On August 9, 2014, seeing the lifeless body of Michael Brown Jr. laid out in the blistering heat for four and half hours on Twitter shook my world but little did I know it would change my world forever. Michael Brown changed my life. I know a lot of people say this but it’s the truth. Michael radicalized me. And it constantly breaks my heart that his life had to be taken for me to see how much the world hasn’t changed from what I thought. He’s supposed to be going into his sophomore year of college. Not six feet under.
It’s crazy to think back even before Michael Brown was murdered of the talk my father and I had about movements. We were riding in our family car one day and we were listening to a radio personality talk about the Civil Rights and Black Power Movement. My father asked me if there was something tragic that were to happen would my generation come out? I told him I didn’t know. I didn’t have that faith of my generation but when Michael Brown was murdered that all changed.
I didn’t come out on August 9. By my family’s concern, I stayed in the house observing everything that was going on through Twitter as our local media was blocked out. If it weren’t for Twitter, I would have never known what went on that night. I wasn’t expecting to use a tool that I only used for social inquiries to do the jobs that our local and mainstream media were doing wrong. After observing for a few days, I went out in the streets and never left. Tear gas, rubber bullets, running in fear for my life, being arrested twice in one week couldn’t keep me away. Couldn’t keep any of us away. Before August 9, I felt like my life didn’t have a purpose. Now a year later, being a part of this movement, I feel like I’m doing what I was called to do. This year has been a lot. Mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually but I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world because through tragedy we built community. We built family.
People thought we were crazy for continuing to protest and getting abused by the police. Nobody thought this movement would last a month let alone a year but we were compelled to do it because we knew nobody else would do it for us. It was our duty. We knew that what happened to Mike could have been any of us. I go out there with that mindset every time I’m out in the streets that I’m fighting for not only myself but for my brothers and sisters. For my nieces, nephews, and cousins. They are whom I fight for.
We woke a lot of people out of their sleep to see that we don’t live in post-racial society. We got to show people that what happened to us in Ferguson could just as easily happen to anybody in their cities. And some of those cities like Baltimore and Cleveland got to see it firsthand. From protesters traveling to the United Nations and discuss police brutality to going to the White House to talk to the President about demands and accountability we wanted from the police and the system in itself…this movement did that.
We’re making history. And so it continues…
Diamond Latchison, 22, is an activist & organizer, born in Rockford, IL and raised in St. Louis, Mo. She’s been involved with the movement in Ferguson since the first week of protests in 2014. Latchison has organized & mostly taken the role as support, being involved in as many actions as she can. In her spare time, she likes to write, sing, watch online TV, and spend time with family and friends.