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Michael Brown

Memorials, Protests On The 6th Anniversary Of Michael Brown’s Death

People gathered in a Ferguson street Sunday to mark the sixth anniversary of the shooting death of local teenager Michael Brown by a police officer — an event that not only resonated throughout the community but came to ignite a national movement and conversation around racial inequalities and injustice. Sunday’s memorial service — held in front of an apartment complex on a painted and flower-strewn patch of pavement on Canfield Drive, where the 18-year-old died — featured speeches from local leaders, as well as Brown’s friends and family members. It was made clear that, even as the years pass, plenty of heartache remains. “Today, it’s just still hard,” said Michael Brown Sr., reflecting on his son’s death and its aftermath. “Over the years, going through and coming to this site, I was very angry.”

Message From The Ferguson Grassroots, 5 Years After Michael Brown’s Death

We were facing an occupation right from the start. We formed our own community units to make sure that folks were eating, safe on the ground and getting what they needed. By September, we were getting word that people from all over [the country] wanted to support the work we were doing. So, our core group of four people agreed that we needed to organize something more cohesive and that it needed to be centered on local people. Someone suggested naming our group “Millennial Activists United.”

Black Progressive Pulls Off Upset Against Prosecutor Who Declined To Charge Cop For Killing Michael Brown

Ferguson city council member Wesley Bell defeated 27-year incumbent Bob McCulloch in the Democratic primary for St. Louis County's prosecutor. Both candidates are notably the children of police officers. McCulloch gained infamy for his refusal to prosecute the officer who fatally shot unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown in 2014. The shooting inspired the national Black Lives Matter movement, now a powerful force in progressive politics. The incumbent prosecutor has never prosecuted a cop for killing an unarmed civilian in his seven-term history. Bell, who carried 57 percent of the primary vote according to the unofficial result, is now the presumptive winner of the general election because no Republicans are running for the seat.

‘Whose Streets?’ Tracks Inspirational Call For Social Justice

By Jordan Riefe for Truth Dig - On Aug. 9 three years ago, unarmed teen Michael Brown was shot dead by Officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Mo. The killing took place under disputed circumstances, and Wilson was never charged for the shooting. In the days that followed, peaceful demonstrators were met by a military show of force that escalated into violence, mayhem and looting. “A riot is the language of the unheard” is Martin Luther King Jr.’s answer to those who ask why the disaffected don’t pursue justice through established channels. “Ain’t no Constitution in Ferguson,” says a protester in the gritty new documentary “Whose Streets?” as he ponders Barack Obama’s days as a constitutional law professor. “Tell that n—– he needs to teach a new class and bring his ass to Ferguson, Missouri, and tell us why there ain’t no Constitution.” While a wide majority of protests in the wake of Brown’s killing were peaceful, the media focused on looting and destruction of property. In the eyes of the public, the images shown on TV rationalized the militarization of police forces, newly fortified after the Department of Defense 2013 decision to provide surplus MRAPs (mine-resistant ambush protected military vehicles), bayonets, grenade launchers, assault rifles and other tactical weapons to local law enforcement.

On The 3-Year Anniversary Of Michael Brown’s Death, How Far Have We Come?

By Benjamin L. Crump for The Huffington Post - Three years later, on the anniversary of Michael Brown’s inexcusable death at the hands of police in Ferguson, Missouri, it is challenging to contemplate the United States of 2017. So much has changed since that terrible day, yet so much has remained the same. Michael Brown’s death sparked genuine conversations about race relations throughout the country, yet America still has such a long way to go. Three minutes. One hundred and eighty seconds. That’s how long it took – from the moment Officer Darren Wilson arrived at the scene until the fatal bullet was discharged – for Michael Brown’s life to be taken. In the flash of a gun muzzle, Michael joined the list of too many black men senselessly killed by law enforcement, simply because of the color of their skin. Clearly, the relationship between law enforcement and African-Americans is broken, with the system built to oppress the black citizens of our nation. We have seen time and again that our nation’s fundamental promise has a caveat: liberty and justice for all — as long as you are white. Michael Brown’s death sparked genuine conversations about race, yet America still has such a long way to go. From start to finish, the law enforcement system is predisposed against African-Americans. Blacks are more likely to be stopped, searched and targeted for unprovoked force than their white counterparts.

Five Years Ago Today, Trayvon Martin Was Killed

Staff for #RememberTrayvon. The murder of Trayvon Martin was the beginning of the Black Lives Matter movement that accelerated with the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and has grown with the deaths of so many other blacks at the hands of police. Here are several campaigns to remember Trayvon: #TrayvonTaughtMe digital toolkit and campaign:The #TrayvonTaughtMe digital campaign highlights the beginnings of the Black Lives Matter movement, and how Trayvon’s extrajudicial murder and his family’s commitment to ending gun violence and strengthening communities catalyzed a generation of organizers and activists to take action for Black lives. #OurSonTrayvon campaign: In collaboration with Gbenga Akkinagbe, founder of Liberated People, and activist-writer Michaela Angela Davis, BLM is supporting the launch of the #OurSonTrayvon campaign, whose goal is to create a sustainable movement humanizing Black children in the collective imagination. #DearTrayvonsMom letter writing campaign: is soliciting love letters to Sybrina Fulton, Trayvon’s mother and #TalkAboutTrayvon digital toolkit and campaign: seeks to launch a conversation among white people about the conditions that led to the extrajudicial murder of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman.

2nd Anniversary Of Michael Brown’s Death; Black Lives Matter

By Sarah Aziza for Waging Nonviolence - The two-year anniversary of the death of Michael Brown came yesterday, August 9, prompting vigils and marches around the country. While the rage and grief that ignited the streets of Ferguson two years ago remained a clear subtext in these gatherings, events surrounding the anniversary of Brown’s death also demonstrated the levels of pragmatism and coordination that have emerged among organizers since the chaotic summer of 2014. The weeks leading up to August 9 have been busy for Black Lives Matter and its allies.

