This woman’s name is France Francois. In the picture above, that’s currently going viral, she was attending a vigil for Michael Brown in Malcolm X Park in Washington, D.C. Her sign was honest, frustrated and it resonated with everyone who is in support of the unarmed teen who unfairly lost his life at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson. Francois’ message sparked an immediate reaction on social media and has been shared over 3,000 times and counting.
The 28-year-old activist spoke with Alternet.org and said, “I’m glad it sparked some conversation because I think, throughout the nation, we’re all asking ourselves this question: ‘How did we come here again? How did we find ourselves in this very same space?'”
The again that Francois speaks of refers to the plethora of times we’re faced with losing another Black life because someone of authority claims to feel threatened or fear. This isn’t Francois’ first time taking passionate action. While a student at Florida State University, she protested the unlawful and brutal killing of 14-year-old Martin Lee Anderson at the hands of boot camp instructors. After months of silence in wake of Anderson’s death, Francois teamed up with fellow students from Florida State University, Tallahassee Community College, Florida A&M University and Florida State University and staged a 34-hour sit-in at then governor Jeb Bush’s office.
Francois recalls, “A feeling of rage and powerlessness gripped us in Tallahassee, and students and citizens marched into the streets, and sat down. We shut down the busiest street in Tallahassee with dozens of students linking hands and forming a circle. The police came and the Black police chief soon followed. He said to me, ‘I understand how you guys feel. I’m going to LET YOU do this.’ He didn’t realize we were ready then for whatever they had planned; we’d been preparing for jail, dogs, anything for over a year. He could not have stopped our civil disobedience even if he had tried.”
As far as her voice being heard in Mike Brown protests, Francois was unsure she even wanted to bring her uniquely candid sign to the vigil as it contains profanity and she was worried it would be perceived as rage. “For me, it goes back to the idea that we’re not allowed to feel these sentiments,” she said. “We always have to be stoic. We always have to make certain people comfortable and I really didn’t want to make anyone comfortable at that time. I felt angry. I felt fearful for my young brother and my younger cousin. And I currently feel fearful for the son I might have and I wasn’t trying to make people feel comfortable because I don’t feel like this is a moment where we should feel comfortable. We should be questioning the fact that this continues to happen and I wanted that to be expressed.”
Take it from France Francois. If you’re feeling angry, hurt, betrayed, whatever, express yourself and get out there and support Mike Brown in whatever peaceful way you can. You never know who’s watching and who you will impact.
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