Langston Hughes once wrote, ”Looks like what drives me crazy don’t have no effect on you. But I’m gonna keep on at it ‘til it drives you crazy, too.” That poem could serve as a mission statement for the Ferguson-based, youth-led organization Lost Voices. The ad hoc group came together in response to the fatal police shooting of Michael Brown. Its members didn’t know each other before the August 9 killing. They united after seeing one another almost daily on the front lines of protests.
Almost every day Lost Voices members hold a 7 p.m. demonstration and sleep outside in protest. They do traditional community work such as voter registration and public speaking. But they’re also experts at using social media to spread on-the-ground news, share strong messages and connect people. Some have endured tear gas and bullets. Some have lost their jobs. But like many grassroots groups, Lost Voices does its work unfunded. They count on support from their community and beyond.
Here, Lost Voices members Cheyenne Green, Dasha Jones, Melissa McKinnies and Meldon Moffitt talk about the Darren Wilson grand jury, police accountability–and how they sometimes feel like they can’t breathe.