“Today I stand with God’s mercy and grace, knowing that my son, Mike-Mike (as we affectionately called him) is watching over me and smiling down. I have to be his voice now, and I’m turning my tragedy into triumph, and am stepping out of the shadows of despair and into my destiny!”
- Lezley McSpadden, Michael O.D. Brown’s Mother
The Ferguson Effect while known as the idea that increased scrutiny of police following the 2014 fatal shooting of her son Michael Orlandus Darrion Brown, this event while for many was simply just that, an unfortunate incident, however, for Lezley McSpadden it was a life-altering and life-long, tragic event that ended the life of her first born but also birthed an outcry and a VOICE, her VOICE, leading the way towards courage, correction and change.
Although the events in Ferguson exposed police brutality and excessive force, while highlighting racial inequities in America, the events also propelled and awakened the VOICE of a mother of four determined to foster change through leading actions and engaging in activities that will not only bring about transformation, but that will also keep her son’s legacy alive.
From tragedy to triumph Lezley has managed to convert mourning into movement! Lezley McSpadden is the Founder and President of The Michael Orlandus Darrion Brown We Love Our Sons and Daughters Foundation, Organizer of Rainbow Of Mothers a signature program of the Michael O.D. Brown Foundation, established to develop collective impact through the proactive engagement of multi-cultural/multi-ethnic mothers who like Lezley have suffered and sustained the devastating and unthinkable pre-mature loss of a child.
Lezley was thrust into the national and international spotlight, through the loss of her son, who was affectionately known as “Mike-Mike.” She is an Author of Tell the Truth Shame the Devil: The Life, Legacy, and Love of My Son Michael Brown, where she continues to receive positive reviews for telling the truth. Lezley not only tells the truth but she lives the truth. She lives it by engaging in various community activities geared towards building a healthier and more productive community. She lives it by having partnered with the Jennings School District and the Pals organization to start a community garden, as well as have written curriculum geared towards educating school aged children on how to lead healthier lifestyles while making better food choices. She lives it by not allowing her son’s voice, her voice and the voices of other mothers to be silenced, she lives it by continuing to fight for justice and inequality.
The shooting of Michael Brown sparked existing tensions in the majority-black suburb of St. Louis, which led to protests and civil unrest. Further the “Not guilty” verdicts on both the State and Federal levels led to an outcry for justice globally, sparking debate regarding the relationship or lack thereof for Law Enforcement and the African American community.
Lezley is poised to leverage her courage to foster correction in the justice system and change in the community, she is actively running for the City Council in Ward 3: Ferguson Missouri, where she can further influence change, fight for justice, champion for the legacy of her son all while provoking the American consciousness through the work of her foundation’s core components: Justice, Health, Education & Family.