Real Change after Ferguson: What We Can Do

August 28th 2014

Alece Oxendine

Michael Brown was laid to rest earlier this week. Since the bulk of contention in Ferguson, MO has subsided, we can now really talk about how to prevent this from happening again. The appearances of Rev. Al Sharpton and other Civil Rights activists in Ferguson are great in building morale, but in my opinion, millennials hold the key to making real change.

Because of the power of social media, Mike Brown’s murder was live-tweeted, #BlackTwitter has become a formidable watchdog in ensuring that media coverage is fair, and the first reporter on the scene was able to update the world via her personal Instagram account. 

The millennial-driven organization Dream Defenders was founded after Trayvon Martin’s death and continues to stay relevant with their #HandsUp campaign.  They are proof that organizing millennials can happen after a tragedy. Dream Defenders have assembled a realistic list of demands that include asking Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama to meet with black youth around the country. Another demand is that the police force diversifies not only in Ferguson, MO, but around the country so that law enforcement reflects the communities they serve. Since the unemployment rate for millennials is 15.2%, maybe more young people can apply to be on police forces. 

So what can we do?

  1. Keep retweeting and sharing stories that you feel fairly represents the situation in Ferguson
  2. Register to Vote and don’t just vote in presidential elections!
  3. Apply to be on your local police force or public safety board
  4. Support organizations like Dream Defenders and the ones that will come after
  5. Become knowledgeable about your rights when engaging with police including recording police officers