Before the explosive global uprising condemning the murder of George Floyd, there was a small town in Missouri that erupted in protest after the Aug 9, 2014 killing of unarmed Black teen Michael Brown Jr. by a white police officer. It was this small town and its people that propelled Black Lives Matter to international prominence and inspired a new global civil rights movement. To understand this present moment, we must understand what happened in Ferguson.

FERGUSON RISES goes deep into the aftermath and protests. It also highlights the diverse voices of community members: from residents to police officers, to business owners and those who chose to say “enough is enough” by taking to the streets for a record 400 days straight. These varied perspectives are interwoven with a rarely seen portrayal of a Black father’s grief, to help us understand the human side of this tragedy and to give us an intimate view ofwhat it means to be a Black man in America. Director Mobolaji Olambiwonnu shows us the indomitable nature of the human spirit and how people can take something so tragic and build something beautiful around it.

FERGUSON RISES is ultimately about empathy. We sit with a grieving father, with police officers, with community members who are outraged at this murder and with community members who are angry at protesters. We see that they are all human, and ultimately, they are capable of growth and healing, and that we may have something to learn from them.

“Just wow. Michael was so many things. He brought a message that needed to be heard. Some of our students went to lunch with him and they told me this was one of the best things they have gotten to do in college. Michael comes from a place of hope and change. He’s working to help find a solution as he feels he was “chosen for change.”Marly Doty/Assistant Director of Student Affairs/Penn State DuBois

Bio: Michael Brown, Sr.

In Ferguson, MO on August 9, 2014 unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, Jr. was shot and killed by white police officer Darren Wilson. Michael had just graduated from high school and was scheduled to begin vocational training classes just two days later.  After his graduation, he told his father Michael Brown, Sr.  “One day, the world is gonna’ know my name. I’ll probably have to go away for a while, but I’m coming back to save my city.” Unfortunately those words have come true for the Brown family, and Mike Brown, Sr is bringing his story and his foundation, Chosen for Change, to Colleges and Universities across the Nation.

“The name ‘Mike Brown’ has become the national symbol of police shootings of unarmed Black men. For me, I feel obligated to keep stressing the deeper meaning of his words. Because of my son’s death and the justice we’re still seeking, hurting people, grieving people who’ve lost their children to gun violence or police brutality reach out to me. They invite me to speak at gatherings. There is a small level of comfort in being in the company of the wounded, the lost, the other parents who understand that we can’t possibly ‘move on,’ ” – Mike Brown, Sr.

Michael Brown, Sr. decided to turn the pain and challenges of losing his son into an opportunity of change. Thus, “Chosen for Change Foundation” was born in loving memory of Michael Brown, Jr. It’s an organization whose purpose is to empower youth by helping them realize their potential for greatness.


Mike Brown Sr. will share the true story of his experience of his son’s death, and reveal who Michael Brown Jr., was beyond the often demonizing media portrayals. He will speak to his joys as a parent, his loss, and his own guilt, with the ultimate goal of making sure that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.  Mike Brown Sr. hopes to work with the communities he speaks in to set up a chapter of “Chosen for Change” an organization that educates youth to help one another instead of hurt one another, teaches them success and survival skills, and shows them how to be respectful of themselves and others.

While this program can be offered as a solo speaking engagement, Conscious Campus is also working with additional facilitators if the school would prefer a mediated event.  A mediated event would serve the purpose of engaging students on the broader conversation of the “Black Lives Matter,” movement and moderating difficult interactions to find common ground.

Bio: Mobolaji Olambiwonnu – director/producer Ferguson Rises

Mobolaji is a graduate of UCLA and AFI. His first feature documentary Ferguson Rises is the recipient of the prestigious Audience Award at the Tribeca Film Festival and is now being distributed by PBS. Besides film work, Mobolaji also works in the fields of education, conflict resolution, and community organizing. His community-based experience is the conscience behind his work.

Ferguson Rises Program: Showing of Film Ferguson Rises followed by discussion with Michael Brown, Sr. and director/producer Mobolaji Olambiwonnu