After weeks of anticipation, a St. Louis County grand jury did not indict police officer Darren Wilson in the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown. Immediately following the announcement, Ferguson erupted into protests, with gunfire, flames, and looting punctuating the worst night the community has seen. In New York and Washington, peaceful protesters marked the grand jury decision by taking to the streets, expressing outrage and frustration in Union Square in Manhattan and outside the White House in D.C.
From the White House, President Obama urged peace, but acknowledged that Brown’s death had become a symbol for race relations across the nation. “We need to recognize that this is not just an issue for Ferguson. This is an issue for America,” the president said.
Across the country, Americans took to Twitter with the hashtag #PrayForFerguson to express dismay and prayers amid the protests. As of 9 a.m. ET, the hashtag received 35K tweets in the past day. Here are a few select responses, and below, you can watch a visualization of how one hashtag spread across the country.