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Government, Politics & Issues

Ferguson, one year later: What’s changed for you?

Clockwise from the upper left: Janice Thomas, George Lenard, Greg Gibson and John Powell.
Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio
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Clockwise from the upper left: Janice Thomas, George Lenard, Greg Gibson and John Powell.

Part 1 of 5

The shooting death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, by a police officer in Ferguson brought the eyes of the world to St. Louis. But it’s the people who live in the St. Louis area who were impacted most directly.

Now that a year has nearly passed, St. Louis Public Radio is exploring how Brown’s death affected individuals and the region as a whole. We're discussing a different question every day this week, and we invite you to join the conversation. 

Today's question: What's changed for you since the death of Michael Brown?

Did conversations in the break room  at work change? Did it cause you to change your mind about anything? Hurt your livelihood? Motivate you to change careers or where you live? Influence your behavior? Did it change the way you talk to your friends or family? Whatever your response, we'd love for you to be part of the conversation.

Here’s what a few people have had to say so far.

“I’ve spent a lot more time talking with my lighter-hued neighbors in the hope of bringing some understanding to them about the impact of racism and the impact of colorism and the impact of privilege in our community. Unfortunately I’ve been both saddened and encouraged in those conversations.” — Janice Thomas, St. Louis
Janice Thomas is a contractor from St. Louis.
Credit Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio
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Janice Thomas is a contractor.

“My biggest insight this past year was that I was lulled into what I would call a blissful ignorance about race problems in America, not just in Ferguson, even though I’m a social justice teacher.” — John Powell, Ferguson        
John Powell lives in Ferguson and teaches theology at Villa Duchesne, a Catholic school for -12 grade.
Credit Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio
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John Powell teaches theology at Villa Duchesne, a Catholic school for girls in 7-12 grade.

john_q1.mp3
John Powell talks about what's changed for him since the death of Michael Brown last year.

I’ve come to a much better understanding of the pervasiveness of white supremacist racism in this country, and the many ways in which the protest chant “the whole damn system is guilty as hell” is truer than I really wanted to believe it (was). When I first was marching that was one that really hurt me to say because I’m a lawyer; I’m a part of that system. ­­ – George Lenard, University City
George Lenard is an attorney who took to the streets after the death of Michael Brown.
Credit Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio
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George Lenard is an attorney who took to the streets after the death of Michael Brown.

george_q1.mp3
George Lenard talks about what's changed for him since the death of Michael Brown.

“I don’t know if anything has changed for me. I think it’s also important that if you were to look through this from the prism of a white person versus a black person, you might see this through two different prisms.” — Greg Gibson, Breckenridge Hills
Greg Gibson is director of sales for Tape 4 LLC.
Credit Sarah Kellogg | St. Louis Public Radio
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Greg Gibson is director of sales for Tape 4 LLC.

greg_q1_3.mp3
Greg Gibson talks about how the death of Michael Brown has impacted his life.

Do you have thoughts of your own to share? Continue the conversation in the comments section below, or become a source for St. Louis Public Radio through the Public Insight Network, which is how we received  the responses above. Tell us: What has changed for you, one year later? You may also see the complete responses from these sources and others. 

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.