Black Lives Matter Gets Laws Passed In 24 States

By Staff for Associated Press - Since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, legislators in almost every state have proposed changes to the way police interact with the public. The result: Twenty-four states have passed at least 40 new measures addressing such things as officer-worn cameras, training about racial bias, independent investigations when police use force and new limits on the flow of surplus military equipment to local law enforcement agencies, according to an analysis by The Associated Press. Despite all that action, far more proposals have stalled or failed, the AP review found. And few states have done anything to change their laws on when police are justified to use deadly force. National civil rights leaders praised the steps taken by states but said they aren't enough to solve the racial tensions and economic disparities that have fueled protests in Ferguson, Baltimore, New York and elsewhere following instances in which people died in police custody or shootings.

Michael Brown Is Getting A Permanent Memorial In Ferguson

Dozens of teddy bears that memorialized Michael Brown were removed from a site on Canfield Drive in Ferguson, Missouri, on Wednesday afternoon. The memorial will be replaced by a permanent plaque honoring Brown, who was fatally shot by a police officer in August 2014. Michael Brown Sr., the slain teen's father, appeared with Mayor James Knowles in the Ferguson Community Center to unveil the plaque. Brown Sr. acknowledged that the current memorial site has become a safety concern and that he is content with a new, permanent replacement. The announcement came on what would have been Brown's 19th birthday, and followed a press conference announcing that Canfield Drive, the street where Brown was shot, would be repaved within the week.

Michael Brown Family Sues For Wrongful Death

The family of Michael Brown, the unarmed black 18-year-old whose fatal shooting by police led to months of unrest last year, are suing the city ofFerguson, Missouri, their lawyers said on Wednesday evening. Relatives of Brown will announce their filing of a civil lawsuit against the St Louis suburb at a press conference on Thursday morning, attorneys Benjamin Crump and Daryl Parks said in a statement. The lawsuit will accuse city authorities of liability for “the wrongful death of Michael Brown Jr”, the statement said. A city spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment. Their civil action, which will almost certainly seek financial damages, is likely to be the Brown family’s final opportunity to hold authorities responsible for the death of their son.

Embattled Ferguson Police Chief Resigns; Protests Resume

Police Chief Thomas Jackson resigned Wednesday, saying he always wanted to do what’s best for his community and realized that now meant leaving it. Jackson, whose departure has been a high priority for protesters since the controversial shooting of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, said in an exclusive interview, “This city needs to move forward without any distractions.” Officials said that when Jackson leaves March 19, Lt. Col. Al Eickhoff will become interim chief until a national search for a replacement is finished. Eickhoff declined to comment. Jackson has been chief for five years. Patricia Bynes, an activist and Democratic township committeewoman, said she is pleased by Jackson’s departure but “not ready to pop the champagne yet.” She noted, “We don’t need new faces to the same culture, so I’m not ready to jump up and down yet to celebrate his resignation.”

Ferguson’s True Criminals

Take traffic stops. Not only did police stop blacks at a rate greater than their share of the population—from 2012 to 2014, blacks were 67 percent of Ferguson residents but 85 percent of traffic stops—but they were twice as likely to search blacks than they were whites, who were 26 percent more likely to have actual contraband. You see the same dynamic with small, discretionary infractions. Ninety-five percent of tickets for jaywalking were against black residents, as were 94 percent of all “failure to comply” charges. Either black people were the only Ferguson citizens to jaywalk, or the department was targeting blacks for enforcement. On the rare occasion when police charged whites with these minor offenses, they were 68 percent more likely to have their cases dismissed.

Michael Brown’s Family To Sue Darren Wilson

A day after the Justice Department confirmed that federal charges would not be filed against former Ferguson, Mo., Police Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teen Michael Brown, Brown’s family lawyer has announced plans for the family to file a lawsuit of its own, Vox reports. According to the site, family attorney Anthony Gray announced at a press conference Thursday morning plans to file a civil suit against the former cop and the city of Ferguson. The family’s legal team underscored the difference in the standard of proof between a federal civil rights suit and a personal civil suit, suggesting that it might be able to succeed in its case.

Newsletter: The Contagion Of Courage

When our colleagues take brave actions, others are inspired. George Lakey describes how courage develops in movements. He lists some key ingredients to overcome fear: people working in community to empower each other, envisioning a successful action and spreading the contagion of courage. Lakey describes courage as each of us expanding beyond our comfort zones and adds that our training for actions should include opportunities to step outside our comfort zone. He suggests we need to view the rapid heartbeat and adrenalin during an action not as fear, but as excitement. Envisioning the whole story - where the story starts, the action being taken and its successful impact - emboldens us and calms our fears of uncertainty. We learn courage in community because courage is contagious.

Rolling Monday Mourning Protests Begin At Mayor’s House

Carrying a coffin and tombstones with the names of those shot and killed by police, protestors led a funeral procession down Mayor Francis Slay’s street in South St. Louis at 6:45 a.m. on Monday, February 9. They left the coffin on his doorstep, rang the doorbell and began making loud mourning cries in front of his house on the 3800 block of Robert Avenue. Frederic Chopin’s Funeral March played in the background, as the group of about 25 – all dressed in black – stuck the fist-shaped tombstones in Slay’s front lawn. “This is Monday Mournings,” said Elizabeth Vega, leader of the activist group called the Artivists. “We are here because the mayor has repeatedly locked us out of City Hall. So we know need to come to his house. This is putting all people in power on notice.”
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