As Twitter has become the primary source of information about the current unrest in Ferguson — the hashtag #ferguson has been trending for a week, and outrage over racial profiling and police violence went viral under hashtags like #IfTheyGunnedMeDown and #HandsUpDontShoot — one of the people who founded the social media website is joining the ongoing protests over 18-year-old Mike Brown’s shooting.
Jack Dorsey, a Twitter co-founder and a St. Louis native, tweeted on Friday that he was “heading home” and would be “standing with everyone in Ferguson all weekend.” Since then, Dorsey has been providing live updates from the protests on the ground.
It’s perhaps fitting that Dorsey — who sent out the world’s first tweet back when Twitter was a brand new platform — is now using his account to join forces with the activists who have used the site to spark a grassroots uprising in the wake of Mike Brown’s death. On Saturday night, after Gov. Jay Nixon (D-MO) declared a state of emergency and imposed a curfew on Ferguson, Dorsey posted a photo of himself marching with Antonio French, the alderman who has gained prominence for meticulously documenting the unrest through this Twitter and Vine accounts. “Thank you Alderman!” Dorsey tweeted.
Other prominent individuals have begun to get involved in the protests in Ferguson, too. On Friday, when tensions were heightened after a video was released of Mike Brown allegedly shoplifting from a convenience store immediately before his death, the Rev. Jesse Jackson showed up to march with Ferguson residents before he was scheduled to make an appearance at a nearby church. Jackson walked arm-in-arm with about 50 people toward the apartment building where the teen was killed.
The hip hop community has also been vocal in speaking out against Brown’s death on Twitter, and some celebrities have recently taken more concrete actions. Rapper Young Jeezy traveled to Ferguson earlier this week to see the protests for himself; then, when Wiz Khalifa and Young Jeezy took the stage in St. Louis for their “Under The Influence Tour” on Tuesday, they wore shirts emblazoned with “RIP Mike Brown” and “Don’t Shoot.” Rapper Nelly, who’s from St. Louis, met with the teen’s parents. Baby Phat founder Kimora Lee Simmons has offered to pay for his funeral.
Some celebrities who have been vocal about the protests have been accused of overstepping their bounds. After John Legend sent off several angry tweets about the police activity in Ferguson, one follower told him to “stay in his lane” and focus on music. “human. citizen. taxpayer. i’m in my lane, homie,” the singer replied.
Dorsey’s stint with the protesters isn’t over yet. “Finally home. See you tomorrow, #Ferguson,” he tweeted at 3 am this morning. He also clarified that while he’s not from Ferguson, he believes that all of St. Louis needs to “come together as one” for Mike Brown’s community.