Five years after Ferguson, let’s make sure frontline activists don’t become ‘living casualties’

Vernon Mitchell, lecturer in American Culture Studies in Arts & Sciences


By the time of Michael Brown’s killing, Kayla Reed had dropped out of college and was working as a pharmacy technician in St. Louis, Missouri. Four years later, she was the strategist behind a highly sophisticated grassroots effort to oust the county prosecutor, Bob McCulloch, who failed to indict the officer who killed Brown.

This December, Kayla will graduate with a bachelor of arts degree from Washington University in St. Louis—less than 10 miles from Ferguson. Kayla is one of five leaders of the Ferguson Uprising that returned to college through a pilot project we designed at Washington University. We wanted to answer a simple but profound question: What happens when you fortify movement leaders’ strengths with academic credentials to impact change at scale?

Read the full piece in Fast Company.

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