Post-Feguson Follow Up With Ms. Gallagher


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#Ferguson”—Ms. Gallagher said that it was “Incredible.  Powerful.  Inspiring.” to see students representing the majority of the crowd. “It hit me that I’d forgotten this wasn’t just any protest of kids who supported a victim, someone who looked like they did, was their age, etc.  This was a protest of kids who knew, grew up with, and loved the victim at the center of this national story.” To take a look back at Ms. Gallagher’s tweets via @SupremeBystandr click here. For Ms. Gallagher’s own dissection of the trip, below is the beginning of her article for SupremeBystandr: “This idea of “psychological tourism” became one of many concerns that kept me up much of the night before I went to Ferguson. White tourism became my next fear. What if I come off sounding more privileged than I already look during my interviews and discussions? This seemed a forgone conclusion given my plan was to talk to residents about events that were likely going to reopen the emotional wounds of people who’d lost not only a son but also trust in law enforcement systems. I had to check myself this morning and ask if I really wanted this potentially perverse itinerary for the day:

  1. Talk to community members, activists, and protestors
  2. Try on their experiences
  3. Walk around in them for the day
  4. Empathize
  5. Transcribe these experiences
  6. Hand them back to their undeserving owners
  7. Catch my flight
To be frank, whether I wanted it or not, this is almost exactly what happened today. But, in doing this story justice, the best I can do is be honest and open about owning my privilege as a white person reporting the stories of black people. I can also be productive in my ownership of such benefits. If I felt gross about the to-do list, that was my issue to get over. That to-do list was less about others and more about me worrying about received perceptions and navigating contingencies in a community I assumed before I even got to Ferguson wouldn’t accept me. If I needed acceptance into that community for the day, I’d better shut up and figure out how to earn it because the black community in Ferguson, and around the nation, has to make contingencies in communities Every. Single. Day. I can do it for one day and what a privilege it is only having to do it for a day. This town is strong and I was awed by its spirit, mobilization, and agency. There is such warmth and positivity among people who’ve been beaten physically and emotionally for decades, according to my Ferguson guide, and unelected leader of the protest movement, Tony. I’m not going to use Tony’s full name to honor his wishes to keep the focus of the movement away from him and on Michael Brown. If you want to tap into the heart of the movement, follow him on Twitter (@Search4Swag). He is young, charming, and had friends in the crowd of every group and location we joined. Tony, his friend Natasha, and other members of the 24-hour vigil make sure every morning and evening that the glass is swept off the ground, the business owners are ok, and that the kids are never without an adult when they protest or encounter police.” To read the full article, click here .]]>