There is not a corner of the Internet you can go to where you won’t hear about the shooting of Michael Brown. A college freshman who was gunned down by an unnamed (really? No one knows his name?) police officer only days before he was to start his first day of college. The few few facts that most agree on: 1. Brown was unarmed, 2. SEVERAL people witnessed Brown being gunned down, 3. It’s documented that Brown’s body was left in the street for hours.
There is none of the ambiguity about who was the real aggressor that surrounded Trayvon Martin’s death though we all knew in our hearts who it was. The story was broadcast on social media almost immediately. The first image I saw regarding the murder was a picture of Brown’s stepfather holding a piece of cardboard that read “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son.”
From that moment on it was a windfall of images, tweets and videos in the aftermath of the shooting.
I have watched zero mainstream media coverage of this story because I don’t believe in conventional news outlets (they be lying y’all), and I couldn’t stomach the possibility of them demonizing this child in defense of the assailant. Also, there have been several accounts from the people of Ferguson that completely contradict many of the news reports. One being the alleged chanting of “Kill the Police!” from the protestors has been reported to have never actually happened.
As the days have gone by, more images have circulated of police occupying the town of Ferguson, and it appears residents’ vigils and protests are grounds for the officers to declare a state of emergency. The citizens are sharing their distress any way they can via social media. Monday night citizens informed the world that police weren’t allowing media presence in the neighborhood and weren’t allowing citizens to leave or enter their homes.
Whenever media presence is forbidden for no discernible reason other than the authorities just don’t want you there, some terrible and shady stuff is about to go down. As the images of the police armed with dogs, tear gas, guns and shields crossed my screen all I could think was they’re trying to wipe this city away. They’re blocking off streets and positioning snipers because they are planning to blow this place off the map.
I wonder if this is what Black Wall Street in Tulsa looked like in the hours before white supremacists bombed and air raided their town. Would Rosewood been destroyed in a week if the black residents had cell phones and cameras available? Is the only thing keeping police from literally bombing or shooting the town of Ferguson off the map the constant updates from the residents?
Both Rosewood and Black Wall Street were predominantly black, thriving neighborhoods that were attacked and destroyed by white people from various walks of life−policemen, judges, bakers, housewives, etc. In the case of Rosewood, a black man was lynched for allegedly attacking a white woman and the residents of the town decided to fight back and protect their land. Their defense was met with mobs of white citizens descending on their town and destroying everything in sight. Very few pictures exist that document the full extent of the Rosewood attack and most pictures of Black Wall Street only capture the aftermath.
The pictures circulating the web from Ferguson, coupled with the tweets and status updates from the ground, are keeping people abreast and gaining the attention of the nation, not just other citizens in Missouri. In the case of Rosewood, Florida officials of the state knew what was happening in the town and looked the other way. Currently, there isn’t a place you can turn where you don’t see some type of Ferguson coverage and this all due to the efforts of Ferguson citizens, ground-level reporters and allies who are intent about spreading the news.
The people of Ferguson are crying out while remaining vigilant in their stance. They are mourning their lost son, brother and friend and they are shouting to the rest of the world that their community is in danger.
I know many people frown heavily upon “Twitter Activism” (Sorry, sir I left my assault rifle and freedom fighting boots at home), but the people of Ferguson are turning to social media to further their cause. People from as far away as Gaza and Australia have sent words of solidarity to the town of Ferguson.
So no, I may not have thrown a can of tear gas back at the police like this amazing young fellow did, but I am being intentional about spreading their message and information to as many people as I can. It may not be much, but it’s the most I can do from a 1000-miles away.
To the people of Ferguson, keep fighting. We are all watching and listening and we stand with you however you need us to.
Check the Twitter and Instagram hashtag #Ferguson for ways you can help the people of Ferguson.