FERGUSON – In 2014, Aug. 9th was a day that changed many people’s lives. Whether you were a resident of Ferguson, the St. Louis area or the United States, Michael Brown’s death was a moment that sent waves across the country and, in some cases, the world.
Friday, the world once again gravitated towards Canfield Drive in order to commemorate the fifth anniversary of Brown’s death. Although many people who were present mourned the death of their family member, son and friend, the memorial was held to celebrate Brown’s life. The event was held directly at the site where the teenager was shot, with a line of roses, stuffed animals and balloons lying at the spot where police left him for over four hours.
“It’s a day of celebration but also a sad one,” said Edaz Redden, known as rapper King Showoff, “[We’re] just out here with the family and supporting … there’s people with a million dollars and won’t even be out here. This is important to me and be important to you as well. We [need] justice for Mike Brown and get Darren Wilson off the streets.”
The day featured performances from a plethora of young artistic groups from the St. Louis area, including the Gentlemen of Vision step team, Marcellus the Poet, and the Mistory Dance and Majorette Company. Former Missouri state Rep. Betty Thompson also spoke, calling for justice for the family of Michael Brown.
His family was present at the event, along with families of other people, from Eric Garner to Tamir Rice, who have lost their lives to police. Brown’s siblings read a heartfelt letter to the deceased teen before breaking into tears.
“When is the moment when this long nightmare is over?” Deja Brown said in front of the hundreds of people. “All of your siblings got to see you graduate, and in the five years, three of your sisters walked across the stage and you weren’t there in person. But we knew you were there in spirit.”
The streets were flooded with media, activists and residents who lived through Brown’s death and the protests that followed. One person who shared Ferguson through her perspective was Dornella Connor, who was blinded by a non-lethal bean bag during the 2014 protests.
“It’s been pretty emotional,” Connor said. “I’m still here. I feel for the pain and emotions for Mike Brown since he’s gone now and I was a part of that situation. … I was innocent and pregnant at the time, and I was shot for no reason.”
Many lives were changed on Canfield Drive on Aug. 9th, 2014, but for some, there is new clarity and purpose.
On the anniversary of Brown’s death, his father, Michael Brown Sr., called for a new investigation of his son’s case.