A lot has changed in Ferguson, Missouri since the tragic killing of Michael Brown Jr. But despite the reforms, changes to the police force, and a new district attorney, the pain of that August day in 2014 still haunts the community and the father who was forced to bury his namesake far before his time.
In Ferguson Rises, a new film streaming now on PBS by director/producer Mobolaji Olambiwonnu and David Oyelowo, the world gets a glimpse of the pain Michael Brown Sr. endured after the death of his son, and how his community rallied around him to fight for justice.
“With Ferguson Rises, I have tried to convey several things: the reality of what happened that day in Ferguson and what happens to Black people on a continual basis; the generally unrecognized human suffering; the rarely seen vulnerability and the strength of Black fathers and Black men in this country; the common humanity that we all share; and the reframing of our suffering into hope, togetherness and action,” Olambiwonnu said in a statement shared with EBONY. “I also hope that through the stories of Michael Brown Sr. and the community of Ferguson, we can learn not to judge things and people on a surface level. And perhaps most importantly, I hope the film reminds America of all that they can learn from Black people when it comes to resilience, strength and faith. With this mindset, we can then stop harping on the pathologies of Black Americans, and rather, focus on honoring their contributions.”
Michael Brown was one of many unarmed Black men whose lives ended at the hands of the police. Two years after Trayvon Martin and six years before George Floyd, his story gripped headlines and set off protests across the country. But it was the community of Ferguson who took to the streets for 400-plus days straight to keep his name lifted up, never to be forgotten among a sea of Black men and women who were taken from this world by those who swore to serve and protect. Ferguson Rises shines a light on their tenacity and fortitude to fight for change despite the odds.