The mother of Michael Brown, the teenager whose police killing in Ferguson, Missouri, sparked unrest in 2014 and was a major catalyst for the Black Lives Matter movement, said on Monday that she is considering running for Ferguson’s city council. Lezley McSpadden made her announcement during a panel discussion on police violence at Harvard University.
“We have to get behind people who look like us and get them in these elected seats so that they can really do what’s right by the community, and I’m going to start with me by running for Ferguson City Council,” McSpadden said to applause.
“What a legacy that would be—elected to the City Council and supervising the same police that killed Michael Brown,” added McSpadden’s attorney, Ben Crump, who was also on the panel. Crump is also representing the family of Stephon Clark, the unarmed 22-year-old shot and killed in March while he was in his grandparents’ backyard in Sacramento, California.
Ferguson’s residents are predominately black, but its city council and police department were both predominately white when Brown was killed. In April 2015, in the first municipal election following Brown’s death, Ferguson residents elected two black candidates to its city council, bringing the total number of black members on the six-member council to three.
Since her son’s death, McSpadden completed her high school diploma, wrote a book, and joined Hillary Clinton on the 2016 presidential campaign trail. If she runs, she would not be the first relative of a black victim of a recent, high-profile, race-tinged killing to do so. Lucy McBath, the mother of 17-year-old Jordan Davis, who was shot and killed at a Jacksonville, Florida gas station in 2012 by a white man upset about the volume level he was playing music in his car, announced earlier this year that she is running for the U.S. House of Representatives in her home state of Georgia. McBath told Mother Jones in an April interview that she dropped her standing bid for a seat in Georgia’s statehouse to enter the higher-profile House race after the Valentine’s Day high school shooting in Parkland, Florida.