In the midst of the darkness surrounding the systemic killing of Black people and the ensuing grief of their families, a small sliver of positive change broke through. Black Lives Matter, the movement that was sparked by the death of Trayvon Martin, did take on new life after Mike Brown’s death. Ferguson itself will be remembered as a place where the people rose up and demanded to be heard. We saw protests from coast to coast and in every major city in between. The people demanded a voice, they demanded justice, they demanded the right to exist without fear.
But there is still much work to be done.
It is extremely tragic that the series of injustices experiences against Black women and men has not caused a true majority public outcry. It is truly testament to the need for Black Lives Matter – that Black, men, women, and children — can be harmed by America’s institutions. And yet, the nation carries on without stopping to ask, “Is this the America we want to live in?”
No one but God, Darren Wilson and Mike Brown knows what happened that day. That is a reality that many are willing to concede. But given what we do know about how Black bodies are often treated by men in blue, it would be foolish to not ask questions. It would be foolish to take Wilson’s words for the truth. It would be foolish not to keep demanding justice.
In the end, it is not right to keep positioning these fallen victims of police brutality as martyrs when we would all rather them be alive. But because of their deaths, concerned citizens everywhere cannot simply let these tragedies be in vain. Indeed the memory of their lives and the pain of their deaths should strengthen us in our daily fight.