St. Louis, MO, November 25, 2014 … In response to the grand jury decision not to issue an indictment against the white police officer who shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American in Ferguson, Missouri, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said it respected the grand jury’s integrity and called the tragedy a wake-up call, “reminding us that the problems we face as a nation transcend Ferguson.”
Karen J. Aroesty, ADL St. Louis Regional Director, and Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director issued the following statement:
The events in Ferguson, Missouri should prompt all of us to do some very serious soul-searching.
We start from the premise that America is a nation governed by the rule of law. We were not in the grand jury room, we did not see the evidence, but we respect the grand jury’s integrity and their commitment to meeting the heavy responsibility thrust upon them. Friends of the Brown family, members of his community, and people across the nation may disagree with the outcome, and that is their right. But disagreement is never an excuse for violence.
At the same time, this tragedy should be a wake-up call reminding us that the problems we face as a nation transcend Ferguson. Fifty years after the passage of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, our society is still not free from bias, racial prejudice, and discrimination. African-Americans are still the most frequent targets of hate crimes in America, black students are suspended or expelled from our public schools at a much higher rate than white students, and there are many other examples that show the continuing racial divide.
Michael Brown’s father has said that he does not want his son’s death to have been in vain. Rather, he wants it to lead to positive change, “change that makes the St. Louis region better for everyone.” We commend him for that, and hope that we can all come away from this tragedy with an understanding that will help not only St. Louis, but our whole nation. This is an appropriate moment to look at ourselves honestly, to confront the prejudice and bigotry that tarnish our society, and to commit ourselves to ensuring that we have a justice system that all Americans can trust.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.