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Hundreds Gather in Portland to Remember Ferguson Victim Michael Brown

Susan Sharon

PORTLAND, Maine - Several hundred people turned out in Monument Square in Portland Tuesday night for a peaceful gathering to remember and support Ferguson shooting victim 18-year-old Michael Brown and his family.

Supporters sang, prayed and pledged to work for a "fair and transparent" justice system.  Rachel Talbot Ross is president of the Portland chapter of the NAACP.  She says young activists will make the difference.

"You, our young men, our young women, you are the ones we've been waiting for," she said. "You will be the positive catalysts for the changes that must take place to end the insidious system of racism."

But while speakers called for the death of Michael Brown  to be used as a touchstone for dialog about racism and gun violence, some also said they remain outraged and disappointed that the white police office who shot him will not face criminal charges.  

"As a black man who has grown up in this society, it almost feels as if it's OK, it's understood.  These things happen," said Pastor Kenneth Lewis, who heads the Green Memorial AME Zion Church in Portland.  Rage over Michael Brown's death, he says, should be turned into engagement. "There ought to be an opportunity for us to come together and prevent the senseless death of young men."

One study has found that between 2006 and 2012, a white police officer killed a black person at least twice a week, on average, in the United States.