Two days of protest followed a grand jury’s decision not to indict the officer who shot and killed Ferguson, Mo. teen Michael Brown in August.
In Philadelphia, people swelled around City Hall and clogged a busy intersection near Temple University after marching for miles.
But now what?
Local activists are hoping that groundswell leads to a lasting movement and not just temporary frustration and anger.
Rev. Gregory Holston heads up New Vision United Methodist Church, a member of POWER, Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower and Rebuild.
He said Brown’s death would fuel the organization’s ongoing efforts to tackle injustice and, potentially, new ones.
“Where workers at the airport are being denied a living wage and being denied quality working conditions, we’ve been saying to those workers, ‘you’re Mike Brown,'” said Holston.
In the immediate future, POWER is calling on people to boycott shopping on Black Friday to keep attention on the issue.
Beyond that, Holston isn’t sure where things will go. That, he said, is ultimately up to the millennial generation to decide once the frustration fades.
“There is a sense of this burgeoning generation coming forward to move us to the next level of racial justice,” said Holston. “We’re going to help and support as it goes forward.”
Kelvyn Anderson, executive director of Philadelphia’s Police Advisory Commission, said he hopes Ferguson re-energizes efforts to improve the relationship between police and the community.
It’s one of his organization’s never-ending fights.
“We want to turn that anger and that concern into a real long-term discussion of a number of areas involving policing — arbitration, certification, shooting incidents, complaint systems,” said Anderson. “All of those parts of those relationships need to be discussed thoroughly.”
In Philadelphia, that relationship may be poised for real improvement.
From 2012 to 2013, violent crime fell across the board, including a 45-year low for homicides.
So far this year, deadly police shootings in the city are also down thanks to new tactics such as crisis-intervention training.