This movement is summed up for me, and always has been summed up for me, in one statement: Mike Brown saved my life.
Mike Brown gave me the desire to live, showed me love, ignited a fire inside of me I never knew I had. I might even go as far to say that Mike Brown is one of the best things to ever happen to me, if not the best thing. Mike Brown, literally, forced a gun that was to my head out of my hands and pushed me into the streets. Mike Brown led me to the love of my life on a path filled with tear gas.
For me, Mike Brown symbolizes purpose.
This movement started out as regular people coming outside to raise questions about the murder of an 18-year-old boy. One year later, we’re not asking questions, we’re demanding answers. Ferguson has led me to various doorsteps of systematic oppressors confronting their anti-blackness, their homophobia, their silence, and their lack of understanding amongst other things. A year later, this movement has taught most of us that police brutality is just a branch on a tree of issues that this country has refused to face for years, a year later this movement is at this very same tree with an axe saying, “It’s time.”
This movement for Black lives is headed towards a time where “Black Lives Matter” is recognized as not only an affirming statement, but an obvious statement. This movement is headed towards the liberation of Black people in a country that still has its chains on us. This movement is here to dismantle the discomfort leading up to Black life lying dead in the middle of the street for four and a half hours. This movement is here to tear down the status quo to include, and fight for, the Black lives that don’t fit within the narrow confines of our minds. This movement is an everyday reminder to anyone that it is our duty to fight for our freedom, and we won’t stop until we obtain it.
Alexis Templeton, 21, is Co-Founder of Millennial Activists United