The grinding poverty in Mike’s world only allowed Normandy High School to acquire two graduation gowns to be shared by the entire class. The students passed a gown from one to the other. Each put the gown on, in turn, and sat before the camera to have their graduation photographs taken. Until it was Mike’s turn.
But Mike wouldn’t be graduating in May with the rest of his class. There were additional class credits he needed to acquire and final exams yet to pass. So, Mike worked throughout the summer, every single day, to earn that diploma. According to his teacher, John Kennedy, Mike pushed himself hard:
Mike Brown didn’t have it easy, Kennedy said.
At the school’s alternative program, Kennedy was always the first one in the building. The place would be empty. He’d unlock the doors at 7 a.m. and he’d always find Brown standing there, smiling. Classes didn’t start until 8 a.m. But Brown was there. First one in the door.
On Tuesday, Kennedy, who has taught at Normandy for 19 years, struggled to reconcile that memory with how his former student was now part of a national debate, his death the spark for unrest in the streets. It wasn’t supposed to turn out like this. Not for Mike Brown.
This is a brief glimpse of Michael Brown’s life and achievements. In a haunting Facebook post, just days before his murder, Mike Brown wrote: “If I leave this earth today, at least you’ll know I care about others more than my damn self.”
His death is another issue entirely and can only be understood against of the backdrop of poverty and racism in America. There are plenty of discussions going on here and across the nation about that.
None of these discussions will change anything in America any more than the endless discussions about Sandy Hook changed anything. It’s war. The American Civil war. And it has been raging for 160 years.
The question then arises: “Why bother to blog about it? What is the point?”
Quite coincidentally, I ran across a statement today on another blog, where the owner answered that question. I was very moved by what he had to say:
Today is my 70th birthday. That means for me that it is time to think about the last part of my life….
My generation has left an awful legacy to the young. As you well know dear Reader, there is little that any one person can do to change things….
But, life is fluid and even tiny changes in one part of the universe can affect other parts in ways we cannot possibly comprehend.
When we act, we do it because we hope and believe that a known effect or effects might come from our actions.
So it is with no more than faith that I throw my blog, this tiny pebble in the ocean of human thought, hoping that somehow, something I say may indeed make it better for generations to come.
Therefore, I am going to throw The Tiny Pebble, below, into the ocean of opinions about whether or not the US and its militarized police are engaged in a civil war against minorities and the poor in America.
Who knows? It might make a difference.