Today marks the 19th annual National Day of Protest To Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. It also marks the 74th day since Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson Police Department officer Darren Wilson. It has been 74 days since Leslie McSpadden hugged her son.
When unarmed Brown was shot down on August 9, I, like many Black people across the country, cried out in horror and rage. Only a few days before, unarmed Eric Garner was killed by NYPD officers. And Ted Wafer was found guilty of murdering unarmed Renisha McBride in Michigan. The lives of those of us who are poor and Black show us the fissures in America’s promise. In the land of the free, too many of us do not enjoy the freedoms promised.
First a whisper, and then a shout: Black lives matter.
A few weeks after Michael Brown’s death, as the media and the National Guard were leaving Ferguson, I arrived in St. Louis to work with local community members who yearn to end the troubling practice of extrajudicial killings. I also joined nearly 600 Black people from across the country for a Black Lives Matter Freedom Ride to Ferguson.