“Strobe-light lynching” and “Taxation by citation”: At an all day meeting in Ferguson sponsored by the Congressional Black Caucus Institute on strategic messaging and civic activism, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver laid out why people in Ferguson need to vote on Tuesday. He also described what’s happening in Ferguson as “strobe-light lynching” and “taxation by citation.” Many young activists in Ferguson believe that voting is a waste of time but have yet to reveal what their strategy for changing the problems in Ferguson is.
Last month, Rep. Cleaver introduced legislation that would make it a federal crime for police and municipalities to use law enforcement personnel to carry out their activities for the specific goal of raising money. A report by the Department of Justice revealed that officials in Ferguson were doing just that as verified in e-mails to each other.
Spring elections on April 7th will be the first time the community has gone to the polls since the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown on August 9th 2014. Brown’s death was followed by a series of protests around the country and a focus on police brutality.
Rep. Cleaver, who represents St. Louis, was joined by Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO) who represents Ferguson, and Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) yesterday to canvass the towns of Ferguson, Jennings and Dellwood. As reported by St. Louis Public Radio, Cleaver told the audience on Saturday:
“If we are successful on Tuesday, then what it will do is create in many of the people the we-can-do attitude … You can change who the mayor is, you can decide who the police chief is or who the city manager is, and you can decide on the culture you want in the police department. When people see that, they’ll never go back to the old days. So that’s why Tuesday’s important, because the future depends on the strength the African American community demonstrates at the polls on Tuesday.”