While Time magazine chose Ebola fighters as the 2014 “Person of the Year,” the runners-up include the Ferguson protesters whose “refusal to let a life be forgotten turned a local shooting into a national movement.”

The movement, as author Alex Altman writes in Time, has morphed and “migrated” to other parts of the nation and even other nations, with a momentum and a passion that will hopefully leave its mark on U.S. history and effect change. And though injustices, such as the failure to indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, have been piled upon one another, one thing seems certain now: The movement that begun in Ferguson and has grown to become something powerful and transformative, the movement that Time has chosen to honor, shows no signs of letting up.


Events that might once have slipped by unnoticed coalesced into points on a troubling graph. In late November, protesters took to the streets in Cleveland after police killed Tamir Rice, a black 12-year-old, within seconds of encountering him with what turned out to be a toy pistol in his hand. Less than two weeks later, protests cascaded across the nation when a New York City grand jury declined to indict the white police officer who choked Eric Garner, leading to the death of the unarmed black father of six suspected of selling loose cigarettes. The street chants and hashtags that started in Ferguson knit these isolated tragedies into an inescapable story line. “This is not a black-and-white issue,” said Garner’s daughter Erica. “This is a national crisis.”

…This outcry was better focused than Occupy, bigger than the one that followed the Trayvon Martin case. But like the reaction to Martin, it felt raw and real. The expressions of powerlessness that began on a Missouri sidewalk soon seeded the hopes of the powerful. “What happened in Ferguson,” Attorney General Eric Holder tells TIME, “could be one of those seminal moments that transform the nation.”

…The streets of Ferguson are mostly quiet now. The movement has migrated. #Blacklivesmatter has been joined by #icantbreathe—Garner’s final words before he died on that Staten Island street. Protesters chant both while marching through Times Square in New York City and Public Square in Cleveland. These are the sounds, activists say, of a new civil rights movement—a battle to reshape the relationship between the police and the people they are paid to protect. What started in a Missouri suburb may end with change that can be measured in lives saved.

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—Posted by Natasha Hakimi Zapata

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