On August 9, 2014, Officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown and left him to bleed to death on a street in Ferguson Missouri. As protests began, I was riveted.
Had Wilson not killed him, Michael Brown, 18, would have started college two days later. I remember crying at the words of his mother, Lesley McSpadden:
“He worked hard to get through high school. And we were so proud of him. And when he started his journey on to college, we were even more proud of him.
Never did we think we’d be planning a funeral. We were waiting on his first day of school.”
I saw in Michael Brown the young Black men I had come to know and love while working for Year Up, a nonprofit organization that prepares young adults without a college degree for corporate careers in technology. These young men worked so hard to get through our program. I was so proud of them.
What happened to Michael Brown could very easily happen to young men I loved, but would never happen to my children.
I wished Wilson would have recognized Michael Brown’s humanity, would have seen in him the young men he loves. I wished Michael Brown had gone on to college and to pursue his dreams.
The protesters inspired me. They were so brave and relentlessly withstood tremendous brutality. I thought for sure their pressure would result in accountability.
When Darren Wilson was not indicted, I cried again.
Michael Brown taught me that I knew nothing of the depth of white supremacy, that I was part of the problem, and that I had to start doing something.
His invaluable lesson changed my life.
Rest in Power Michael Brown and know you will never be forgotten.