When Michael Brown was shot by police officer Darren Wilson this past August in Ferguson, Missouri, protests broke out that reignited the debate over systemic racism and poverty in our society.
As the protests grew throughout Ferguson and beyond, police used tear gas and tanks before the Governor of Missouri eventually declared a state of emergency, and called in the National Gaurd.
Many of us have watched these events unfold from afar. But there are those who are witnessing this violence first hand.
Kelli Rao is a high school teacher at the Northwest Academy of Law in the St.Louis, Missouri School District. She teaches English Literature, Speech and Debate, and Drama to kids from the community of Walnut Park, just five miles from the protests in Ferguson.
Rao says violence is nothing new in her school and that her students experience the reality of being shot at, all the time. As teachers, Rao and her colleagues struggle with the thought that all the effort they put into inspiring knowledge and learning can be lost in the firing of a single bullet.
Here is Kelli Rao in conversation with Dave Quanbury on CKUW 95.9 FM: