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Untitled-1DEBORAH POTTER, guest host: In Ferguson, Missouri hundreds of people gathered this week to mark the two-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer. Brown’s death sparked protests all over the country and led to a national conversation about policing in African-American communities. It also fueled the movement known as Black Lives Matter. Pastor Traci Blackmon is one of its leaders:

REVEREND TRACI BLACKMON (Pastor, Christ the King Church): I think so often we forget because we are inundated with tragedies in our society that we move from tragedy to tragedy because it’s not personal, right? But if it’s personal to you, your life is forever changed by the death of that loved one.

MICHAEL BROWN SR: I’m still in pain, you know? I’m still going through and getting through the best way I can, and with the support of the community. That’s what helps me stand up still.

POTTER: Three months after Michael Brown’s death, violence erupted again in Ferguson when a grand jury declined to press charges against the police officer who shot him. Officer Darren Wilson was also cleared by the Justice Department, but its investigation found patterns of racial bias in Ferguson’s police and court system. Earlier this year, the city agreed to make sweeping changes.

BLACKMON: I always want to tell people that Ferguson erupted at a time when it had the eyes of the world on it, much like Birmingham, Alabama, which is where I’m from—when people saw from all over the country, all over the world what racial oppression looks like. That happened in Ferguson, too. But sometimes we get so caught up in that particular place that we don’t recognize that Ferguson is everywhere. So if you’re living in America right now there is a Ferguson near you, and I wanted people to remember that. We have a lot of work to do nationally.

Ferguson, Missouri Two Years On

In Ferguson, Missouri hundreds of people gathered this week to mark the two-year anniversary of the shooting of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, by a white police officer. Brown’s death sparked protests all over the country and led to a national conversation about policing in African-American communities. It also fueled the movement known as Black Lives Matter. We talk with Pastor Traci Blackmon of Christ the King United Church of Christ in suburban St. Louis, one of the leaders of Black Lives Matter.