It was Sunday evening and we were on Florissant Avenue in Ferguson, where community members gather in mourning and protest every day, a few blocks from where Michael Brown was killed. Their demands are basic; the T-shirts simply say, “Stop killing us.” The protesters want an end to racist police practices, an end to the criminalization of being black and an end to the killing of their friends and children. They want Michael Brown’s killer indicted. And they want to be able to exercise their right to voice these demands vigorously and loudly to their government.
As I looked around, I saw people from all walks of life on the avenue; young people and elders; preachers, teachers, and veterans. While each person expressed it differently, all the protesters were unified in their anger over Brown’s death. I joined the march next to a large family in orange T-shirts. They were in Ferguson for a family reunion and decided to come out and march together. As I took out my phone and started to tweet, “Justice is a family affair,” we were tear-gassed.