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August 21, 2014 at 8:28 pm

St. Louis Reporter Captures Mattson and Family at Ferguson Protest

 Jay Mattson stands outside Ferguson's Police Station with his parents Kevin and Vicky Mattson. The Athens, Ohio, family traveled to Ferguson to join the growing protest over Michael Brown's death. Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

Jay Mattson stands outside Ferguson’s Police Station with his parents Kevin and Vicky Mattson. The Athens, Ohio, family traveled to Ferguson to join the growing protest over Michael Brown’s death.
Credit Jason Rosenbaum, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis Public Radio reporter Jason Rosenbaum found Ohio University’s Dr. Kevin Mattson and his family taking part in the protests over the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO.

Mattson is the Connor Study Professor of History at Ohio University. Rosenbaum found Mattson and his family outside the Ferguson police station on Tuesday and interviewed him for his story on “Ferguson’s Struggles Attract Out-Of-Towners To Protest Without Violence.”

On a sweltering Tuesday outside the Ferguson Police Station, a dedicated group of protestors blessed a late lunch of water, fruit and fried chicken to fuel their demonstration.

This is one of the central hubs where people have demonstrated after a Ferguson police officer shot and killed Michael Brown. Most of the protestors have come from the St. Louis area. But on this day, they’re getting a little help from Kevin, Vicky and Jay Mattson. The Athens, Ohio, family made a detour from unrelated travels to get to Ferguson.

Kevin Mattson, a history professor, said it’s “our responsibility to show support for people who are nonviolently protesting their mistreatment.” But Brown’s death strikes a particularly deep nerve for the Mattsons: Kevin and Vicky are white, while their son Jay is black.

“It’s really more of just being African American and seeing a kid that’s only two years older than me just get shot for what seems like no reason,” Jay Mattson said. “And it’s really just sad. And it makes me worry about how I’m going to act when I leave the small town that I live in now. Because everybody grew up with me. And they know who I was. But when I move away, I don’t know how other people are going to react to me.”….

Kevin Mattson, the Athens, Ohio, father, wonders whether what’s going on in Ferguson will have a long-term impact on policing or the plight of young black men. He said he hopes it does, but adds he can’t predict the future.

“I don’t know if it’s going to have the long-term impact that I think a lot of us who are here right now hope that it does,” Mattson said. “I do think, though, if you put it into wider context of things, there’s been a lot of this sort of thing happening. I think there’s building momentum and people demanding change. So I’m hopeful that there will be a long-term outcome from this.”

Listen to Rosenbaum’s NPR report.

Rosenbaum’s report also was heard on NPR’s All Things Considered.

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