Requiem for Michael Brown at St. Louis Symphony Hall

October 6, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper |


The night of October 4, at Powell Symphony Hall in St. Louis, right after intermission, the conductor raised his baton to begin the Brahms Requiem. Then a man in the audience stood up and began singing in protest and in honor of Michael Brown, the unarmed, Black 18-year-old shot and killed by Ferguson police on August 9. A woman with an operatic voice a few rows away joined him. Then many others throughout the hall, of all nationalities, stood and began singing too. Their song was “Which Side Are You On?” a miner's union organizing song written in 1931—with added lyrics about Michael Brown. They sang: "Which side are you on, friends, which side are you on? Justice for Mike Brown means justice for us all." They sang beautifully, with great feeling and great harmony.

As they sang, banners were unfurled from the balcony that read: “Requiem for Mike Brown, 1996-2014,” and “Racism Lives Here” beneath a portrait of Mike Brown. The protestors then marched out, chanting "Black lives matter" and red paper hearts were scattered over the edge of the balcony that read: "Requiem for Mike Brown, May 20, 1996 – August 9, 2014."

You can go up to YouTube to see and hear this.


Some in the audience seemed disturbed or perplexed. But many others applauded along with some of the St. Louis Symphony musicians. And the conductor, Marcus Stenz, stood respectfully during the protest.

One of the organizers, Derek Laney, quoted in the Washington Post, said, "It went to show that there are people among that crowd who think that the protests matter, and that it's not okay to just kill black children, and they'd be receptive to hear that message." He went on to say that protesters wanted to "speak to a segment of the population that has the luxury of being comfortable. You have to make a choice for just staying in your comfort zone or will you speak out for something that's important. It's not all right to ignore it."

This inspiring and creative action broke into mainstream news—including coverage on “all-news” radio in the area.

This protest came 56 days since the shooting of Michael Brown—as evidence of murder piles up. But still the cop, Darren Wilson, who killed Michael Brown, is not indicted and is still walking free!

Thanks to readers who contributed to this story.


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