Lezley McSpadden, the mother of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was killed by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, could make political history if she is elected to the suburban St. Louis city council Tuesday. If she wins, it would be a massive triumph for the upstart politician, whose son was gunned down Aug. 9, 2014.
McSpadden faces “incumbent Keith Kallstrom and Fran Griffin, who has been active on several Ferguson boards,” the Associated Press reported.
Since she lost her son, McSpadden has been active in creating change. She is part of the “Mothers of the Movement” and has been a voice in the national Black Lives Matter movement. She also endorsed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in early 2016 and testified for a Missouri Senate bill for increasing the use of police body cameras.
However, she has gotten some push back locally.
LaTasha Brown, president of the Southeast Ferguson Neighborhood Association, said McFadden has not gotten in touch with the community, according to the Associated Press.
“The 3rd Ward needs somebody who’s going to mingle with the people,” LaTasha Brown said recently. “You can’t make change from a distance. If you don’t know what your constituents are going through, if you’re not there to hear what they’re saying, how can you lead these people and make decisions for these people?”
Back in August, when McFadden announced she was running for Ferguson City Council on Canfield Drive, near the spot where her son was killed, she recounted the moment she learned about the shooting.
“Almost four years ago to this day, I ran down this very street, and my son was covered in a sheet. I learned to walk again, and this is one of my first steps,” she said before adding: “If a mother had to watch her son lay on the street for four hours, and watch our community be completely disrespected by the people we elected, what would you do? You would stand up and you would fight, too.”
McSpadden said she will focus on community policing, economic equality and access to health care for Ferguson’s children if elected. She was also calling on Missouri Gov. Mike Parson to reopen the investigation into her son’s killing.
This could be a sign of more progress coming to Ferguson. Back in August as well, Wesley Bell, an upstart candidate, beat longtime St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch in the Democratic primary. McCulloch was the St. Louis County Prosecutor for 27 years and never pursued charges against the officer who shot Michael Brown.