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How one activist came to learn the answer to the question: ‘Whose Streets?’

On Aug. 9, 2014, Brittany Ferrell was shaken to her core.

Just a day after arriving in New York City on a trip, the St. Louis native sat on the bed of an Airbnb she was renting, scrolling through Facebook on her phone. She stumbled upon a post from someone from high school.

“The police just killed an 18 year old kid and he’s still laying in the street,” it read.

Confused, noticing no one else on her feed had posted the information, she closed Facebook and opened Twitter. A user with the handle @TheePharoah was being constantly retweeted onto her timeline. The St. Louis-area rapper was live-tweeting the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black 18-year-old killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Mo. He posted a picture of Brown’s lifeless body stretched out in the street, where it would stay for four hours.

“She was the person who was galvanizing this energy,” she said. “It’s not a coincidence though she was on the front lines, because living life at those intersections as a black queer woman, you have so much on the line. You can feel her energy through the screen.”

Meanwhile, back in Ferguson, the news cameras are long gone but fraught racial ties between the community and police persist. Ferrell is on probation for 2½ more years for blocking a highway during a demonstration. She describes the socio-political atmosphere of the area she calls home simply: “A mess.”

Still, she clings to a chant she’s committed to memory since taking to Ferguson’s streets a full three years ago.

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom. It is our duty to win. We must love and support each other. We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Get your life! Follow me on Twitter (@TrevellAnderson) or email me: [email protected].

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