Michael Brown's shooting death at the hands of a Missouri police officer has sparked national outrage and think pieces galore, but at the heart of it all, it's important to remember that Brown was not just a symbol for racial injustice in America — he was also a human being. Even in the fierce debate and media firestorm that has surrounded Brown's death, we must keep Brown's humanity in perspective.
To that end, journalist and artist Shirin Barghi has created a gripping, thought-provoking series of graphics that not only examines racial prejudice in today's America, but also captures the sense of humanity that often gets lost in news coverage. Titled "Last Words," the graphics illustrate the last recorded words by Brown and other young black people — Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant and others — who have been killed by police in recent years.
"I created these images to raise awareness about racist police violence in America and as an expression of solidarity," Barghi wrote on her Twitter.
The powerful images below speak for themselves — and as the nation figures out a way to heal from this event and ask hard questions about how we can better ourselves as a society, let us not forget the voices of the very people who lost their lives in the process.
Image Credit (all): Shirin Barghi
Updated August 19, 2014 with modified images.