It was an honor and a pleasure to have the opportunity to attend an evening to commemorate the one year anniversary of the death of Mike Brown hosted by Mike Brown Sr. As a member of the black community and one who is consistently outraged by the constant killing of unarmed minorities, I’m not quite sure what I expected to get from the event. At a minimum, I knew that it would grant the rare opportunity to offer my personal condolences to a parent experiencing the worst kind of pain, under high profiled circumstances. While I am not a parent, I can only imagine that if one desired to be known for something, this would not be it. We have all watched it play out across our T.V. screens and social media. The vast majority of us is outraged and desires a change. However, we have to know that pales in comparison to actually losing a child to the war that seems to have ensued against minority children. As I walked into the downtown Los Angeles upscale restaurant, I was directed to a private upstairs area. That is where I was greeted by a group of young, beautiful, well dressed women. I was then promptly pulled to the side by the person I now know to be the event’s publicist. She wanted to ensure that I understood they needed to have the first opportunity to publish the story regarding the event. She wanted to make certain that I, unlike some other media outlets in an attempt to justify this grave injustice, properly portray the grieving father, and not merely focus on his dubious background before he turned his life around. I assured her that I understood and I was seated amongst the scarce number of early-comers like myself. It wasn’t long before hors d’oeuvres were passed and I began to wonder exactly what the night would hold. Before I could sink too deeply into my thoughts, I was approached by CNN correspondent Sean Collinson who introduced himself as the evening’s moderator. Sean gave me a brief run-down of the night’s itinerary. We were to be welcomed, shown a poignant 10 minute movie, “AmeriCan”, on Police brutality, and then we would be addressed by the special guests that included retired LAPD Sergeant Sheryl Dorsey, Brother Shahid Founder of Hands Up, Don’t Shoot and concluded with a word from Mike Brown Sr. It was an interesting introduction from the moderator Sean Collinson. We learned of the loss of his father to street violence at a very young age. That knowledge made his involvement with the parents of children like Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown come from a much more genuine and very legitimate place. Well dressed, successful and articulate, he represented a rarely seen example of the outcome of growing up without a father. He then went on to introduce (who was probably my favorite speaker of the night) retired LAPD sergeant, Sheryl Dorsey. It was then that I heard what I had been thinking all along, we are a long way from seeing change in this corrupt system. She stated that it is going to take change in the legislation, the Police Bill of Rights and actual FINANCIAL & CRIMINAL repercussions for police that are convicted of brutality. It is going to take the corrupt system being dismantled and so many conflicts of interest being prohibited as it pertains to the “investigation” of wrong doing. I simply wanted to stand up and cheer. However, I refrained. We then heard from the spirited founder of the Hands Up, Don’t Shoot organization, like Mike Brown a native of St. Louise, Brother Anthony Shahid . Brother Shahid has been a long-time community activist. He was so compelled by the murder of Mike Brown that he created a new organization. A native of St. Louis, his words offered grass-roots insight and passion that was truly heartfelt. It was during his speech that we were asked to have 4 1/2 minutes of silence in commemoration of the 4 ½ hours that Mike Brown lie in the middle of the street, lifeless. My breath seemed to escape me when, before the moments of silence could end, Mike Brown Sr. noticed a small child around the age of 8. The beautiful brown girl adorned in tiny braids draping her shoulder was unable to hold back her tears. His embrace offered a solace that only a grieving father could provide. At the conclusion of the evening, it was the soft spoken father of the deceased that left the biggest impact. He was seemingly always on the verge of tears as he searched for words to convey what he had traveled so far to do. He briefly spoke on how he was thrust into a movement with no warning. He simply had no choice. Mr. Brown had to honor the son that had just served as his best man weeks prior to being murdered. All in all it was night of reflection and reenergizing. Perhaps it served for many, although I can only speak for myself, as an opportunity for introspection to assess what we can do to try and begin the direction of change. It gave us a look into the eyes of a parent, not via social media, television, or any publication. We looked at a real parent, into eyes that were connected to a beating heart. A real parent forced to endure the barrage of media attacks of his son’s character. We ask him and ourselves, “What can we do?” On behalf of the conscious community, Mike Brown Sr., we are so sorry. We collectively support your son’s life and vow that we will work together towards a legacy of change and not just a social media hashtag.