For ATTN I wrote a piece about my feelings ahead of the grand jury ruling on the shooting death of teen Mike Brown at the hands of Officer Darren Wilson. A native of the area (I grew up in neighboring Florissant, Mo.), I’m fairly cynical about the process, but I’m not cynical about the young people who’ve been moved to protest.
A native of St. Louis (I grew up near Ferguson in neighboring Florissant, MO), I’m also expecting the worst, namely that there will be no indictment as there is rarely punishment for officer-involved shootings in St. Louis city or county – national attention or not. As for the fears of looting and rioting, there will always be a few outliers who will want to capitalize on someone else’s pain to make financial gain, but I’m not really concerned with that as much as the heartbreak many young St. Louisans will feel–those who’ve been out protesting night after night, who have mobilized and organized, who were registering voters and will get hit with the same reality that made me long for the day I could grow up and move away from my hometown: The reality that St. Louis has serious race relation issues.
I admire those who stayed behind to tough it out instead of letting the bitterness get to them. Those individuals are the real heroes in this. The men and women, young and old, who stay in a fight that is bigger than Wilson or Brown, but is the fight for our very nation’s soul.