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I am Michael Brown


Jessica Lussenhop

Michael Brown at 16 with his younger brother Andre.

Upon the devastating murder of 18-year-old Michael Brown at the hands of Ferguson Police, I felt it only fitting to pen some thoughts. Brown ended up lying face down in the street in a pool of his own blood, shot repeatedly by the officer. Brown did not have a weapon. Witnesses at the scene told the media that Brown had his hands in the air when he was shot. It’s not easy to be a Black boy in America.

Imaginably so, there has been national outcries ranging from vigils to protests. Many have taken to social media to express their upset. One current social media campaign is #IamMichaelBrown; the campaign is meant to represent a unified observance. In essence, it ranges in meaning from “we are one” to “it could be me” to “one of us equals all of us.” But this young man’s life speaks to me on more levels than anything else.

I am Michael Brown, on many levels. Michael Brown was a big in stature, yet young and shy. "He wasn't a violent person. He was peaceful," said Elizabeth Spivey, Brown's aunt. "He was a gentle giant. He looked like he could really do something but he wouldn't. He was a big teddy bear." Being well over six feet since 14, I can relate. A big, black boy from a certain side of the city will always get a reaction. I am Michael Brown.

Even greater, I see the picture of 16-year-old Michael with his younger brother, Andre. I am a big brother—with two younger brothers. I am looked up to. I have boys behind me who look to me and have looked to me and see me with respect and love. Imagine how our big brothers being murdered affect our little brothers. I am Michael Brown.

Even further, I have a brother who is now about the same age Michael was-- also, a young man preparing to make a footprint, also quiet without too many friends, also wanting to make music. And as a big brother, a father figure, I am Michael Brown. How does it impinge on our mothers and fathers?

There are so many questions to ask of our nation, of our legal system, of ourselves, but for now in remembrance of this slain young man, I will consider and say #IamMichaelBrown.

Gerald Garth

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