memory of the four and a half hours that it took for the police to remove the body of Mike Brown from the streets in Ferguson.
The reaction from the crowd was to record and take photographs, but they also joined the protesters in four and a half minutes of silence.
After they left the mall they walked to Market and Fourth Street where they closed the intersection and again stood in silence for the same four and a half minutes of silence. The reaction from the crowd there was less respectful, with some in the crowd screaming that this man had no right to wear the uniform. They also said that these people were troublemakers. The police at one point had to form a skirmish line to keep those who were screaming away from the marchers.
Jones told the marchers not to respond or confront those who were doing this. He even said at one point that some of these people were angry that he was wearing his uniform.
Before the march Reporting San Diego talked with Catherine Mendonca, who told us that the objective was to reemphasize what Ferguson has done, “woken up America. They have set a precedent in waking up the local youth in their community and not let that voice die.”
They were to remind people that law enforcement has stolen lives. One of the objectives was education, insofar as what happens when people spend their money.
We also talked with Luis Lechuga, who linked what is happening in Ferguson to what is happening in Mexico, with the missing students at Ayotzinapa. He has very little trust that the Mexican government will be able to solve this either.
Youth are now linking events from around the world, and around the neighborhood to their own lives.
The reaction to the grand jury has not been limited to the streets. The National Bar Association issued a statement where they questioned the lack of indictment. In a press release they write: “National Bar Association President Pamela J. Meanes expresses her sincere disappointment with the outcome of the grand jury’s decision but has made it abundantly clear that the National Bar Association stands firm and will be calling on the U.S. Department of Justice to pursue federal charges against officer Darren Wilson. “We will not rest until Michael Brown and his family has justice”
They added in the same press release, “the death of Michael Brown was the last straw and the catalyst for addressing issues of inequality and racial bias in policing, the justice system, and violence against members of minority communities,”
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