There were tears shed, prayers said and more than four minutes of silence observed Wednesday at the site of Michael Brown’s fatal shooting in Ferguson three years earlier.
Michael Brown Sr., who is encouraging people to also support other organizations that help local kids during this memorial week, was there at the Canfield Green Apartments in Ferguson.
“Aug. 9 will always be hard, because it’s in memory of Mike Brown Jr. and just remembering what happened to him,” the elder Brown said during the gathering. “But moving forward, we’ll be doing a lot of positive things in memory of his name.”
Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old, was shot and killed by former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who was white, during a confrontation in 2014. His death spurred evenings of protests in St. Louis and nationwide, and led Brown’s father to form the Michael Brown Chosen For Change Foundation.
As in years past, the crowd laid roses in the middle of Canfield Drive where Brown died, and observed four and a half minutes of silence, marking each hour his body lay in the street after he was shot.
A planned march to a nearby park didn’t happen occur, though friends and family still gathered there afterward.
Creating positive energy
This week, the foundation is supporting the work of other organizations, including Tuesday night’s annual “Can Skate” night for the Korey Johnson Foundation.
There, kids received backpacks filled with school supplies in exchange for canned goods, and a free night of skating at the Skate King in Pine Lawn.
Korey Johnson, the event’s founder, said that Chosen for Change reached out for permission to highlight the event on its website and Facebook page — and he welcomed it.
“This weekend is very, very important to him and if he wants to support us, I understand that, I have no problem with that. And I support him too,” Johnson said. “Nobody deserves to lose a child."
Brown said the events provide crucial safe spaces for the community. The skate night gave away 620 book bags.
"When I help people, it helps me. You know. I'm still going through a thing, and they are too,” Brown said.
The foundation also will be at a community healing event hosted by the Urban League on Friday, and a pool party a day later in memory of Jamyla Bolden, the 9-year-old who was killed by a stray bullet in Ferguson in 2015.
Brown said Wednesday that he appreciates the support he gets from the Ferguson community even though he and his son didn’t live there. The 18-year-old was visiting his grandmother when he was killed.
“Everyone showed a whole lot of love and support, and they moved forward with positive energy,” he said. “That’s what we need around our city.”
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If you go:
What: Community healing event
When: 6-8 p.m. Friday
Where: Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis, 8960 Jennings Station Road, Jennings
What: Jamyla’s Back to School Pool Jam
When: 12-6 p.m. Saturday
Where: Dellwood Recreation Center, 10266 W Florissant Avenue, Dellwood