The Road to Ferguson

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The fatal shooting of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old college bound African-American, by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri set off nights of clashes between police and protestors. It also tore open old wounds for the nation.

For the past few years it is a scene we have watched unfold again and again here at Youth Radio, both from afar—the killing of Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Florida in 2012—and in our own backyard—the death of Oscar Grant at Oakland’s Fruitvale Station on New Year’s Day 2009.

Over the past two weeks we’ve seen the national press descend on Ferguson. In the eyes of some community members and reporters, this scrum has developed into a problem all its own. Youth Radio has yet to have anyone on the ground, but that will change next week.

Why go to Ferguson now that some of the press is pulling out and the citizens there have become wary of all the attention? Because of the stories and points of view that we haven’t seen enough of.

Michael Brown was 18 years old, college bound, and black. These traits gave him a lot in common with many of our students in Oakland. Youth Radio examines the world through the eyes of young men and women like him. We cannot not go to Ferguson.

Youth Radio will be there for the day of the funeral, which coincides with the day school resumes. Our reporters will be meeting with young artists and students. We will observe what’s happening on the streets and in conversations among young people and with their families. We’ll file stories that reveal how the youth of Ferguson are responding, organizing, and finding creative ways to express what they see and want to say, and what they think needs to change.

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