Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hundreds Pack History Museum in St. Louis to Discuss Michael Brown's Death; FERGUSON POLICE SHOOTING [Corrected 08/27/14]

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Hundreds Pack History Museum in St. Louis to Discuss Michael Brown's Death; FERGUSON POLICE SHOOTING [Corrected 08/27/14]

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * Hundreds of people of different races, different religions, all ages and varied communities filled the Missouri History Museum on Monday night not to study history but to make it.

The crowd filled the main foyer and overflow rooms, and packed staircases and the balcony.

They were there for a town hall meeting hosted by the museum to discuss the meaning and positive opportunities arising from events in Ferguson, and the death of Michael Brown.

Executive Director Francis Levine said the museum wanted to offer "a safe space" for discussion. The event was sponsored by the activist group BK Nation and its leader, Kevin Powell, and the community organization Project Engage Network.

Levine asked for "a moment of silence and respect" on the day that Brown was laid to rest by his family.

"The past 17 days have been fraught with pain and loss and anger," she said. "Today we turn our gaze inward."

Powell, of New York, who was the main speaker and moderator for the event, then urged the crowd to find ways to combat racist attitudes and behaviors and promote political and social change.

"No one is going to do it, but the people," Powell said. "Nothing will be done until we come together as sisters and brothers."

Powell said that included people of different races and backgrounds. He said his message over the years has been to call for progressive, multicultural change.

"This is not a game to us," he said. "This is our lives."

Powell spoke of his own life as an African-American teenager in New Jersey. Just because "we walk a certain way, we talk a certain way wear our caps a certain way ... doesn't mean we don't deserve to live."

Many in the audience wore T-shirts that read: "#JusticeforMikeBrown."

Powell invited people in the audience to talk about their ideas for political organizing and positive action. Several dozen speakers had spoke passionately during the meeting, more than two hours long, and they continued to line up to speak while the audience applauded ideas for how to continue the dialogue. …

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