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We Talked To People In NYC About Michael Brown And Ferguson And This Is What They Said

"We can't keep losing lives over foolishness."

Posted on August 15, 2014, at 6:00 p.m. ET

On Aug. 14, there was a national moment of silence that took place in Union Square to reflect upon the recent death of Michael Brown.

Julia Pugachevsky / BuzzFeed
Julia Pugachevsky / BuzzFeed

Participants chanted, "Hands up! Don't shoot!" as they marched from Union Square to Times Square.

Julia Furlan / BuzzFeed

Curtis, 25, says it took a while for him to learn he didn't have to prove anything to anyone: "We need to fucking work together!"

BuzzFeed asked rally participants what the police could do to make them feel safter. His sign reads: "Trust me!"

"Approach me as a human." Jazzi, 24

"I'm here to support everyone in St. Louis and Ferguson...all of the things that have happened in the past and human rights in general. From Trayvon Martin to Civil Rights."

Julia Pugachevsky / BuzzFeed
Julia Pugachevsky / BuzzFeed

"It’s hurtful to the human race, it’s hurtful to us as a people. If we ever want to build the country that we claim that we want so badly ... that’s why I’m here," says Andrew, 27.

Andrew says that even though his skin is fair, he has still been targeted by the police, pulled over without cause, and once, taunted and attacked. "It's time for us to be responsible for our views," he says.

His sign reads: "Turn your anger into action!"

Donovan, 17, had some practical advice for the NYPD. "Police should wear recording devices," he wrote.
Julia Furlan / BuzzFeed

Szaniya, far left, lives on 123rd Street in Harlem. Her family has been in the neighborhood for several generations. "Stop being racist to people, so white people and black people can get along better."

Her sign reads: "Love each other, not hate."

Zaiar, 12, thinks that it's important to ask the government to enact positive change. She and Szaniya are BFFs.

<3 <3 <3

Charles is Zaiar's dad. He says he interacts with the police regularly when hanging out in his neighborhood.

His sign reads: "The more things change, the more things stay the same. Racism is not going nowhere, it's just hidden better!"

Rally participants were somber and quiet.

Julia Pugachevsky / BuzzFeed

Lee works with an organization called Fierce that educates minority LGBTQ youth about their rights. "The police are not going to tell you your rights, so we have to educate each other," she says.

Her sign reads: Fuck the police! Fight back and organize!

Gregory says, "Be compassionate to poor people and treat them as human beings — like yourself."

Doe says that the relationship with the police improved after his Harlem neighborhood became more gentrified. “They say they shoot out of fear for their lives," he says, "but they send us to jail when we shoot out of fear for our own lives."

His sign reads: "Respect the fact that not every black man is a criminal. Some hold degrees and can think, hold jobs and be productive members of society.”

Thomas had a lot to say about the way different mayoral leadership affected his daily life. Thomas is not a fan of Mayor Michael Bloomberg and has a lot of support for Mayor Bill de Blasio, despite the recent death of Eric Garner.

His sign reads: "Afro-Americans are people too! One nation under God."

"They could be polite," Barbara wrote, after describing being pushed against a wall and exposed during an encounter with the police.
Julia Furlan / BuzzFeed