Following last night's grand jury decision not to indict Feguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson
in the August shooting death of Michael Brown, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu
issued the following statement:
"Today I pray for the Brown family and everyone in Ferguson. In the United States we remain divided. Divided by race. Divided by poverty. We live a block away from one another, but are often a world apart.
It is time for each of us, every American, to accept the fact that we must begin to acknowledge and discuss the most difficult issues we face. And we must agree to face them together.
American citizens have the right to protest, but I encourage peaceful protests in these difficult times."
The statement follows dozens of rallies across the U.S.
planned in the wake of the decision. Tonight, demonstrators plan to meet at 6 p.m. at Lafayette Square. This Sunday, Nov. 30, the New Orleans chapter of the Black Youth Project 100
hosts a "solidarity gathering addressing the impact of state sanctioned police violence in the black community from Ferguson to New Orleans." The gathering begins at noon at Lee Circle
. Attendees are asked to wear black and/or red.
The Urban League of Greater New Orleans
also issued a statement following the grand jury decision. In it, the organization said the decision has "brought to light many of the unfortunate blemishes — criminal justice disparities, volatile police-community relations, unemployment and economic inequities — that tarnish our great nation and that prevent us from being the best of whom we can be."
The organization also urges for the U.S. Department of Justice to determine whether any civil rights charges should be filed against Wilson. The statement continues, "The excessive use of force by law enforcement in our communities is unacceptable, and we know that we cannot prevent future similar tragedies unless and until there is systemic change across the nation in the area of police reform."
Today, students at Loyola and Xavier universities also participated in rallies on their campuses.