Michael Brown: May 20, 1996 — August 9, 2014

Everything that could’ve been said has been said; everything that could’ve been done was avoided. Last night, Michael Brown was put on trial for his own murder. You will hear me repeat this a lot: what age is a black boy when he learns he’s scary? Millions learned last night.

Let’s focus on the good. Mike Brown was 18 years old, freshly graduated from high school. He was funny, silly, quiet and respectful, a gentle giant. He liked to take selfies. He liked to rap, and there is not a goddamned thing wrong with that. He is gone, but we cannot forget him.

If you are angry, like me, here are some things you can do. First and foremost, always and forever, register to vote. There is no excuse. You can contact your local representatives to implore them to require body cameras on every cop. You can sign petitions like the ACLU’s against racial profiling, or Change.org’s to protect communities from police violence. You can donate: organizations like Black Lives Matter and Operation Help or Hush are on using social media to garner change, the National Lawyer’s Guild is providing legal support to protestors, and the Ferguson library will remain open today even though schools are closed, to provide solace and shelter.

Keep thinking about Michael Brown. Keep thinking about Trayvon Martin, about Oscar Grant and Tamir Rice and Sean Bell, about so many others. Keep thinking about all those little black boys who never made it home, about all the little boys who are afraid to leave. But do more than think: do. “Let’s not just make noise,” as Brown’s family has implored us. “Let’s make a difference.”

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