On Tuesday night, more than two dozen people gathered near the spot where Michael Brown Jr. was gunned down three years ago, on Aug. 9, 2014, to mourn and remember the 18-year-old whose life was taken from him and to reconstruct a makeshift memorial in the spot where he died.
“We can never forget this,” activist Meldon Moffitt told a group of residents and other community activists as they stood on the site. “This is ground zero.”
Brown’s death sparked months of protests and served as the catalyst to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that those who came out laid down teddy bears, lit candles and left other tokens in the street where Brown was shot and killed by then-Police Officer Darren Wilson, and constructed a memorial to replace past makeshift memorials not far from where a bronze plaque was installed to mark the site in 2015.
“I’m really delighted to see people come out here; it shows they haven’t forgotten,” Moffitt added, according to the Post-Dispatch. “As long as we support each other, all these lives—Mike Brown, Isaiah Hammett, Kajieme Powell, all of them—will be remembered.”
Moffitt has been a part of the demonstrations at the site where Brown was killed since the beginning, and he laments that despite all the cries of protest and demands for change, not much has changed.
“Where are the police and politicians tonight?” he said. “If they cared about the community, about making a difference, they would be here with us. They’re a part of this, too.”
Tammie Holland drove from South St. Louis with her 9-year-old daughter, Meadow, to visit the memorial on Tuesday, not really knowing that anyone would be there, but just hoping to say a prayer for Brown before returning home. Meadow was heartened to see others gathered at the site.
“It means a lot to me to be out here together, and not alone,” the little girl told the Post-Dispatch.
“I had to be here,” Holland added. “I thought, ‘I still have a voice. If people see me standing, maybe they’ll stand up, too.’”
Chad Jackson and his wife, Catrina, brought their 5-year-old son, Ashton—who laid down a teddy bear in honor of Brown—to the gathering as well.
“It’s so scary being the parent of a young black boy,” Catrina Jackson told the news site. “I hope that one day he won’t have to deal with this. I want things to change for him.”
Read more at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.