Mayor Murray: We will come together to give voice to what we carry in our hearts

The nation awaits news from Ferguson. When the announcement comes, we will come together to give voice to what we carry in our hearts.

Michael Brown’s death and the unrest that followed speaks to the biggest challenge of our times — our ongoing national struggle against racism and discrimination.

President Obama said it best: “This is a country that allows everybody to express their views. But using any event as an excuse for violence is contrary to the rule of law and contrary to who we are.”

Here in Seattle, we have convened a series of conversations with faith and community leaders across the city. I’ve talked to African American leaders and pastors. Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole and Office for Civil Rights Director Patricia Lally continue to engage community groups and young people. Those conversations will continue in the days ahead.

And should people protest in the streets, our aim is to help them do so safely. Our police department did a great job last May Day. The most effective piece of public safety equipment they used were their bicycles. We are not a militarized police department.

To improve coordination across the city, we will stand up our Emergency Operations Center when we receive news from Ferguson. It’s the same thing we do for a major parade, a big game or a weather event. It helps us support public safety and maintain critical services.

I will be out in the community to join the national conversation and advance the cause of justice for all.