Sixteen days after he was shot to death in Ferguson, Missouri, thousands of mourners packed the church for Michael Brown's funeral, while thousands more watched online.
Aug. 25, 2014 - St. Louis, Missouri, U.S - LESLEY MCSPADDEN, right, is embraced after the funeral service for her son, Michael Brown, at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church. (Image: © Timothy Tai/ZUMA Wire/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Michael Brown was unarmed. His death sparked daily protests about treatment of black people by police. It also sparked nightly encounters with police—which themselves heightened concern about whether military tactics such as tear gas and rubber bullets were an appropriate response. There was a curfew, there was riot gear; there was looting, there were protesters linking hands to stop looting. Journalists were told to put down their cameras; they were detained. The National Guard was called in. And it all played out online, too; in livestreams, on Twitter.
His father called for calm at the funeral. I hope the service brings healing to the community of Ferguson, but it is not by a long shot the end of the story. A federal grand jury investigation continues into the actions of Officer Darren Wilson. And the conversation about racism in the United States has grown undeniably louder.
And above the fray, we've all heard individual voices express their own stories about what it's like to live as an African American in country that is definitely not "post-racist." Stories about police encounters of their own; stories about the death of Michael Brown and the responses they saw online. People posted about learning to be allies; about being bone-tired of this exact conversation; about being terrified that something will happen to their fathers, their sons, themselves.
At BlogHer, we know how important these individual conversations are. We're listening. Please share links to more posts in the comments.
As the protests in Ferguson went on, artist Keith Wallace staged a silent protest in Philadelphia's Love Park, posing as a body surrounded by crime scene tape. Tourists ignored and even climbed over the "corpse" in the middle of the park in order to take photos with the iconic (and now ironic) "LOVE" sculpture by Robert Indiana. More photos here.
What do we know?
We know that they represent only a FRACTION of the number of Black people whose lives have been robbed by law enforcement
Aug. 25, 2014 - St. Louis, MO, USA - The casket of Michael Brown sits inside Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in St. Louis, awaiting the start of his funeral on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014. (Image: © Robert Cohen/MCT/ZUMA Wire.)
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