Ferguson, MO activist and rap artist Tef Poe gives us a behind the scenes look at milestone moments in the movement to get justice for Mike Brown.
I’m Tef Poe, I’m from St. Louis, MO. I’m a member of OBS (Organization for Black Struggle) and a founding member of Hands Up United.
In the early days of the organizing one of the key things about the Michael Brown and Ferguson situation is that most of us were regular people who had a call to action. We didn’t necessarily have a strategy behind this action or an umbrella for a united front. It was just we the people called to do something. I have background in music in St. Louis, so a lot of people in the hip-hop community knew me from that. We all combined forces and became a coalition of resources and knowledge. When we got to the field I met people like Tory Russell and started to go out to the field together on a daily basis. Eventually we met people from other cities.
There is a school in St. Louis ran out of Vatterott college, which is a trade school. I’ve been on a small college tour for them for the last three years. Mike Brown was scheduled to start school there on the following Monday. We organized a national college day of walk out to pay homage to the fact that that was supposed to be his first day.
I went to Memphis and then cancelled the rest of my participation [in the tour] when I heard about Mike Brown. It bothered me so much that when I was on the tour bus people kept asking me “What’s wrong, are you alright?” I just wanted to get back to St. Louis and get my feet back on the ground and organize…