DeRay McKesson Breaks Down The Real Meaning Of The 'Ferguson Effect'

"If anything, the Ferguson Effect is people saying I know a better world is possible and I will fight for it."

DeRay McKesson redefined the meaning behind the 'Ferguson effect' at The Root 100 Gala on Thursday night in New York City. During a speech, the civil rights activist briefly spoke out against the divisive notion that outrage over police brutality after the Ferguson protests led to a localized increase in crime. 

"The Ferguson Effect is people rising up where they are and saying that we will not be silent anymore," McKesson told the audience. "If anything, the Ferguson Effect is people saying 'I know a better world is possible and I will fight for it.' And that is what we saw at Mizzou, that is what we saw at Ithaca, it’s what we saw at VCU, it’s what we saw all over the country… it started a year ago in St. Louis and spread across the country."

McKesson and 99 other activists and black leaders were honored by The Root for their contributions to works in their respective fields. Bree Newsome, the young woman who scaled a flagpole in South Carolina to take down the Confederate flag, was also honored. She commended students across the country who've recently fought against injustices at the college campuses. 

"I stand in complete and total solidarity with students who are standing up all over this country today," Newsome said. "I've been traveling and speaking a lot at colleges and the situation that's going on in Missouri is something that I have encountered. I have had black students say these things to me at various campuses."

The Root also presented honors to other activists, entrepreneurs, journalists and more including Johnetta Elzie, Alicia Garza, Jamil Smith and Andrew Gillum.

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