st lambert

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millennialau’s die-in and protests at the St. Louis Lambert International Airport on December 26, 2014. This was by far the most powerful action MAU has held. People cried. People were angry. Airport employees stopped and participated. People waiting in line for the security check point yelled “we’re with you!”

Ferguson is everywhere.

“When you return home tell everyone you’ve visited one of the most segregated, racially divided cities in America.”

Photos by @aaronWbanks

In 1534, a radical religious sect known as Anabaptists staged a rebellion in the city of Munster, attempting to overthrow the local government and establish their own mini-state. The 3 leaders of the Anabaptist Rebellion were brutally tortured and publicly executed. Their corpses were placed in cages and hung from the steeple of St. Lambert Church for decades. Though the remains were removed, the cages are still displayed to this day.

In this city of about 21,000, West Florissant is a major thoroughfare and is lined with nail and hair salons, a few restaurants and an array of retailers. It is common to see commercial jetliners fly overhead as they arrive or depart from the nearby Lambert-St. Louis International Airport.

But for more than a week, the road has been a battleground nearly every night.

On Sunday night, police officers in riot gear marched through smoke-filled streets. As midnight approached, the roadway was filled with debris: spent canisters of tear gas, wooden and rubber bullets, gray cinder blocks and shattered bottles.

But by the time the lunch hours arrived on Monday, the street was largely swept clean, sometimes by volunteers clutching black trash bags.

It was not so simple for Dellena Jones, who runs a hair salon where the door frame was free of glass on Monday. The night before, demonstrators had tossed concrete slabs into the business as Ms. Jones’s two children prepared for what had been scheduled as the first day of school.

As Ms. Jones waited for a wooden board to place over her door, she fretted about what might become of her business as customers have chosen to stay away.

“I had a full week that went down to really nothing,” she said. “They’re too scared to come.”

As she spoke, a man walked by and shouted, “You need a gun in there, lady!” If the unrest continues, Ms. Jones said she may have to meet customers elsewhere.

“I may have to go for a minute and work somewhere else,” she said. “But I’m paying rent here, so I will have to pay somewhere else to work, which is not fair.”