TESTIMONIES

The Truth comes in many forms: protest, song, theater, video, storytelling. We refer to these truths as testimonies because we believe it’s time to regard our voices and our experiences as valid, dignified and real.

 

Truth Telling in this context does not lay claim to all truth, but to exploring the multiple truths of those at the margins, of those often silenced, of those often overlooked.

 

 We hope these testimonies help nuance ideas of who these “criminals”, hashtags, and victims really were and really are.

 

And we hope you listen with an open and honest heart.

 

YOUTH SPEAK TRUTH

 

GAGE HENDRIX

Son of Kristine Kendrix

 

ARMANI BROWN

 

 

TRINITY, TRINIYA, TRINEITA WALKER

Sisters of Michael  Brown Jr.

 

RITA & VONDERRIT MEYERS SR.

Parents VonDerrit Meyers Jr.

 

BRANDON ANDERSON

Veteran, Life Partner was Victim Killed by Police

 

VALANAH SMITH

Youth Activist from Ferguson

 

SHANTE NEEDHAM

Sister of Sandra Bland

 

KRISTINE HENDRIX

Social Justice Activist, Suvivor of Police Brutality

 

CALVIN 'CAP' KENNEDY

Peacekeeper & Activist

 

TAVON RICE

Brother of Tamir Rice

 

CARLOS BALL

Brother of Cary Ball

 

DEJA JOSEPH

Sister Andrew Joseph

 

MYA AATEN-WHITE

Survivor of Militarized Police Shooting While Protesting

 

DHORUBA SHAKUR

Youth Leader & Community Activist form Ferguson

 

MICHAEL BROWN SR.

Father of Michael Brown Jr.

 

MELDON MOFFITT

Social Justice Activist and Member of the Lost Voice

 

CORI BUSH

Social Justice Community Activist & Candidate for U.S Senate

 

TONY TAYLOR

Mother of Carlos Ball

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Tavon Rice is the older brother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year old boy who was shot by a police officer from the Cleveland Police Department while playing with a toy gun.  His story conveys how different people experience trauma and loss in their own way and touches on the role of community support.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Gage Hendrix’s mother, Kristine Hendrix, was tased 3 times by St. Louis police officers at a peaceful protest about police brutality in Ferguson. Gage’s testimony illustrates bravery and courage, and his story illustrates a range of emotions young people experience when witnessing a parent stand up for truth.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Carlos talks about the death his second brother, Cary Ball, Jr. who died in a brutal police shooting in St. Louis.  His testimony addresses their close relationship. Carlos addresses the difficulty in grieving a loved one and coping with police brutality while also trying to organize for change.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Armani Brown talks about her father who was shot by police. Her experience with her loving father differs from the perception police officers hold of Black men and also addresses how continued police brutality of other members of the Black community retriggers the original trauma of violence and loss.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Deja Joseph’s 14 year old brother, Andrew, was removed from a state fair for helping a friend who was being detained by police. Andrew was dropped off by the officers on the side of a highway and was subsequently killed by a 19 year-old driver.  A criminal report was not filed nor were his parents informed of his death.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Tellers Trinity, Triniya, and Trineita Walker talk about their lives in the aftermath of their brother’s, Michael Brown Jr., untimely death following a police shooting. Their story conveys the mental health consequences of violence and the power of community to provide healing spaces.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Mya Aaten-White is a Howard University graduate and artist. She was shot in the head during a peaceful, youth rally 3 days after Michael Brown, Jr. was murdered in Ferguson. The bullet from her head was confiscated at the hospital after its removal and two months passed before a police report was filed. Overlooked by the media and not acknowledged by the police, Mya’s story speaks to the power of truth and love as healing and as way to move toward the future..

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Tellers Rita and VonDerrit Myers Sr. lost their son, Von Derrit Myers Jr. two months after Michael Brown, Jr. was shot.  VonDerrit Myers Jr. was shot by police at least 8 times, including 6 times from behind.  Their story illustrates patterns of police behavior that include targeting, mistreatment and violence based on race.  Rita and VonDerrit’s story addresses the need to build strong, unified solidarity amongst the diverse groups of the human family to combat police brutality and corruption against People of Color.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Dhoruba Shakur, a youth leader and community activist from Ferguson, took to the streets the day after the murder of Mike Brown, Jr.  Drawing from his position about gun ownership for protection and self-defense, Dhoruba promotes educating black communities about their rights.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Brandon Anderson shares how grief resulting from the shooting of his lifelong partner ignited his activism against police violence.  Brandon was originally dishonorably discharged from the military under “don’t ask-don’t tell” when he informed his commanding officer that his life partner was murdered by police. Later this was changed to an honorable discharge, he became a student at Georgetown University, and cultivated his activism in Ferguson, Missouri. He designed a crowd sourcing app to track police behavior called SWAT (Safety with Accountability and Transparency).  Users can document their experiences and share information about those interactions with others. In his testimony, Brandon shares how his life experiences - including his mother’s past abuse by police -  have impacted his ability to become a social justice activist and contribute to the liberation of others.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Mike Brown, Sr. is the father of Michael Brown, Jr., the youth who was fatally shot by police officers in Ferguson, MO on August, 9, 2014.  His son’s killing spawned a social and political movement against police brutality throughout the nation, including birthing a generation of social justice community activists who are working tirelessly for criminal justice reform and transformation.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Valanah Smith became a youth activist engaged in the protests in Ferguson following the shooting Michael Brown, Jr.  Valanah was harassed and arrested by police for protesting. Her story illustrates how her passion for justice became the impetus for understanding racialized violence and social justice.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Meldon Moffitt is a social justice activist and a member of Lost Voices, a local group founded after the shooting of Michael Brown, Jr.  Meldon’s story reveals how one individual’s passion for justice and empathy contributes to building a movement to dismantle racism and police violence.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Shante Needham is the sister of Sandra Bland. A high profile case, Sandra was arrested and incarcerated for a traffic violation and died in prison custody under suspicious circumstances. Her family and those who knew her share a different story from police and prison accounts.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Pastor Cori Bush, a social justice community activist and a nurse medic, underscores common Truth Teller themes of racism and its manifestation in police violence. Pastor Cori calls for solidarity among and between other communities of color who experience structural oppression and direct violence. From a place deep in her heart and from the depths of her voice, Pastor Cori brings the Truth Tellers together under the shelter of one common story.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Kristine Hendrix tells the story of how a peaceful action against police brutality in Ferguson turned into violence.  Kristine witnessed the arrest of protesters and recorded the mistreatment on a cell phone.  She was tased 3 times by police officers and experienced the physiological and emotional effects of shock and trauma resulting from the tasing.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Toni Taylor is the mother of 25 year-old Cary Ball, Jr. who was shot 21 times by two St. Louis police officers following a high-speed pursuit for the infraction of tinted windows in his car, a traffic violation in some states. According to Toni’s testimony, Cary had a gun which he threw into the bushes following the chase. He was found on the ground with his arms in the “hands up” surrender position. Not only did Toni learn about her son’s death through television rather than a direct call from the police, but she also was unable to view her son at the morgue. Following the shooting, the two police officers returned to work on the force.

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DESCRIPTION

 

Truth Teller Calvin ‘Cap’ Kennedy is an independently organized peacekeeper and activist who became involved in the protest movement after the shooting of Michael Brown, Jr.  He promotes the demilitarization of the police force.

 

FERGUSON AS TOLD BY US

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