“We Are Still Being Lynched”: Ferguson Activists, Business Owners And Residents Speak On Grand Jury Decision, Chaos That Followed
Natalie Dubose woke up this morning to shattered glass at her business, Natalie’s Cakes and More, which sits in the main business district of Ferguson, Missouri.
If you’ll recall from a previous post we did on her and other women in Ferguson, Cakes and More had only been in business for two months when 17-year-old Mike Brown was shot multiple times and killed by Officer Darren Wilson. Her business, located about a block and a half down the road from the Ferguson police department, was spared from the looting and destruction of initial protests, which happened to some of the other businesses in the area. At that time, she was more worried about the perception of looting and violence than the actuality of it.
This time around, however, she was not so lucky.
After last night’s indictment decision, even with the storefront boarded up, most of her windows were broken. And the front of her store, where she sells pre-packaged cake slices and candies, was ransacked. But it could have been a lot worse. And thankfully, the kitchen where she does most of her baking was untouched.
The good news is that after she finishes cleaning up, she can get right back to work placing and fulfilling orders. The bad news is, she still has to deal with the damage that has been done to her store, and she’s not happy about it.
“I’m not okay. This is my only form of income for my child and myself,” she says. “And I’m still trying to survive as a new business and yet feel totally in the middle of everything. It just doesn’t feel good right now.”
She is not the only one disappointed this morning after the grand jury decided against charging Wilson in the killing of Brown. Youth activist and rap artist T-Dubb-O, who has been peacefully protesting on the ground in Ferguson since August 9, and who we’ve spoken to before, had this to say:
“This decision reflects the minds of the powers at be that young Black lives have no worth in this country. It’s official that it’s legal for law enforcement to murder us at will without accountability and our elected officials will continue to stand by idol as we are still being lynched.”
Rachelle Abrams, owner of Top Knotch Hair Salon along West Florissant, said that her business made out well and that everyone is safe. In our previous post, Abrams spoke about the effects the changing demographic was having on both her business and racial tension in North County. While her salon survived last night’s unrest, she says that business has not improved much, although her regulars remain consistent.
In terms of how she feels about the decision by the grand jury, Abrams isn’t surprised, but very angry:
“I am not surprised at all based on all of the preparation for the decision. Plus, unfortunately, our prosecuting attorney is arrogant and disconnected from his constituents. He stated in an interview earlier this month, the people must be pleased with the way he was doing his job. That’s some straight bullsh*t!”
President Obama also released a statement last night, which reminded people, once again, that “we are a nation of laws…”
There are several national calls for peaceful action going on, including #BoycottBlackFriday, which is asking people to starve the beast and instead spend money with black businesses. Also, a Tumblr called Ferguson National Response Network, has a pretty extensive list of the planned protests underway and happening in the wake of the decision to not charge Darren Wilson.