There Is Some Good Coming Out Of The Ferguson Protests

Fatimah Mazhar
It’s not all gloom and doom. The past few weeks have undoubtedly been really difficult for the residents of Ferguson, Missouri.

However, some underreported events and developments show glimpses of a silver lining.

After Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon issued a local state of emergency and put a nighttime curfew in Ferguson on Saturday, peaceful protests continued to condemn the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown.

However, things flared up once again after a preliminary, independent autopsy report obtained by The New York Times was published, revealing a police officer named Darren Wilson shot the unarmed African-American teen six times.

Tensions escalated to such an extent that global human rights organization Amnesty International had to send a delegation to the United States for the first time since its inception in 1961.

Newspapers and websites are rife with stories and videos citing either the looting by protesters or how the law enforcement officials are using militarized force to stop the demonstrations.

But there are some people who are taking positive steps to help improve the situation that has created some of the worst human rights issues in the recent history of the United States.

Let’s – for now – focus on those individuals who are trying to do some good in their own little ways.

State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson’s speech

An increasingly militarized police force did nothing to ease tensions in the troubled neighborhood. In fact, it made matters worse.

However, when Highway Patrol Capt. Ron Johnson was put in charge of the police response last Thursday, people started feeling a lot more hopeful – especially after his riveting speech at a memorial for Brown at the Greater Grace Church in Ferguson. 

“I wear this uniform, and I should stand up and say that I’m sorry,” Johnson told the audience. “This is my neighborhood, you are my family, you are my friends, and I am you … I will stand and protect you, I will protect your right to protest.”

But not everyone thinks Johnson’s placement will be effective. Adam Serwer of MSNBC wrote the following opinion on Monday:

“An unequal system cannot be fixed merely by making a black person the face of that system. And if officials had hoped Johnson’s emergence would end days of confrontations between protesters and police, they were mistaken.”

 “Five-O” app to help document police brutality


In the wake of the protests, three teenagers from Georgia decided to shed light on the issue of police brutality.

16-year-old Ima Christian and her two siblings — Caleb, 14, and Asha, 15 — have created an app called "Five-O” designed specifically for mobile phones which will allow users to document police abuse and also rate an individual officer’s behavior with a grade ranging from A to F.

The app is already available for Android devices and should be on Apple’s iTunes Store soon.


“Feed the Students of Fergusonfood campaign


Julianna Mendelsohn, 33, started a Fundly campaign “Feed the Students of Ferguson” on Aug. 14 to raise money for the St. Louis Area Foodbank.

A schoolteacher from Raleigh, North Carolina, she was well aware of the fact that many children in the county rely on school for their free and low-cost breakfast and lunch.

"When I found out school had been canceled for several days as a result of the civil unrest, I immediately became worried for the students in households with food instability," Mendelsohn wrote on the site. "With school out, kids are undoubtedly going hungry."

She successfully helped raise more than $70,000 in just five days to feed the children of Ferguson, according to

Palestinian solidarity

Following the brutal police response in Ferguson, Palestinian activists took to Twitter with their support and helpful tips on dealing with common problems – tear gas and rubber bullets for instance – that protesters are most likely to face.


Volunteers cleaning up after violence

Last but not the least, the real heroes, a bunch of responsible residents came out to clean up their community after the night of clashes with police and looting in Ferguson.

Angry demonstrations continued on Saturday and Sunday, but local residents volunteered to help clean their hometown – despite the fear of fresh clashes.



READ MORE: You Know Things Are Bad When Amnesty International Sends A Delegation To Ferguson