What we have today is a generation, including mine, built on apathy, where hashtag campaigns and up-to-the-minute graphics are how we show our displeasure with acts that disturbs us all.
We have become a nation where, for most of us, protest amounts to sitting in front of a laptop and television. Therefore, real, systemic change is not happening anytime soon. It seems like we’re regressing.
While organizations like the Dream Defenders have done a very good job of keeping our issues relevant, only a select few seem to be listening.
Still, even with my world-weary view, I understand that we cannot stop being advocates for change. It was Anne Frank, the Jewish teenager whose diary was found and published after she was killed in Nazi Germany, who said: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”
The death of Trayvon Martin galvanized a country, for as long as it was in the news. Yet George Zimmerman is free, Marissa Alexander is being retried for firing a warning shot to back down an abusive husband, and Stand Your Ground and the Castle Doctrine are still laws of the land in Florida, Pennsylvania and a host of other states.
While I know that African-Americans are not the only ones impacted by lack of education, poverty, police brutality, unemployment, mass incarceration, and de facto educational and residential segregation – we seem to be the only ones affected by these developments on a mass scale.
What I do know is that change in this country was built on civil disorder and an obvious disregard for the law. Change was made by people who were not afraid of causing a good deal of social strife, people who provoked disorder on a national scale, people who showed disregard for racist laws and challenged the existing social order.
Those are the people who showed up this weekend in Ferguson. They are the same kind of people who have been at the forefront and on the front lines of the struggle that allowed us many of the freedoms we now take for granted.
If only we all felt this way, then change would once again, have no choice but to come.
Zack Burgess is an award winning journalist, who is the Director/Owner of OFF WOODWARD MEDIA, LLC, where he works as a Writer, Editor and Communications Specialist. Twitter: @zackburgess1
Remembering Mike Brown On His 19th Birthday (May 20, 1996- August 9, 2014)
1. Mike Brown, just a normal 18-year-old on his way to college1 of 30
2. Mike Brown playing around with a family member2 of 30
3. Mike Brown's mother Lesley McFadden and father, Michael Brown, Sr. at a press conference.3 of 30
4. Lesley McSpadden, Mike Brown's mother and his stepfather, Louis Head, comfort each other after his death.4 of 30
5. Residents of Ferguson, Missouri create a memorial where Mike Brown was killed.5 of 30
6. Clergy and residents gather in Ferguson.6 of 30
7. Police in riot gear watch protesters in Ferguson.7 of 30
8. Police and protestors come face to face in Ferguson.8 of 30
9. Riot police on the scene in Ferguson, Missouri.9 of 30
10. Protesters in Ferguson, Missouri.10 of 30
11.11 of 30
12. Peaceful protest in Ferguson, Missouri.12 of 30
13. Howard University students stand in solidarity with Ferguson, Missouri.13 of 30
14. National Moment of Silence protest around the country, this one shut down Times Square14 of 30
15. Missouri Highway Patrol captain Ron Johnson changes the police tone in Ferguson, Missouri.15 of 30
16. Milwaukee, Wisconsin protestors stand in solidarity with Ferguson, Missouri.16 of 30
17. Out of the mouths of babes.17 of 30
18. A candle for peace glows as part of a vigil in St. Louis18 of 30
19. Teens in Philadelphia observe the NMOS'14. It's all about LOVE.19 of 30
20. Mike Brown allegedly involved in store confrontation/robbery before his death.20 of 30
21. Police stats from Ferguson, Missouri.21 of 30
22. Protesters vandalize a police vehicle outside of the Ferguson city hall on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.22 of 30
23. Police officers confront protesters Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.23 of 30
24. ferguson_pend1-custom24 of 30
25. Police shoot pepper spray toward protesters in front of the Ferguson Police Department on Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Ferguson, Mo.25 of 30
26. In this aerial photo,people look at a row of charred cars at a used car dealership, Tuesday, Nov. 25, 2014, in Dellwood, Mo.26 of 30
27. Citizens protest the Ferguson Decision in Dallas, TX.27 of 30
28. Citizens protest the Ferguson Decision in Atlanta, Georgia.28 of 30
29. Citizens protest the Ferguson Decision in Boston, Massachusetts.29 of 30
30. Citizens protest the Ferguson Decision in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.30 of 30