When does a tragedy spark a movement?
One month after unarmed teenager Michael Brown's killing by a Ferguson, Missouri, police officer, this question is not academic.
Police violence against People of Color (and particularly young Black men) is, sadly, nothing new. Even in the last two decades, dozens of unarmed Black men have been killed by police. But what will change, and when?
Let's peek at a handful of all-American injustices that ignited sweeping transformation:
- Historians credit the killing of three Boston residents by British soldiers in 1770 with igniting the American Revolution.
-A fire the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911 killed 146 immigrant laborers. The tragedy led to the widespread adoption of labor and fire codes.
-A 1969 police raid on New York gay bar "Stonewall Inn," while not uncommon at the time, led to protests. The national registry of historic sites deems the event "the single most important event that led to the modern movement for gay and lesbian civil rights."
However, tragedy does not a movement make. Just ask all the men who died before Michael Brown.
Still, Ferguson residents seem determined to make our next list of successful protests. According to one woman,
Keep watching, America.