SAN FRANCISCO -- Michael Brown's father spoke in San Francisco on Monday evening, where he urged students to get an education and told of his own recently learned lessons on police violence.
“It really didn’t hit hard until it hit my own backyard,” Michael Brown Sr. said about the killing of his unarmed son in August by a white police officer in Ferguson, Missouri.
Weeks of protest in the Bay Area since a Missouri grand jury decided on Nov. 24 not to indict former Ferguson officer Darren Wilson for fatally shooting the 18-year-old lured Brown Sr. to San Francisco to express gratitude for the support and to show solidarity with demonstrators and students.
“I’m real tired of our kids getting misused and abused,” Brown told several hundred people at Mission High School. “I’m here to stand, stand strong, with you all to make a change."
On Sunday, Brown sent a similar message at Third Baptist Church in San Francisco, according to the Contra Costa Times.
Brown's trip to the West Coast shows his growing role as a public voice of opposition to police violence against minorities.
“Somebody’s got to stand up and take a stand,” Brown said in brief remarks, wearing a St. Louis Cardinals baseball cap and a T-shirt with photos of his son. “It’s my job and my duty to stand for all of us.”
In response to questions from the audience later, Brown called for outfitting all police with cameras.
Monday's event was organized by Mission High School’s Black Student Union with assistance from the local NAACP chapter, according to a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Unified School District.
Students and other members of the public swarmed Brown on stage for photographs at the end of speeches.
“With the current events going on, we thought that there should be a movement,” said 15-year-old sophomore Damaris Bonner, the Black Student Union’s minister of communications. “We are the youth, but we’ve got to be the example for the generation coming up.”
Bonner said classmates got the idea for inviting Brown after seeing “Selma,” the new film about the civil rights movement.
Sophomore Damaris Bonner speaking to students at Mission High School on Monday.
The stage was decorated with banners saying “Black Lives Matter. All Lives Matter,” and “I Can’t Breathe,” the dying words of Eric Garner when a New York police officer fatally choked him.
We are in a state of emergency, said Cephus “Uncle Bobby” Johnson, whose nephew Oscar Grant was unarmed when a transit officer killed him on a train platform in 2009. “If you fail to stand up and speak to this issue what kind of life will your children have?”