On August 9, 2014, an 18-year-old African-American male named Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
He was unarmed, and witnesses contend that he was attempting to surrender when police shot him. Some say that the officer who shot Brown emptied the entire magazine into him.
Whatever the circumstances, it is a truly disheartening and tragic story. By now, most people are aware that this incident led to peaceful protests as well as violent clashes between residents and local police in Ferguson.
Many of the images that have come out of Ferguson are deeply disturbing. Hence, it is apparent that, as a nation, we have a long way to go in terms of race relations and protecting the rights of common citizens.
Furthermore, as a consequence of these events, the militarization of American police is now at the forefront of political discussions.
It's been 149 years since the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery in the United States, yet we are still combatting racism on the streets of America... It's important that we don't forget Michael Brown, and others who have suffered like him, as we strive to move forward from the heinous crimes of our past.
Likewise, it seems that whenever there is a crisis in the world, we grant it such fleeting attention. Conventional media outlets tell prescribed stories, inundating us with the same headlines and images until we grow tired of them. We become immune to tragedy as a consequence of continued exposure.
Let's not let that happen here. Too often we forget that there are real people who must deal with the aftermath of these events long after the cameras are turned off and the reporters go home. These people deserve to be remembered and to have their stories told.
Accordingly, we can remember why an event received so much attention in the first place, and actually move toward fostering a better world.
Some may argue that this is a futile endeavor, but as long as there are people willing to stand up for what they believe in, there is still hope.
Elite Daily went to Ferguson because we refuse to forget that every individual story is important.
Our Director of Video, Weston Green, went directly to the front lines, photographing the events as they happened, and hearing the real stories of the people from the town.
As he tells it, the citizens there have exhibited an inspiring level of solidarity and hope. Through Weston's photos, we are able to tell this story.
These are the people of Ferguson...
Ferguson is defined by the strength of its community, not by the chaos we witnessed this week...
The theme here in #Ferguson is #community. This guy is going around offering free legal counsel to anyone who wants. pic.twitter.com/FsfrsmQFhU — weston (@west_on) August 15, 2014
In ferguson outside police station - protest is peaceful, lots of community bringing waters, food pic.twitter.com/9R1VbJx0NS — weston (@west_on) August 15, 2014
The people simply want justice.
Across the street from fire station / police station right now. #ferguson https://t.co/RqtA5uJBMm — weston (@west_on) August 15, 2014
They stand together with Mike Brown. They will not let him be forgotten...
The people have filled the streets of Ferguson with a common message: End racial profiling, end police brutality and respect the rights granted to all American citizens by the First Amendment to the US Constitution...
There is hope on the streets of Ferguson.
Candlelight vigil in #Ferguson happening right now. pic.twitter.com/QPNca6d5Vo — weston (@west_on) August 15, 2014
The people will not let their town descend into chaos... They take pride in their home. Accordingly, they have taken it upon themselves to keep the town in order.
Citizens directing traffic on W Florissant where protests occurred last night so police won't get involved #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/YeLV5BnlMU — weston (@west_on) August 15, 2014
"Whatever happened last night ain't never gonna happen again." #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/d0kqbA1o5O — weston (@west_on) August 15, 2014
Locals of #Ferguson have been walking around W Florissant Ave picking up trash. pic.twitter.com/o1guBLCn1A — weston (@west_on) August 15, 2014
Thus, the people of Ferguson are not defeated. If anything, they are stronger and more united than ever. At present, the situation is seemingly calmer than it was earlier in the week, yet it's still not entirely resolved.
Moreover, the Ferguson police department recently released the name of the officer involved in the shooting, which could increase tensions.
While the story is still developing, it's important that we continue to view it in a larger context. In essence, there is systematic racial discrimination in the United States, and there is no better time than now to begin addressing this problem. As a nation, we must all march together in this endeavor.
Photos Credit: Weston Green/ Nathan Weber