Since August, several cities have been at the center of protests about policing and race, says NPR. Activists in Ferguson, Mo., demonstrated for months after the shooting death of Michael Brown. They have demanded resignations and pushed for new laws in what organizers say is the start of a national movement for justice. Co-chair Michael McPhearson of the Don’t Shoot Coalition, a collection of 50 activist groups. says the coalition is working to keep a national spotlight on the issue of policing in communities of color. He acknowledges there are struggles regarding coordination, funding and internal disputes, but says there’s a lesson to be learned from the movement of more than 50 years ago.
“If you look at the civil rights movement — and we tend to romanticize the civil rights movement — it took over a decade for it to manifest the outcomes it was looking for,” he says. “It didn’t just happen. It wasn’t like a six-month thing and then it was, you know, we got all the civil rights that we’re still fighting for right now.” A big advantage of today versus those earlier times, some organizers say, is the ability to use social media to make connections — there’s no need to wait for cameras to show up to get a message out.