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  • Eichel Davis

BP #38: Ferguson. The Shots Heard Around The World.

Im going to start with this, because I need to establish the validity of my statements I am about to make. My name is Eichel Davis, and I live on the Berkeley-Fergusson line, less than a mile from the heart of Ferguson. I went to one of the top schools in the city, and now attend the University of Missouri. I am known for thoughtful opinions. I lived in a mostly black community, but went to school in a mostly white one. And each one of them showed the true strength and advantage of a good community.

I have never felt such a desire, or calling to address an issue like I do now. I have never felt so many raw emotions, so much anger, and so much pain about one given issue. And every person reading this should feel those same emotions. That same fire in your soul because anyone of us, black or white or Hispanic or whatever, could have been Mike Brown. So while I know many of you will disagree with what I have to say, and many of you will have comments about this, I feel obligated, as a teenager, a college student, a black person, and a human being, to write these words.

On August 9th, tragedy led to an even bigger injustice. Michael Brown was shot by Officer Darren WIlson. The small, and for the most part middle class, neighborhood of Ferguson has been thrust into a state of chaos. And while many of us do not agree with the verdict of the Grand Jury, me included, we will not show our anger with violence. The people who live here have tried their best to preserve their community, and preserve the great image they had before that fateful August day. Its the people who have come from outside of the community that are destroying and vandalising. It is not the citizens. It is not us. We will show our anger and our frustration with change, and with a conversation.

WE as a community think that this is wrong, and a travesty. And as someone who lives in North County, as someone who had been that QuikTrip, and that Wal-Mart, and those shoes stores, and those burned places, it breaks my heart. Because we have done such a good job over the years to build our community into a grand vision.

And I commend and lift up all of the persons who have been PEACEFULLY standing in the name of Mike Brown, and of Eric Garner, and of Trayvon Martin.

St. Louis: Tale Of Two Cities

St. Louis, which usually sits in the backdrop, was catapulted into the national spotlight. Over 20M tweets have been cast about the situation, from all over the country and globe. From New York, to San Fran, the country and the world watched for months as the topic captured our lives.

It is very hard to explain race relations in St. Louis to people who don’t live here. St. Louis is a very segregated city, while not having too much outright Jim Crow style racism. Whites live on one side, and blacks live on the other. And while it has improved over the years, it's a slow change. And the racism in St. Louis is VERY deeply rooted. And when it comes to police and black men, its worst than ever. There's a term, Driving While Black, that many of us use.

And thats a tragedy on its own.

The fact that we have a term almost brings me to tears. But that fact that this applies to almost every aspect of a black St. Louisan, makes me angry. And again the worst part is that it is not blatant outright racism, but very subtle. But that does not make it less of a problem. Racism of any kind is a problem.

Like Mike

Me and Mr. Brown shared many similarities.

First off, Mike Brown was a soon to be college student. When the shooting took place, so was I. I was just like him, looking forward to my years at Mizzou, and my continued success throughout life. But unlike me, he chance at the American Dream was stolen from him, ripped from his hands. And as college students, just starting our journey, looking forward to our lives, that should hurt us. Deep down it should make us think. It should make us angry.

Secondly, as a black male, we shared the same ugly stigma. We are not to even dare to be smart, or kind...or happy. We’re suppose to be gangbangers, drug dealers, and animals. And I’m not saying some of us aren’t bad people, but to say that only Black People are bad people, is blatantly unjust.

And lastly, and most basic, is the fact that Mike Brown was a human being. Take away the skin color, and the background, and everything else, and leave his humanity. Leave his heart, and his soul, and his basic human instincts. We all have those things, right? We have compassion, the longing for something better, and hope. No matter how old you are. No matter where you are from, we can all agree on our humanity.

Does Racism Exist?

And I still know that some of you would like to think that racism, and “white privilege” does not exist.

But It’s time to open your eyes, and see the light...and the darkness.

