Herdosia Bentum, Ferguson Activist

On the Ferguson uprising and the national epidemic of police violence: 

What happened that day was as intense as it was on television. It was in my backyard. It looked like something you’d see in another country. I never in my life thought I’d see that. It was so intense that it shook me woke. I don’t know how you can sleep through it and not be on the streets if you see the military come for your nephew, your family. The people I see everyday who shop with me were being attacked because they’re standing up for their rights. The media told the one sided story if anything, but  I wouldn’t say it was over dramatic. They made it look as if the militarization was justifiable. I never even once heard anyone talk about how the uprising happened. That day, I left work and I got off at 5 to Canfield Drive where Mike was killed to see everyone hanging out. People were sitting there and talking about how we’ve been treated for so long. Everyone was exchanging stories. And the police came and called people monkeys and said we couldn’t stand there and console each other. And the people came out because of what they saw on Facebook. People came from everywhere just to be together. Nobody planned in their head that we were gonna do anything. They egged it on, “oh you monkeys, you niggers, you don’t have a right.” And before you know it it just exploded.

And our oppressor wants us to look at these instances [of police brutality] as separate. If we ever once stop and connected the dots we’d realize that we never stopped being slaves. The system never changed and it never worked for us. It was never defined to look at us as humans. They don’t want us to connect the dots so they have to push the agenda by saying Mike Brown’s death was separate from all the other things.

On Black representation in politics:

We need to have people in office who have the better good of the people. If we are voting people in office we need to understand their politics and trace it back down to where the money is from and what the money is that they are pushing. It can’t just be because they are black. Someone that puts my kids before their kids. People have to really understand what neocolonialism means and understand that you can have a black face pushing white power. There is no gray area. You are either part of the oppression or not.

Ferguson is…America.