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  • So, I'm afraid.

  • Right now,

  • on this stage,

  • I feel fear.

  • In my life, I ain't met many people

  • that will readily admit when they are afraid.

  • And I think that's because deep down,

  • they know how easy it spreads.

  • See, fear is like a disease.

  • When it moves, it moves like wildfire.

  • But what happens when,

  • even in the face of that fear,

  • you do what you've got to do?

  • That's called courage.

  • And just like fear,

  • courage is contagious.

  • See, I'm from East St. Louis, Illinois.

  • That's a small city

  • across the Mississippi River from St. Louis, Missouri.

  • I have lived in and around St. Louis my entire life.

  • When Michael Brown, Jr.,

  • an ordinary teenager,

  • was gunned down by police in 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri --

  • another suburb, but north of St. Louis --

  • I remember thinking,

  • he ain't the first,

  • and he won't be the last young kid to lose his life to law enforcement.

  • But see, his death was different.

  • When Mike was killed,

  • I remember the powers that be trying to use fear as a weapon.

  • The police response to a community in mourning was to use force

  • to impose fear:

  • fear of militarized police,

  • imprisonment,

  • fines.

  • The media even tried to make us afraid of each other

  • by the way they spun the story.

  • And all of these things have worked in the past.

  • But like I said, this time it was different.

  • Michael Brown's death and the subsequent treatment of the community

  • led to a string of protests in and around Ferguson and St. Louis.

  • When I got out to those protests about the fourth or fifth day,

  • it was not out of courage;

  • it was out of guilt.

  • See, I'm black.

  • I don't know if y'all noticed that.

  • (Laughter)

  • But I couldn't sit in St. Louis, minutes away from Ferguson,

  • and not go see.

  • So I got off my ass to go check it out.

  • When I got out there,

  • I found something surprising.

  • I found anger; there was a lot of that.

  • But what I found more of was love.

  • People with love for themselves.

  • Love for their community.

  • And it was beautiful --

  • until the police showed up.

  • Then a new emotion was interjected into the conversation:

  • fear.

  • Now, I'm not going to lie;

  • when I saw those armored vehicles,

  • and all that gear

  • and all those guns

  • and all those police

  • I was terrified --

  • personally.

  • And when I looked around that crowd,

  • I saw a lot of people that had the same thing going on.

  • But I also saw people with something else inside of them.

  • That was courage.

  • See, those people yelled,

  • and they screamed,

  • and they were not about to back down from the police.

  • They were past that point.

  • And then I could feel something in me changing,

  • so I yelled and I screamed,

  • and I noticed that everybody around me was doing the same thing.

  • And there was nothing like that feeling.

  • So I decided I wanted to do something more.

  • I went home, I thought: I'm an artist. I make shit.

  • So I started making things specific to the protest,

  • things that would be weapons in a spiritual war,

  • things that would give people voice

  • and things that would fortify them for the road ahead.

  • I did a project where I took pictures of the hands of protesters

  • and put them up and down the boarded-up buildings

  • and community shops.

  • My goal was to raise awareness and to raise the morale.

  • And I think, for a minute at least,

  • it did just that.

  • Then I thought, I want to uplift the stories of these people

  • I was watching being courageous in the moment.

  • And myself and my friend,

  • and filmmaker and partner Sabaah Folayan

  • did just that with our documentary,

  • "Whose Streets?"

  • I kind of became a conduit

  • for all of this courage that was given to me.

  • And I think that's part of our job as artists.

  • I think we should be conveyors of courage in the work that we do.

  • And I think that we are the wall between the normal folks

  • and the people that use their power to spread fear and hate,

  • especially in times like these.

  • So I'm going to ask you.

  • Y'all the movers and the shakers,

  • you know, the thought leaders:

  • What are you gonna do

  • with the gifts that you've been given

  • to break us from the fear the binds us every day?

  • Because, see, I'm afraid every day.

  • I can't remember a time when I wasn't.

  • But once I figured out that fear was not put in me to cripple me,

  • it was there to protect me,

  • and once I figured out how to use that fear,

  • I found my power.

  • Thank you.

  • (Applause)

So, I'm afraid.

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A2 BEG US TED fear st louis courage louis police

【TED】Damon Davis: Courage is contagious (Courage is contagious | Damon Davis)

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    Zenn posted on 2017/08/28
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