Young Leaders from Ferguson Speak in Oakland

Young leaders in the ongoing struggle against police violence and injustice in Ferguson, MO spoke Tuesday night at Race and Faith II, "A conversation with Ferguson Activists, Oakland Leaders and Specials Guests on Race and Healing in America" at Shiloh Church in Oakland. (L to R): Taureen Russell; Tef Poe; Rev. Mike McBride of LIVEFREE MOVEMENT, who introduced the young people; Alexis Templeton; and  Brittany Ferrell. Photo by Ken Epstein.

Young leaders in the ongoing struggle against police violence and injustice in Ferguson, MO spoke Tuesday night at Race and Faith II, “A conversation with Ferguson Activists, Oakland Leaders and Specials Guests on Race and Healing in America” at Shiloh Church in Oakland. (L to R): Taureen Russell; Tef Poe; Rev. Mike McBride of LIVEFREE MOVEMENT, who introduced the young people; Alexis Templeton; and Brittany Ferrell. Photo by Ken Epstein.

By Ken Epstein

Four young leaders from Ferguson, MO were in Oakland this week to speak about their ongoing struggle for justice for Mike Brown, the 18-year-old young man who was killed on Aug. 9 by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson, who remains uncharged for the shooting.

The young people spoke Tuesday night at Race and Faith II, “A conversation with Ferguson Activists, Oakland Leaders and Specials Guests on Race and Healing in America” at Shiloh Church in Oakland.

Introducing the speakers were Michael McBride, pastor of The Way Christian Center in Berkeley, and Ben McBride, who have gone a number of times to Ferguson to participate in the protests.

Ferguson activist Alexis Templeton explained that she was “usually the person with the megaphone. He led the audience in a call and response. “Tell them what democracy looks like,” she called out.

“This is what democracy look like,” was the reply.

“I put every bit of anger I feel into the chants,” she said. “We have to make our anger have a purpose.”

Templeton is a member of Ferguson’s Millennial Activists United, a predominately women’s group.

Brittany Ferrell, a young mother with a six-year-old daughter, gave up her job and dropped out of nursing school to give everything to the fight for justice.

Alexis Templeton being arrested in Ferguson. "I've spent more time in jail than Darren Wilson," she said.

Alexis Templeton being arrested in Ferguson. “I’ve spent more time in jail than Darren Wilson,” she said.

“The work needs to be done in the community for the systematic justice that Black people are due – you can’t put that on pause,” she said.

Tef Poe with Hands Up United spoke about what Ferguson residents are up against.

“We’re not dealing with moderate racism – We’re dealing with unapologetic racism. The media does not show the blatant, disgusting racism of the Ferguson Police Department.

“They call us animals.”

Taureen “Torey” Russell, also with Ferguson Hands Up United, said it was regular “poor” people who stood up to the police.

“I didn’t see no race, no class, no sex. I saw hurt people, and that’s what they organized around that night – their pain.”

Other speakers at Shiloh included Wanda Johnson, mother of Oscar Grant, and Phillip Agnew of the Dream Defenders, a young leader in Florida who fought for justice in the killing of Trayvon Martin.

Courtesy of Oakland Post, October 24, 2014 (postnewsgroup.com)