You can also follow his Facebook Page Justice for Mike Brown - Charleston
Alright folks, I am sorry for the social media blackout. My charmingly shitty hotel has an internet connection that makes a man want to break things. Also, I've just figured out that I won't be able to post any of the photos I took yesterday until I get home, because my tablet does not seem to handle RAW files. I will try to post some video I took yesterday a little later.
Yesterday I arrived and hit the ground running. I got in to STL, after a 20 hour bus trip, and it took another hour and a half to get to Ferguson. I was pretty concerned when I first got into STL, as nobody downtown seemed to know or want to tell me how to get to Ferguson. Google told me how to get there, though, and I headed straight for St. Mark's church, where much of the protest organizing takes place. There I met people from all over the country, was given NLG training, and taken along to do a walking tour of West Florrisant (the street where all the action is) and the location of the Mike Brown shooting, now home to a mid-road memorial.
Some people have worn out their welcome here. Journalists have swarmed into Ferguson and many have treated Ferguson, its residents, and the protesters with immense disrespect. They crowd around people, push and shove, sneak pictures of people who have asked not to be photographed, have rented properties on the street and shut them off to residents, and have presented events in a slanted, jumbled way. Journalist is a four letter word here, and I have already more than once had to prove that I'm not a journalist before people would speak openly with me. The other group of people that are unwelcome to many residents are the Revolutionary Communist Party. Their goal in Ferguson is to create violent chaos, leading to a Communist revolution. They hijack marches, lead people into confrontations with police officers, and reek of fake concern for the people of Ferguson.
Last night, at about 7, after an orientation from the local organizer, I tagged along with NLG, keeping an eye on protester-police interactions and police presence in general. We walked from 7 til 2:00 am. It was damn near 100 degrees all day, and coming off a 20 hour bus trip and no sleep, and wearing the wrong shoes, your boy was falling apart, but I did my best to keep up. The RCP repeatedly rallied people into confrontational situations with the cops, despite little kids running in and out of the crowd, despite repeated pleas from Peacekeepers, clergy, nation of islam brothers, ad locals to chill out. Some locals did follow the RCP, as they shout crowd-pleasing rhetoric instead of Communist philosophy. There were several times throughout the night when police and protesters seemed like they were about to clash, but I must say, at least last night, the police showed some restraint. My theory is that there were feds in the crowd around the RCP, so the local cops stood down.
Needless to say, when got a ride back to the hotel at 2:30, my body was aching, I was dehydrated, and everything I own was drenched in sweat (still is). I apologize for the lack of updates, but yesterday I wanted to hit the ground running. I told everyone that people in Charleston were pulling for them, and I didn't want to be a slack representative, so I went hard. People are here from all over, mostly the bordering states, but I reckon I'm the only one from SC. I've got so much more to tell yall about the people I met yesterday, but you and I will have to settle for the above for now. Today am going to switch my cam to jpegs so I can more easily upload pics.
Doing my best to represent your care and concern for the people of Ferguson,
Editor's Note- The Daily Kos photobank images used with this post aren't from Brandon, who is an excellent photographer, but as his report notes, he'll be sharing images as his visit continues.