FERGUSON, Mo.– When we arrived in Ferguson, Missouri this weekend - for the third time in a year, we did so through the lens of having seen this Midwestern city - at its worst.
The hope now - that time had at least started to heal its deep wounds.
Mike Brown was killed one year ago Sunday, during an encounter on Canfield Drive with former officer Darren Wilson.
Mike Brown Sr. spoke briefly during a late morning ceremony.
“Ya’ll made this happen for this," Brown said. "If it wasn’t for ya’ll, this would be swept up under the carpet too,”
Last year, there were protests, unrest, and plenty of looting. Ferguson was burning.
Everyone now wants to know - what we have learned? Not just Ferguson, but our own New York Metro Area as well.
Because over the last year - a debate over the use of force and deadly force by law enforcement has unfolded across our nation.
From Sandra Bland in Texas, to Sam DuBose in Cincinnati, Walter Scott in South Carolina, and Eric Garner on Staten Island.
Many people we met this weekend tell us heir presence here is now about Ferguson - and much more.
That crisis - involves tens of thousands of at risk teenage boys.
In New York - it’s a demographic that at once worries parents, community leaders and NYPD officers.
In St. Louis County, we asked Urban League chapter president Mike McMillan if he believes it took the death of Mike Brown - to bring what was needed here years ago: a community empowerment center that will focus on creating jobs, child recreation, and mental health.
“Based on the death of Michael Brown, and the reaction from the government, and the militarized response from the police, and all of the consistent protests, is that it took all of that together, to bring attention to what had been happening in that community for decades already."
It will be built right here in Ferguson - on the site of a QuikTrip convenience store its residents burned down last August.