Because if Racism doesn’t exist, then why is it that when I see a cop, I’m nervous for my safety, instead of being secure about? Why is it that black children grow up fearing 911 instead of finding hope in it? And I am not saying all cops are bad. In fact, there are many many great protectors out there. And I thank all of those people.

But still, if Racism does not exist then why are our cities, and states separated? Why do races vote along certain lines? Why did folks who had voted democratic all their lives suddenly switch when Barack Obama decided he wanted to be the party leader?

And evermore, if Racism doesn’t exist, then why do certain races get followed around in stores, while others do not? Why do certain races get better service at stores? Why do certain races get waited on first? Why do some us have to prove ourselves? Why can’t we just go about our lives without being a thief?

And lastly, if Racism does not exist, why do we have a Mike Brown? Why do we have riots, and looting? Why do we have the world watching all of these United States of America? Why do we continue to have Trayvon Martins, and Emmett Till’s? Why are we still talking about this? Why do we not teach Racism in the history class like we teach slavery?

If you’re still not convinced then so be it, but I, along with millions of other human beings, know that the Founders’ statement of equality for all (wether they meant it or not) is still a little ways off. So whatever race you are, whatever country you call home, and whatever background you come from, you should care about Michael Brown Jr, and his life, his death, and his movement. Because equality is something we all want, and we all should have.

Throughout time we have fought for it. We have died for it. We have stood up tall for it. We have drawn lines in the sand, and held our ground for it. The 2014 and 2015 events have to become our line. Our line where we say enough is enough

Ferguson. A Blip On The Radar.

Eric Gardner. Trayvon Martin. Mike Brown. And now...Freddie May. It seems that the narrative has started to repeat itself at a faster rate. The story has the same set up. Death. Controversy. Unrest. No Justice. Move On. Since August, Ferguson has become nothing more than another flashpoint in a movement that hasn’t been this red hot in almost a decade. Now its Baltimore splattered across our televisions. In many ways, Baltimore is worse than Ferguson. No matter how you slice it. The numbers are larger. The damage worse. But hopefully the outcome can be different. Hopefully, it can be better. Because if not, if justice keeps being averted, then Baltimore, Ferguson, and the country will re-combust like never before. Because everyone, and I do mean everyone, reaches the point where enough is enough, and anger is all that is left.

So I know, this will go down in the history books. It will go down as the time that people said enough is enough. Michael Brown was not an isolated event. His death was nothing but a small spark, that lit the fire that had been brewing for over 60 years. From personal experience, I can say that St. Louis IS a very segregated place. Racism IS deeply rooted in this country. And unfortunately, the conversations have not happened. And to be honest, they won't happen, until they have no other options. Until they are at the end of their ropes. And if this is not it, then I don’t know what is. I don’t wanna think about something worse than this for a community.

But the conversation can not stop in a suburb of 22,000. We as a nation, not as a race, need to address the issue of that this has brought to our attention. From police brutality toward all races, to the Black and White Relations. We. Need. To. Talk. In this world we live in, we don't talk about Race Relations because we feel like we can’t. But this generation, this current group of human beings, will have to talk about it. Or else these types of responses are going to become more and more common. Because people are fed up. After 200 years, we as a race are saying enough is enough. We as a country need to say enough is enough. And while I don’t ever agree with violence, I get it. I get the pain, and the frustration. You feel as if the world is either uninformed, or just ignorant of your pain. So I want those people to know, that people are listening. People outside of our race hear us. They stand with us.

Which is why this is so much bigger than Ferguson and Baltiimore. Its so much bigger than a small town put on the big stage because of one day. This is about a change that needs to be made. This is about deeply rooted issues that will take years to undue. This is about a conversation.

And I don’t know what the next 6 months will bring (It brought Baltimore). No one does. We are just sitting, waiting, and praying to God, that everyone turns out okay. Because right now healing and recovery seems so far out of reach. But as we have done time and time again, we, as the country, will move on, and move forward.


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