Nearly five minutes of silence held at 12:02 in Ferguson, Missouri, on Sunday, marked exactly one year since unarmed teenager Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer.
Hundreds stood quietly at the site of Brown's death for four and a half minutes— symbolic of the four and a half hours that the 18-year-old's body was left in the street on Aug. 9, 2014.
The spot outside of the Canfield Green apartments was covered Sunday in flowers and stuffed animals, reminiscent of the memorial that grew there in the days after Brown was killed — days when sorrow and outrage overcame Ferguson.
PHOTOS: Ferguson: One Year Later
Brown’s father, Michael Brown Sr., held a crying woman and kept his eyes closed for most of the memorial moments. He opened his eyes at the end of the 4 1/2 minutes, in time for two doves to be released.
Activists, religious leaders and the families of Eric Garner, Vonderrit Myers, Kendrick Johnson and others whose untimely deaths also sparked calls for justice joined Brown and hundreds more in a march through Ferguson’s streets after the moments of silence.
Bree Newsome, who was celebrated for removing the confederate flag from outside of the South Carolina statehouse before it was officially removed, also attended the commemoration. “When we looked at Ferguson, we saw that was our community and that was everywhere,” she said.
Others shared poems and prayers.
Marcellus Buckley, a poet who was often active during protests following Brown’s death recited a poem that he said he had spent “all night” writing.
“To the parents, we know you are standing and standing but not alone. All they want is for their child to come home,” he read. “Honestly Mike-Mike, we’re tired. Not in the sense of fighting for our rights but in the sense of fighting for our lives.”
The officer who shot Brown, Darren Wilson, was cleared of any wrongdoing by a grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department. Police said Brown stole from a convenience store and got into a confrontation with Wilson when the officer approached him.
But a Justice Department investigation found a pattern of racial bias in the Ferguson Police Department in the wake of Brown’s death and the protests and riots that followed.
His death also intensified the already-growing scrutiny of police use of deadly force against black suspects.
Brown, who had recently graduated from high school before his death, was described by family and friends as a passive gentle giant, who had expressed that he believed he could make a difference in the world.
Buckley addressed Brown at the end of his poem: “Dear Michael Brown Jr., did you know one year ago today, that you would be chosen for change?”