The air is thick here in Ferguson.
Here, in my hometown, only 12 minutes from my house, the air is thick with racial tension, mounting distrust of authority, flowing tears of a community in grief and civil unrest and frustration with consistent injustice.
The air is also thick with tear gas.
By now, you’ve seen national news reports that tell you what I’ve known all my life: North County can be especially dangerous for black folk. Black men. Young black men. Young black men like Mike Brown.
Last Saturday, our young brother Mike, in whom his mother had placed her hopes and dreams, was murdered at the hands of someone meant to serve and protect, but who for decades has only been seen as one who intimidates and terrorizes.
Years earlier, my brother’s first encounter with police brutality occurred in a neighborhood with an eerily similar reputation, directly adjacent to Ferguson. My father, a well-respected Pastor and College Professor was thrown against the hood of his imported car and beaten as my brother watched, screaming and crying from the backseat.
My brother was 5.
That was 20 years ago.
In those 20 years, the story has remained the same. Strike that. The story has actually changed. It is now deadly.