Ferguson, MO - A small St. Louis suburb was put on the global map after the August 9, 2014 killing of Michael Brown by local police officer Darren Wilson, the subsequent local unrest, and massive nationwide protests that continue to this day.


Tensions remain high. The release of a scathing DoJ report highlighted deep-seated racially biased beliefs and practices at the Ferguson Police Department, something the local community has long known about and suffered from. The recent shooting of two police officers during a protest rally reignited tensions in a city that is still at the epicenter of a national debate over race and policing.


But Ferguson's story isn't just one of protests over questionable police practices. St. Louis' history of racial disparities is emblematic of many other US cities' past and present. On any given day, one can see the multitude of systemic and structural problems laid bare by the recent events.


I visited Ferguson twice in the fall of 2014 - not in search of "newsworthy" images but to spend time with the people whose struggle is often rendered invisible in the media frenzy. Beyond the protests, much more is palpable: The resilience of a community that hopes for the best and prepares for the worst. People that somehow find the strength to act to make things better, often purely by faith. In a world that keeps questioning the meaning and purpose of #blacklivesmatter, this community has always known they matter. And that is what I wanted to show: People that care deeply. Have immense pride and joy. Love hard. Whether the world's cameras are on them or not.


The following is a joint edit of the work I produced on behalf of MSNBC and Open Society Foundation.

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