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On his 25th birthday, Michael Brown’s mother reflects on his life and her ongoing fight for justice

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Lezley McSpadden-Head, the mother of Michael Brown. (Courtesy of Vanessa Charlot)

Michael Brown lay on the pavement for hours under the hot sun that summer day in 2014, fatally shot by a White Ferguson, Mo., police officer. Eight days earlier, the 18-year-old graduated from Normandy High School and was on his way to Vatterott College, a technical school.

“At the time, his father was doing HVAC, so he wanted to try that,” says Lezley McSpadden-Head, Brown’s mother. “But he really was into computers [and] wanted to be a producing engineer.” She said her son had hoped to one day pursue a career in the music industry.

Brown would have turned 25 on Thursday and this week his alma mater celebrated his life, committing to promoting social justice awareness and civic engagement at the school and in the city.

I need to see equality; I need to see the officers who have chosen to be in the profession, who have chosen to wear the badge and have chosen to serve and protect be held accountable. We weren’t given a choice. I didn’t choose for my son to die. I didn’t choose to become a mother of the movement. I didn’t choose to become a civil rights activist.

Lezley McSpadden,
Mother of Michael O.D. Brown

Coverage from The Washington Post