By now, it’s probably unnecessary for me to explain who Robert P. McCulloch is, but I will do it anyways. McCulloch is the Prosecuting Attorney for St. Louis County. It was McCulloch’s job to bring an indictment against Officer Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot unarmed teenager Michael Brown earlier this year; and, if an indictment was passed down by the grand jury, it was McCulloch’s job to prosecute Wilson. It was Robert P. McCulloch’s job to advocate for Michael Brown, and to seek justice in his death.
It’s also unnecessary for me to explain how Robert P. McCulloch utterly failed in this task. It’s unnecessary for me to discuss how McCulloch sabotaged the grand jury proceedings; how he never met with the Brown family; how he sought to confuse the jury with an excess of data and a lack of narrative; how, in the end, he was simply disinterested in building a legitimate criminal case against Wilson. It’s unnecessary for me to talk about what Arthur Chu describes as his confoundingly “tone deaf” announcement of the grand jury’s findings Monday night, where he blamed protesters, mainstream media, social media, and Michael Brown, hismself — everyone but Darren Wilson — in Brown’s death and its aftermath. It’s unnecessary for me to point out that while McCulloch’s office was ostensibly building a case against Wilson, his organization “BackStoppers” helped raise nearly half a million dollars to benefit Wilson’s legal fund.
Put more plainly, it’s completely unnecessary for me to tell you that Robert P. McCulloch is a man who has no business continuing to draw a $160,000 per year paycheck as St. Louis County’s prosecuting attorney.
This post will explain how we can change that, in three easy steps.
Yesterday, President Obama post-humously awarded James Chaney the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award in this country. Chaney, along with Cornell students Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner, was a freedom rider travelling through rural Mississippi to register Black voters when he was lynched and killed. He was 21.
Fifty years after his death and just hours after his memory was honoured, we received the heart-breaking (but entirely expected) verdict: there would be no justice for yet another Black man killed far too young. The justice system has failed Black America, yet again.
Last night, President Obama addressed the nation, urging us to recognize the country’s “enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades.” The president is right — much has changed since the summer of 1964.
Yet, much has not.
Three hours ago, exactly, Ferguson district attorney Bob McCulloch stood before the nation and reminded us how little Black lives truly matter. Over the course of twenty minutes, McCulloch presented in excruciating detail his version of the events that occurred on August 9th of this year. McCulloch prosecuted Mike Brown’s guilt with a meticulous fervor that stood in stark contrast with his disdainful disinterest in finding fault with Officer Darren Wilson’s actions that day.
There was never — could never have been — an advocate for Michael Brown in the grand jury proceedings. This was a grand jury that was 75% White, asked to see the humanity of a Black teenager. This was a prosecutor who, despite his job being to speak on behalf of the victim, clearly perceived the victim in this situation to be Officer Darren Wilson, and not the teenager whom Wilson may have illegally killed.
Mike Brown was not even given the dignity of a trial, where someone might have presented the argument that the taking of his life might have been unjust.
President Obama is scheduled to honour 19 individuals today with receipt of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest award available to civilians. Among this year’s recipients is Patsy Mink, the former representative from Hawaii who died in office in 2002, and was nonetheless so beloved by her constituency that she was re-elected by a wide margin.
Mink is an incredible Asian American icon, most notable for co-authoring Title IX, the landmark legislation that integrated college campuses and athletics for women. Mink is also notable for being the first Asian American woman elected to Congress, as well as the first Asian American to seek a presidential nomination when she ran in the Democratic primary in Oregon in 1972. Mink’s life story is told in the documentary Ahead of the Majority.
Last week, nearly 300 dim sum workers won a landmark $4 million dollar settlement from major San Francisco-area restaurant chain, Yank Sing. The workers, who did not have the benefits of a union, were forced to endure multiple labour violations, including retaliatory action and wage theft.
With help from the Asian Americans Advancing Justice | Asian Law Caucus and Chinese Progressive Association, the workers organized a “do-it-yourself” collective bargaining action, including strikes and walkout during high volume business hours. The action worked: in response to the collective action, Yank Sing came to the bargaining table and agreed to the massive settlement, along with agreeing to offer workers a raise, holiday pay and more transparency in scheduling and worker rights. Yank Sing also agreed to offer full healthcare coverage for their workers, a benefit currently made available by only 10% of restaurants nationwide.