Across America, in cities large and small, people came together to silently remember Michael Brown, a teen none knew in life but whose death Saturday sparked a wave of unrest in his Missouri hometown and raised questions about racial profiling.
Attendees wore red ribbons to honor Brown, 18, at rallies from Maine to Michigan, Florida to New York, Vermont and California. Many came to share their stories of alleged police brutality, and call for a new compact between officers and civilians.
Brown, who was black, was shot dead by a white police officer Saturday night in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson. While local police have released few details about the circumstances of Brown's death, his body lay in the street for hours. His death has drawn increasing national attention, first from civil unrest by furious residents, and then an increasingly heavy-handed police presence fueled by heavy social media attention.
Hundreds of people attended vigils at the University of South Florida in Tampa, and students from Florida State University and FAMU attended another at the state Capitol.
Kenny Wiley, a youth minister who helped organize Denver's vigil, said Brown's death is the most recent demonstration of what he called the "systemic inequality" facing young black men in America. Wiley, who is black, said the system feels stacked against some people who pay the price with their lives.
"It wasn't in our city, but this is our country, our world," said Wiley, 26. "We want to stand up and say enough is enough, and to mourn those who have lost their lives."
In Greenville, S.C., about 200 people, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, gathered on a plaza in front of the Peace Center for the Performing Arts to observe the moment of silence, to pray and to rally against police brutality.
Eric Wood, a white 51-year-old business owner from Greenville, held up a sign that said "Remember!" and "Protect & Serve. No one is above the law."
"I'm a law-and-order guy," he said. "I believe in the police, but there are bad cops."
Ryan Thomas, a 31-year-old auto technician from Greenville, said he felt that if he didn't take a stand here, far from Ferguson, Mo., that something like what happened to Brown could happen in Greenville.
"It's a problem everywhere," he said. "It's not just one city, one state."
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