Guest MINDSETTER™ Carolyn Thomas-Davis: As World Waits for Ferguson, What RI Can Do

Tuesday, November 18, 2014


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The world is watching, waiting to learn, the fate of Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson, M.O. police force. Wilson is the officer who shot and killed African American Mike Brown, a then seventeen year old, unarmed and surrendered (hands were up, depicting the universally recognized gesture of cessation of any hostile or dangerous action of the surrendering party) boy heading for college.

It has been months since the shooting and the nationally covered riots that spread its message, concern and frustration across the country. Today, however, we wait to learn whether or not Officer Darren Wilson will be indicted for the murder of Mike Brown. While we wait, we learn that the State of Missouri has declared a "state of emergency," positioning the National Guard in efforts to ensure "order and peace" surrounding the emotions that may be invoked, as a result of an indictment...or not. 

Rhode Island Waits 

Shared emotions surrounding the poor treatment, hostility, bullying, absence of respect and strong communicable efforts between law enforcement and impoverished communities, has established a feeling of "high alert" in South Providence. The fear that solidarity may cause disenfranchised people of Providence to RIOT!! 

So what now? Do we tell the community not to riot? Do we tell the youth (and many adults) that staging a public display of civil disobedience in the form of a political statement/ action is not ok? Do we say that your human emotions of anger, in response to inhumane treatment and behaviors are not valid? Well, depending on who you are as a choose your stance.

What To Do, What To Do

I am of the opinion that expression of dissatisfaction of any policy or act that does not produce fair, just and equal rights for any and all people should be protested! I believe one should feel a responsibility to mobilize for social action and encourage awareness and engagement among the community.

I will not, however, encourage unsophisticated behavior responses, as it has proven many times to be counter-productive, divisive and unsuccessful in the attainment of goals. It is OK to be angry, we are human. But we must be clear minded in our approach. Consider taking the energy that may drive you to explore the following as options:

* Work tirelessly to build a sustainable program in the community, as a community; utilizing the communities own sweat equity, intellectual property and resources (great or small). We know what we need and "What We Want."
* Effectively communicate throughout the community ensuring a streamlined messaging among youth and adults alike.
* Allow the energy and solidarity to foster cohesiveness and unity among the community, and let the unrest serve as the catalyst to the change you seek and desire!

Law Enforcement

Brothers and Sisters of Law Enforcement, while patrolling and carrying out your duties, please remember:

*Citizens have the right to assemble
*Citizens have the right of free speech
*Positioning yourselves within residential areas, hostile and defensive only evokes hostility and defensiveness from the residents
*Please do not refrain from the show of Empathy

We are all hurt, concerned and confused. But we can change our condition provided we work together!! 

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Thomas-Davis on healthy considerations during unrest.

Providence resident Thomas-Davis, M.B.A is a not-for profit accountant and Founder of OneVoiceRI, a community mobilization organization.  She is also mother to Davon, Krystina and Jacob.  


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