It's been a sad evening in Ferguson, but the sadness belongs, first and foremost, to the family of Michael Brown.
A grand jury announced Monday it has decided to officially clear 28-year-old Ferguson Police Department Officer Darren Wilson of any criminal and legal wrongdoing after he gunned down 18-year-old black teenager Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb in August.
Shortly after the decision was announced, the family of Michael Brown released this statement:
We are profoundly disappointed that the killer of our child will not face the consequences of his actions.
While we understand that many others share our pain, we ask that you channel your frustration in ways that will make a positive change. We need to work together to fix the system that allowed this to happen
Join us in our campaigns to ensure that every police officer working the streets in this country wears a body camera.
We respectfully ask that you please keep your protests peaceful. Answering violence with violence is not the appropriate reaction.
Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference.
"Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference." As local and national observers brace for for a turbulent reaction to the decision, the Brown family's words should resonate far and wide. It would be too easy for dissatisfied citizens of take to the streets and express their anger in violent and disruptive ways, but Brown's family wants to work towards a productive future, a future where the police wear body cameras and can be held accountable for their mistakes, a future where where no family will have to experience the pain and uncertainty they had to endure these past four months.
"Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference." Many are convinced that black lives simply don't matter in America. The Browns want to change that.
"Let's not just make noise, let's make a difference." This, amidst the pain and confusion and suffering and disappointment of the Ferguson grand jury's decision, should be the final takeaway of observers far and wide.
Ferguson will go down in history as a watershed moment for race relations in America. It's time for Americans to not just make noise, but make a difference.
Correction: Nov. 25, 2014
An earlier version of this article accidentally omitted the word "just" from the Brown family's statement.