Brittany Ferrell, Alexis Templeton, and Ashley Yates formed Millennial Activists United, a young activists’ collective, shortly after the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and they continue to be at the forefront of the youth-led grassroots movement to end racial injustice and police brutality in America. MAU has been protesting in the streets, organizing peaceful civil disobedience, and leading positive change since August 2014. Their activism has taken them from Ferguson to the predominantly white Saint Louis suburbs to the University of Missouri to both the East and West Coasts and to the White House. Their presence on social media has been unmatched, as they mobilize people around the country and the world to work for change in their communities. They have conducted marches, rallies, protests, die-ins, and workshops; their activism runs the spectrum from educating the public through interviews to shutting down interstates. MAU has energized thousands of individuals – many of whom had no previous interaction with social justice – and has raised the Black Lives Matter message to a national stage at significant personal risk. They have shown a tireless commitment to human dignity and equality. They are the movement.
During their nightly protests, leaders Brittany Ferrell, Alexis Templeton, and MAU activists faced countless ranks of police in riot gear, withstanding tear gas, pepper spray, rubber bullets, batons, and tanks. They saw fellow protesters summarily arrested, some snatched off the streets and held unlawfully by police for many hours, and others beaten badly. They faced these risks themselves, putting their careers on hold and their bodies on the line for what they know is right. Brittany Ferrell and Alexis Templeton have been arrested multiple times from August 2014 to present day, as a result of their many awareness actions in the wider Saint Louis area. Throughout, MAU has remained consistent, peaceful, and on message: Black lives matter, our current justice system is unjust, and each person is responsible to help change the system. This is moral courage personified.
MAU has earned significant media attention. Along with other Ferguson protesters, they were on the short list for Time Magazine’s Person of the Year Award (2014) and were listed in Ebony’s Power 100 of 2015. We look forward to honoring them at the 2016 Assembly in St. Louis this July.