A Project of
The Truth Telling Project
Born in the wake of the Ferguson uprising, The Truth Telling Project is a community-led grassroots organization that centers the voices of those affected by systemic oppression and violence, and those fighting for the dignity of Black lives. We are parents, children, sisters, brothers, community members, activists, academics, and allies committed to the idea that any attempt to engage with structural racism in Black communities must attend carefully to the opinions, perceptions, and voices of those surviving, struggling against, and thriving in the face of oppression.
It’s Time to Listen is an educational platform that spotlights these voices.
The truth comes in many forms: protest, song, theater, video, storytelling. We refer to these truths as testimonies because it’s time to regard our voices and experiences as valid, dignified and real. Truth telling in this context does not lay claim to all truth but rather to exploring the multiple truths of those at the margins who are often silenced and overlooked. We hope these testimonies help nuance the ideas of who the “criminals,” hashtags, and victims really were and are. And we hope you listen with an open and honest heart.
Truth teller Tavon Rice is the older brother of Tamir Rice, a 12-year old boy who was shot by a police officer from the Cleveland Police Department while playing with a toy gun. His story conveys how different people experience trauma and loss in their own way and touches on the role of community support.
Truth teller Gage Hendrix ’s mother, Kristine Hendrix, was tased 3 times by St. Louis police officers at a peaceful protest about police brutality in Ferguson. Gage’s testimony illustrates bravery, courage, and a range of emotions young people experience when witnessing a parent stand up for truth.
Truth Teller Armani Brown talks about her father who was shot by police. Her experience of her loving father differs from the perception police officers hold of Black men and also addresses how police brutality of other members of the Black community retriggers the original trauma of violence and loss.
Truth Teller Deja Joseph’s 14-year-old brother, Andrew, was removed from a state fair for helping a friend who was being detained by police. Andrew was dropped off by the officers on the side of a highway and was killed by a 19-year-old driver. A criminal report was not filed nor were his parents informed of his death.
Truth Tellers Trinity, Triniya, and Trineita Walker talk about their lives in the aftermath of their brother Michael Brown Jr.’s untimely death following a police shooting in Ferguson, MO, in 2014. Their story conveys the mental health consequences of violence and the power of community to provide healing spaces. Access to mental health care in all our communities is imperative.
Truth Teller Mya Aaten-White is a Howard University graduate and artist. She was shot in the head during a peaceful youth rally 3 days after Michael Brown, Jr. was murdered in Ferguson. The bullet from her head was confiscated at the hospital after its removal, and two months passed before a police report was filed. Overlooked by the media and not acknowledged by the police, Mya’s story speaks to the power of truth and love as healing and a way to move forward.
Truth Tellers Rita and VonDerrit Myers Sr. lost their son, Von Derrit Myers Jr., two months after Michael Brown, Jr. was shot. Myers Jr. was shot by police at least 8 times, including 6 times from behind. This story illustrates patterns of police behavior that include targeting, mistreatment, and violence based on race. It addresses the need to build strong, unified solidarity within our diverse human family to combat police brutality and corruption against People of Color.
Truth Teller Dhoruba Shakur , a youth leader and community activist from Ferguson, took to the streets the day after the murder of Mike Brown, Jr. Drawing from his position about gun ownership for protection and self-defense, Dhoruba promotes educating Black communities about their rights.
Truth Teller Brandon Anderson shares how grief resulting from the shooting of his lifelong partner ignited his activism against police violence. Brandon was originally dishonorably discharged from the military under “don’t ask-don’t tell” when he informed his commanding officer that his life partner was murdered by police.
Truth Teller Mike Brown, Sr. is the father of Michael Brown, Jr., the youth who was fatally shot by police officers in Ferguson, MO on August, 9, 2014. His son’s killing spawned a social and political movement against police brutality throughout the nation, including the birth of a generation of social justice activists who are working tirelessly for criminal justice reform and transformation.
Truth Teller Valanah Smith became a youth activist engaged in the protests in Ferguson following the shooting Michael Brown, Jr. Valanah was harassed and arrested by police for protesting. Her story illustrates how her passion for justice became the impetus for understanding racialized violence and social justice.
Truth Teller Meldon Moffitt is a social justice activist and a member of Lost Voices, a local group founded after the shooting of Michael Brown, Jr. Meldon’s story reveals how one individual’s passion for justice and empathy contributes to building a movement to dismantle racism and police violence.
Truth Teller Calvin ‘Cap’ Kennedy is an independently organized peacekeeper and activist who became involved in the protest movement after the shooting of Michael Brown, Jr. AS a member of the Ferguson protest group Peace Keepers, he promotes the demilitarization of the police force.
Truth Teller Shante Needham is the sister of Sandra Bland. A high profile case, Sandra was arrested and incarcerated for a traffic violation and died in prison custody under suspicious circumstances. Her family and those who knew her share a different story from police and prison accounts.
Truth Teller Cori Bush , a pastor and social justice community activist-turned-US Congresswoman speaks of the common theme of racism and its manifestation in police violence, calling for solidarity between communities of color who experience structural oppression. From a place deep in her heart and from the depths of her voice, she brings the Truth Tellers together under the shelter of one common story.
Truth Teller Kristine Hendrix tells the story of how a peaceful action against police brutality in Ferguson turned into violence. Kristine witnessed the arrest of protesters and recorded the mistreatment on a cell phone. She was tased 3 times by police officers and experienced the physiological and emotional effects of shock and trauma resulting from the tasing. Hear her story!
Truth Teller Toni Taylor is the mother of 25 year-old Cary Ball, Jr., who was shot 21 times by two St. Louis police officers following a high-speed pursuit for the infraction of tinted windows in his car, a traffic violation in some states. Toni learned about her son’s death through television rather than a direct call from the police, and she was unable to view him at the morgue. Following the shooting, the two police officers returned to work.
Truth Teller Carlos Ball talks about the death his second brother, Cary Ball, Jr. who died in a brutal police shooting in St. Louis. His testimony highlights their close relationship, and he addresses the difficulty in grieving a loved one and coping with police brutality while also trying to organize for change.