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Activist radio personality, attorney Lizz Brown passes after lengthy illness

Lizz Brown
St. Louis American

This article originally appeared in the St. Louis American.

Longtime St. Louis radio personality, attorney and social justice activist Lizz Brown passed away on Wednesday in St. Louis, following a lengthy illness.

Brown fought for the rights of African Americans and for justice. As host of the award-winning talk show “The Wake Up Call” for 15 years on WGNU, Brown conducted thousands of interviews with newsmakers and policy shapers. At the beginning of her radio programs, she would say, “Living my life as a liberal and loving it.”

The 2015 winner of the "Pundit's Cup" at NetRoots Nation, Brown has been a "go to" legal analyst and political commentator for MSNBC, CNN, and Al Jazeera. She has also been seen on NBC, ABC and Fox.

Brown was educated at Gonzaga University and earned her law degree at Saint Louis University. Previously, Brown was a special public defender and a former city counselor who represented mothers accused of neglect and abuse. She was a passionate defender of the rights of the oppressed and forgotten.

As an activist and organizer in St. Louis, Brown led thousands of students to engage in the only successful shutdown/occupation of the Mayor’s Office, an occupation that led to a student-negotiated settlement. Brown holds the distinction of being the one of the few African-American columnists to have a column, “Clarence Thomas….Accidental Jurist,” inserted into the Congressional Record.

Following the Ferguson unrest, Brown wrote a number of popular columns for The St. Louis American, a paper with which she had feuded in the past. Her report on the first meeting of the Ferguson City Council following the police killing of Michael Brown was a classic.

“The meeting began with a prepared statement read by the Ferguson Mayor James Knowles III. His words followed exactly the content of the press release created by a media firm hired by the City of Ferguson. Problem is the statement Knowles breathlessly read word by word said nothing about why the entire council has been MIA and stone silent for nearly a month. Additionally, nowhere in this carefully crafted, media-manipulative statement was a single word about the killing of Mike Brown,” Lizz Brown, wrote in the September 11, 2014 edition of The American.

“And perhaps most disturbing of all was the absence of a collective apology by the entire council for their mind-boggling failure to govern during the biggest crisis ever to confront their city."

“To put this epic failure on the part of Ferguson elected officials into context, consider this: the most powerful elected official in the nation and in the world, President Obama, made two statements on the crisis confronting Ferguson. The top law enforcement official in the U.S., Attorney General Eric Holder, made two statements and took a trip to Ferguson. The governor, U.S. senators, congressmen and politicians from all over the region weighed in by voice and body because they could not ignore their responsibility as elected officials.

And yet as the city burned, what was heard from the people who were elected to represent and govern Ferguson? – nothing.”

Brown is survived by her son, her father, two brothers and a faithful following of radio listeners, cable news viewers and readers from throughout the decades.

Final services are pending.

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