August 9, 2016 marks the two-year death anniversary of Ferguson, Missouri teen Michael Brown. Brown’s lifeless body laid in the middle of a street after former Officer Darren Wilson shot him 12 times.  Onlookers captured the gruesome scene, to be shared millions of times. He would be the first of many to suffer the same fate.

As much as we would like to think that his death was an isolated incident, we know it isn’t. Those hired to protect us are killing us, although we are made to believe otherwise. Mike Brown was a wake-up call.

Two years later, young black lives have become graves. We have been in grave danger for two years.

In her book, Brown’s mother, Lesley McFadden walks readers through the teen’s last day.  She opens up about the feeling of arriving at what had become a crime scene, describing the horror of seeing her son’s bloody body. When I think of her story I think of Philando Castile and how his girlfriend was smart enough to record the encounter. But just like Brown’s mother, she had to look at what was left of her boyfriend’s bloody body. For every Michael Brown there is a Philando Castile Alton SterlingEric GarnerLaquan McDonaldPaul O’NealSandra BlandKorryn Gaines, Tamir Rice, Johnathan Ferrell, Freddie Gray and countless others who were killed at the hands of an officer who swore to protect and serve.

Because of cities like Ferguson and stories like Brown, there is a new revolution brewing and it’s coming from black millennials. The sounds of our pain and frustration have made the world uncomfortable and that’s what we will continue to do.

Stop killing us.

Death has found its place next to us, resting comfortably in the passenger seat every time we are pulled over. It kneels beside us as we sell CDs outside of a convenience store. We have become to accustomed to death being the promised end when a warrant is being served.

In two years, we have also realized that technology is our friend in the face of social injustices. Social media has allowed us to make our voices heard and provides the mobilization for young black people to connect with other young blacks who are sick and tired of being sick and tired. We are tired of asking, “Am I next?” just because the melanin in our skin brings out the fragility and insecurity of others. We have used technology to hold police departments accountable and ensure officers are investigated for excessive force. We have registered voters and informed them of their voting rights even when states like North Carolina try to strip us of them. We have found a way to be vocal in less than diverse spaces. We have taken on police peacefully, even though we were met with force and resistance.

Most importantly, we have used technology to show the rest of the world what we have known all along, “Racism’s still alive, they just be concealin it.” Be that as it may, our blackness will not be silenced. The proof is in the movement. Black lives mattered two years ago just as it does today.

In two years, we have become wiser. We are socially conscious. We are resilient. As for the rest of America, it’s time to catch up.

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