Mpls women head to Ferguson to protest, raise money
From left to right, Margaret, Illuebbey, and Luby prepare before protesting in Ferguson.
As Jes Luby watched TV news coverage from home during one of the first nights of protests in Ferguson, Missouri, following the officer-involved shooting of Michael Brown, she broke down crying.
Soon, she and two Minneapolis friends -- Britta Margaret and Mickey Iluebbey -- were driving down to Missouri to raise money for the protesters and to take part themselves.
ACLU-MN director on Michael Brown: "Ferguson is maybe the canary in the coal mine"
Luby, Margaret, and Iluebbey arrived in Ferguson around midnight Tuesday morning, and stayed until Thursday. During that time, they raised about $2,500 via PayPal, with then money being spent on bottled water, first aid gear, tear gas treatments, and other items for protesters.
Those supplies were stored at the Greater St. Mark Family Church, which served as a headquarters for protesters and those supporting them until it was raided by police on Wednesday afternoon:
The church we've brought our supplies to in #Ferguson is currently being raided by police WHY?????????-- Britta (@brittaplease) August 20, 2014
We asked them what surprised them about their experiences in Missouri.
"How very few protesters were there," Margaret replies. "There were more police than protesters. It felt like the town was occupied."
During their first full day in Ferguson, video emerged of St. Louis cops fatally shooting Kajieme Powell less than four miles away from where Brown was gunned down.
Asked about how they reacted to that footage, Iluebbey says, "I thought, this is why we're doing this. They shot another young black man, then handcuffed his dead body."
Though some predicted that Powell's shooting would reignite unrest in the area, the protests continued to wind down. Iluebbey says she was disappointed, but understood that people needed to get back to their day-to-day lives.
"We need people to keep caring, and [protesting] until this thing is resolved," she says, alluding to the frustration many protesters felt about the fact that the officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, hasn't been charged with any crimes in connection with Brown's death.
Margaret says that during her three days in Ferguson, she didn't see any protesters throwing Molotov cocktails or acting violently toward police in any way.
Every single person who knows I came to #Ferguson says "be safe/careful" the only people that I am afraid of here are the police. Period.-- Britta (@brittaplease) August 20, 2014
That said, Luby did say there was a faction of out-of-town protesters who came to Ferguson "just to unleash outrage."
A day or so after their return to Minneapolis, we asked the women what lessons they took from the experience.
"It is and it isn't about Michael Brown," Margaret says. "It's a longstanding, systemic problem. Ferguson could happen anywhere."
"Black and brown lives have no worth," Iluebbey adds. "Police are like that everywhere."
To see videos and photos shot by the women during their time in Ferguson, click to page two.
All photos via Britta Margaret's Tumblr.
(For more photos, click to page three.)
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