To: President Donald Trump and Governor Mike Parson

Stop the police abuse. Send the National Guard to Ferguson.

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Dispatch the National Guard to Ferguson to guarantee the constitutional rights of residents and visitors protesting the murder of Mike Brown at the hands of Ferguson Police.

Why is this important?

UPDATE: While the National Guard will not be involved, the Missouri State Police have taken over policing operations in Ferguson, while the FBI is providing technical assistance to Ferguson Police. St. Louis County Police have withdrawn from Ferguson on Gov. Jay Nixon's orders. Thanks to all for your support. Last night there was peace in Ferguson.

Over and over again during the Civil Rights Movement, presidents and governors mobilized the National Guard to protect the civil rights of citizens when local institutions refused to recognize them. In 1957, the National Guard escorted the Little Rock 9 to their first day at an integrated public school. In the 1960s, the National Guard helped integrate public universities in Mississippi and Alabama.

Today, it is evident that the National Guard is needed in Ferguson, Missouri, where a white police officer shot and killed Mike Brown, an unarmed black teenager who reportedly had his hands in the air.

Residents who protested Mike's death were met with police in riot gear and military vehicles. On Wednesday, police shot peaceful protesters with rubber bullets and attacked them with tear gas canisters, some of which exploded into nearby residents' yards — gassing sleeping families and children. They even used a torture device called a sonic cannon to try to disperse crowds.

Even journalists weren't safe from local police. Officers attacked and arrested Wesley Lowery (Washington Post) and Ryan Reilly (Huffington Post) on Wednesday afternoon simply for recording them -- slamming one into a soda machine and knocking another's head into a glass door. Then, more reporters were shot with rubber bullets and gassed along with protesters. It was a gut-wrenching, sickening scene.

I may live in St. Louis now, but Ferguson was once my home. My mom lived there for 10 years. And what I see happening to my former community at the hands of local law enforcement officers makes me sick, and it makes me angry. This isn't Afghanistan. It's not a war zone. But the police are treating United States citizens like enemy combatants, violating their civil rights at every turn.

We can't trust local police not to hurt folks in Ferguson for peacefully assembling to protest unjustifiable state violence. And so, like leaders 50 years ago did during the Civil Rights Movement, our leaders today must take bold, swift, and decisive action. Tell President Obama and Governor Jay Nixon to protect the citizens of Ferguson from the cruel excesses of local police by sending in the National Guard.