Michael Brown your life changed the game

When the images of Michael Brown’s dead body lying in the summer Missouri heat began to circulate the Internet in August 2014, the world was introduced to the town of Ferguson.

Today would have been Brown’s 20th birthday had he not been shot and killed by Darren Wilson, an officer with the Ferguson Police Department.

https://twitter.com/blvckconscious/status/733673493179437057

In my mind, the images are still haunting. The fallout and unrest in that town and in many other American cities after Wilson was not charged by a grand jury made global headlines and laid bare the grim reality that in the United States of America, when in doubt, shoot first, ask questions later is not just an idiom, but actual state-sponsored policy.

Instagram Photo

Instagram Photo

Black Lives Matter. Hands Up, Don’t Shoot. Deray and Netta. For all of the movements, characters and symbolism that came out of that fateful summer, there is still the memory of a young man who had his life cut short.

[Will my 2-year-old nephew end up like Michael Brown?]

Brown’s death didn’t just impact the law enforcement, social justice and political spheres. The circumstances of the case were so poignant that many athletes were compelled to chime in with their thoughts.

America lost its innocence before it was ever technically created as a nation, but the word “Ferguson” will hold as much import on U.S. history as Selma or Watts. The days of standoffs between military-grade police forces and protestors brought rise to a new frontier of technology with Twitter and live-webcasting that democratized how we shared information with each other.

Brown’s life and celebrating his birthday is so important to people because he was exactly who so many of us are at that age: just kids trying to figure it out.

Earlier this month, the town of Ferguson hired its first permanent black police chief. But that won’t be enough to erase the memory of that summer in Missouri — for anyone, anytime soon.

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