Talib Kweli & Activist Rosa Clemente Discuss The Protests In Ferguson w/ Democracy Now
Talib Kweli and activist Rosa Clemente shed light on the injustices occurring in Ferguson, Missouri in a discussion with producer Aaron Maté for Democracy Now. The interview follows a confrontation with police at the top of this week that found thousands of protestors including Kweli, Clemente and poet Jessica Care Moore on the ground with guns pointed at their faces. Kweli and Clemente describe the circumstances of their encounter with police as well as other details of their experiences on the ground in Ferguson since the killing of unarmed teen St. Louis teen Michael Brown initially prompted them to travel to Missouri to support the community in their time of need. Kweli’s visit is punctuated by a recent blog post in which he describes the ongoing protests as “one of the most important human rights struggles of our time.”
Those standing up against police brutality and state repression in Ferguson, Missouri are leading one of the most important human right struggles of our time.
In the context of the history of Sundown Towns in that region, which legislated that people of color had to leave white towns by sundown, the imposition of a curfew and deployment of the National Guard by the governor represents a racist suppression of the right to self-defense and a gross violation of the freedom of assembly. Its message is clear: the people most likely to rebel against injustice have to be controlled, their right to protest quashed, and the absolute power of the police state restored.
The militarized repression on display in Ferguson is a reflection of a world in crisis. Although separated by thousands of miles, the plight of the people of Ferguson and the Gaza Strip share too much in common for people of conscience to ignore. Michael Brown, an African American youth, could just have easily been a Palestinian youth mercilessly shot by an Israeli soldier.
Democracy Now released the interview today with a description of the latest developments in Ferguson, Missouri and the circumstances of their discussion with Kweli and Clemente – both impassioned and emotional as they recount the harrowing confrontation with police from inside of Ferguson’s Greater St. Mark Family Church, where citizens have reportedly been taking refuge from the effects of tear gas.
Kweli traveled to Ferguson with Rosa Clemente, a longtime activist, journalist, scholar, and former director of the Hip-Hop Caucus. In 2008, Clemente made history as part of the first all-women-of-color presidential ticket in U.S. history, running as the Green Party’s vice presidential nominee, along with former Democratic Rep. Cynthia McKinney, who ran for president. Kweli and Clemente joined the protests in Ferguson just before a massive march planned for Saturday in their hometown of New York City. Thousands are expected to rally on Staten Island for justice in the case of Eric Garner, the African-American man who died in a police chokehold last month.
Democracy Now! producer Aaron Maté caught up with Kweli and Clemente this week at Ferguson’s Greater St. Mark Family Church. The church has been used as a meeting point and as a safe haven for protesters hit by tear gas.
Listen to the full interview with Talib Kweli and Rosa Clemente below. Get up to date information on the ongoing protests in Ferguson, Missouri and watch footage of the full interview via Democracy Now!