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Friday, September 19, 2014

St. Louis Rapper Tef Poe Pens a Piece on Ferguson for Time Magazine

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 3:43 AM

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The tireless Tef Poe, who just last week was given a "Salute to Excellence" award by the National Association of Black Journalists, has now written an article for Time Magazine about his experience on the streets of Ferguson in the wake of the shooting of unarmed teen Mike Brown by a police officer.

The piece, published this week on Time's website, decries racial profiling in St. Louis county as well as the police response to the unrest in Ferguson specifically. An excerpt:

During this time I've pulled children out of clouds of tear gas. I've witnessed white women who are members of the clergy collectively praying in front of tanks and armored vehicles. One of these women was mercilessly shot with a rubber bullet by the police while praying for peace. Our neighborhood was occupied by the police as if they were an invading army laying siege to their enemy and pillaging the remains. Our basic civil rights were stripped away as we were treated like cattle in the name of a sick, sadistic experiment in martial law.

See also: Tef Poe On Ferguson, His Hometown: "The Mike Brown Rebellion Has Begun"

He also takes President Obama to task for what Tef perceives as a woeful lack of action:

We assumed that our beloved, black president would come to our defense and speak about the perils of police brutality, racial profiling, and Mike Brown's unfortunate demise. Instead we felt as if he co-signed this unfair treatment and endorsed the brutal show of force the police displayed towards us. We are our only allies. No one in the world will stand up with us against such tyranny.

The sentiments expressed in the article echo those he has written for RFT Music in his award-winning column. An extremely active figure in the Ferguson and Mike Brown protests since the very first day of unrest, he has emerged as a young leader and source of information from the ground since the outset.

The day after Mike Brown's murder, I cried twice. The moment was so overwhelmingly massive, my mind couldn't process all of the anguish and anger. My grandparents endured this type of treatment so we wouldn't have to. Now, I suddenly have the same experience and first-hand connection to their struggle; something I doubt any of us ever anticipated. I want to make it clear more than anything else my emotions have grown unstable as a direct result of Mike Brown's murder and the ensuing presence of militarized police in our neighborhood. My generation had never before had to show up for the fight in the same manner our parents and grandparents did during the civil rights movement.

Be sure to read the full Time article here.

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