It has been two months since an unarmed black 18-year-old named Michael Brown was fatally shot by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri. But the push to hold police accountable, and to protest police violence, continues. In mid-October, the suburban St. Louis community played host to Ferguson October, the name given to a two-day protest that drew activists and organizers from around the country. Thousands gathered to take part in discussions about political participation and nonviolent action amid rallies and marches. Even the downpour that struck during the opening event on October 10 could not dampen the spirits of the people who came to Ferguson from all walks of life.
I attended Ferguson October, and was uplifted by the energy of the crowd as their chant—“the people united will never be defeated”—rang home as an essential reminder that a united people help propel our democracy.
Over the weekend, I spent time with members of the Organization for Black Struggle (OBS), a local black empowerment organization operating locally. I talked with Montague Simmons, chairman of OBS, who is working to connect local activists with those in other communities around the country with strong civil-rights ties. In our conversations, reflected in the above video, Simmons urged us all to seize this moment to create lasting change. “A lot of our elders see this as another type of Montgomery,” Simmons said. “This could be the spark of a movement.”