Mike Brown is My Brother and I Will Weep for Him

by Queen Muse

This morning, as I awoke and read about yet another day of unrest in Ferguson, the details of police throwing tear gas and smoke bombs on protestors, protestors ducking rubber bullets, and journalists being arrested while covering the chaos, Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On?" began to play in my head and I began to weep.

It took a while to get myself together, get dressed and go to work. And on my way, I tried to remember the last time I’d wept so hard.

Two weeks after Trayvon Martin was killed, I was in Washington, D.C. working as an intern in the White House Office of Communication. Having been assigned the task of gathering news clips that were relevant for the African-American constituency, I remember watching in awe as the number of news articles about the Martin case kept getting larger and larger. And then, on my 28th birthday, the 911 tapes were released.

I tried not to listen to the tapes. I told myself that I didn’t want to hear them, but I had to. And when I did, I went to the restroom and I wept like a child.

In two years’ time, I’d only cried uncontrollably twice; both were over the unnecessary killing of a young Black male.

In both instances, when I cried, I was asked, “Why I was crying over people I didn’t even know?” I balked at the question, but answered in similar fashion each time.

Too often we observe injustice in neighborhoods and nations other than our own through a distanced lens. We watch in horror the suffering, and shake our heads in disdain at looters and angry protestors. We say, ‘That’s their problem.’ But until we realize that their issues are our issues, that we should be just as angry and fed up as they are, that every time a young Black male gets gunned down in the street we lose a brother, a son, a father, an uncle, and a friend, we will never see progress.

I have nine brothers, and in my mind, Trayvon Martin or Mike Brown could’ve been any one of them. Every day I fear for the lives of my nine brothers. Knowing them personally, I know their whole beings, their humor, their anger, their fears, and their tenacity. But if one of them was shot down by a police officer, they’d be nothing more than another black boy gone. As we’ve seen in past instances, the media would scour their social media accounts to find the most ‘gangsta’ pictures they’d ever taken, and comb through their life history for every adolescent and teenaged mistake they’d ever made to make them look like they deserved to be murdered.

I didn't know Mike Brown. I don't know any of the people living in Ferguson; but I am filled with grief for them because they are my people.

Mike Brown is my brother. Ezell Ford is my brother. Trayvon Martin is my brother. Jonathan Ferrell is my brother. Oscar Grant is my brother. John Crawford is my brother. Eric Garner is my brother. And for the loss that we suffer in their absence, yes, I will weep for them.

Whether you live nearby or hundreds of miles away, you should be weeping for them too.

Queen Muse is a freelance writer whose passion for journalism is inspired by the interesting lives of everyday people. Her stories have been featured in several local publications including the Philadelphia Daily News, the Philadelphia Business Journal, and on NBC10.com.

Ever the sponge, Queen has participated in numerous educational opportunities and internships including a recent internship in the Office of Communication at The White House.  Queen has a B.A. and M.A in communication from La Salle University.  She does it all to make her 5-year-old daughter, Aniyah, proud.

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