Michael Brown and Racism - 1 Year Later

Originally Posted on A Sewcial Life

It's been exactly one year since Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson, and I wanted to take a minute to reflect on what his death has taught me over the year.

First, let's go back a bit. When Tryvon Martin was killed in February of 2012, I started to think more critically about racism. I remember explaining passionately to a friend that yes, young black men should have the privilege of wearing hoodies at night without the risk of being murdered. I remember grieving and being so overwhelmed.. But I kind of let it stop there... I didn't do the work I needed to.

When Michael Brown was killed in 2014, I got to work. I read everything I could. I learned everything I could. I wrote about it, I spoke up about it. I also grieved the death, but I tried my best to begin to find ways to help combat racism in an inherently racist society. 

I am so grateful to all those people who have shared their stories and experiences with racism in Canada and America. The flood of articles, blog posts, interviews and videos after the death of Michael Brown are what taught me to understand the realities of racism in 2015. 

Sometimes it still looks like the N-word, or bias policing. But sometimes it's more subtle and complex than that. Both are issues that we need to face head on, and work towards eliminating.

I don't know that I've done enough to try and contribute to the solution, but I am trying, and speaking up as often as I can. I am no longer afraid of being called out when I get it wrong - I'm grateful. When I mess up, or speak over someone, or step out of my lane as an ally, I am so glad there are POC willing to educate me and help me understand what I've missed.

In spite of all the positive change that has come, and the amazing work that the Black Lives Matter campaign has done, there is so much more work to do. So many more people of colour have been killed by police in the year since Michael Browns death. So many senseless deaths have taken place. 

We need to keep educating ourselves, speaking up, protesting and we need to keep demanding change!