Familiar faces from the past few days and the past two years gathered in the parking lot of Canfield Green Apartments in Ferguson. At 7 in the morning, it's an early start for what will shape up to be roughly a four mile walk through the August heat for a "Justice Walk" organized by Michael Brown Sr.
Following a night of truth telling, the Justice Walk is the second event Chosen For Change has planned leading up to Aug. 9 — marking two years since Michael Brown Jr. was shot and killed in the street outside the apartments by a Ferguson police officer. The 50 or so people on the walk were there to support CFC, the family foundation set up by Michael Brown Sr. to memorialize his son and to help others.
Locals were joined by families from around the country who also lost loved ones to police and community violence. Those whose families were there include Oscar Grant, Cary Ball Jr., Jamyla Bolden and Andrew Joseph.
Beginning in the street in front of Canfield Green Apartments where Brown was killed, the assembly walked in the street, escorted by St. Louis County and Ferguson police on West Florissant Avenue to Lucas and Hunt Road. The walk concluded at St. Peter's Cemetery where Brown is buried.
"This is why we are here, to show Mike some love, you know, just trying to move forward," Michael Brown Sr. said, addressing those who made it to the end of the walk. "I appreciate y'all listening and encouraging the family, we really need y'all, thank you for all the fathers, everyone who's out here. We appreciate you."
"We love you Mike!" the crowd responded in unison.
Back at the Canfield Green Apartments, after the walk had ended, Lezley McSpadden, Michael Brown's mother, was joined by a few dozen people and the "Rainbow of Mothers" — women who have lost children to police violence including the mothers of Tamir Rice, Sandra Bland, and Eric Garner. The women walked down Canfield Drive to the spot where Michael Brown Jr. was killed, standing behind a banner that reads “We Will Rise.”
McSpadden's march was a separate event from Chosen for Change's walk but with the same goal of honoring her son's life.
The mothers ended their march and reconvened for a panel discussion at Christ the King United Church of Christ. They briefly crossed paths with some who had been in the Justice Walk, who were back at Canfield Green Apartments retrieving their cars to meet at Greater St. Mark Family Church. There, Chosen for Change hosted a post-walk community day with food, live entertainment and local vendors.