CLAYTON, Mo. – Wednesday marks nine years since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown Jr. in Ferguson. City leaders, family members, and community activists gathered that evening to reflect not only on what changes have been made over the years but also to make a change in the community.

“Well, it’s a lot of work that needs to be done between the community and the police, but you know, I think the police need to start giving in a little bit because they have to earn the trust again,” Michael Brown Sr. said.

His son’s death gained national attention and ignited protests across the country, sparking an uproar for changes in policing in communities.

Brown continues to keep his son’s memory alive through the Michael Brown sr. Chosen for Change Foundation.

The foundation hosted its 2nd annual Black Ball Fundraiser and Awards Gala at the Ritz-Carlton in Clayton to honor educators and award academic scholarships in memory of both Michael Brown Jr. and former CVPA student Alexandria Bell. The organization has a goal to raise $500,000 to build a community center and support programs for grieving fathers and families.

“Every year, you’ll see me around this time and every day, whenever an event going on or, sadly, that we losing our people at a rate that’s terrible, I will be in that city supporting their family and letting their family know there is other people out there that understand and love them,” Brown said.

The ensuing protests helped establish the Black Lives Matter movement and spurred discussion of community and police reform.

Ella Jones became Ferguson’s first African American mayor and the first woman to lead the city that gained national attention following the fatal shooting.

“The police department is not the same as it was back in 2014. I believe we only have about two, maybe three, officers left that was in the force at that time,” she said. “Of course, we have a new police chief, Troy Doyle, who retired from St. Louis County, and he’s here in Ferguson. He has made a tremendous difference.”

The officer who shot and killed Michael Brown Jr. was not indicted. Brown’s death drew the attention of former President Barack Obama and the federal government. The city of Ferguson entered into a federal consent decree that resulted in reform of their municipal courts, community policing, use of force tactics, and First Amendment protected activity.

“We entered into the consent decree in 2016. We are in the seventh year,” Jones said. “We are still working on compliance, but one of the big changes that was made (was that) anyone that had a warrant, speeding ticket, or something, we dismissed over 4,000 tickets.”