On Monday, I was one of hundreds to march and one of about 50 (most of whom were seminarians and clergy of different faiths) who was arrested at the Ferguson Police Department for ironically “disturbing the peace” while peacefully protesting the “justice” system that allows for racial policing and brutality and has led to the death of Michael Brown, Vonderrick Myers, and so many other children of God.
As a former St. Louisan who – in my 4 years there – had seen only a glimpse of the incredibly deep systemic racial inequalities that prevail in that city; as a pastor of youth who has heard too many stories from my own about their or their friends’ experiences of racial profiling by Chicago police; as one who deeply cares for the young people of St. Louis, Chicago, and the rest of this world; as a leader and member of the faith community – who has been called to follow the Way of Jesus, One who risked much while calling out systemic injustice and radically proclaiming that no human lives are more worthy than others; and as a member of the human race: I felt called to go to Ferguson and was willing to be arrested.
There, seminarians and clergy of different faiths joined the brave and bold young people of St. Louis who have been organizing their communities to stand up – many of whom have risked being tear gassed, hit by rubber bullets, and arrest, and have sacrificed their jobs or schooling as they have stood in the streets for 65+ nights since the killing of Mike Brown.
While 50 clergy/seminarians/people of faith were arrested on Monday at the Ferguson Police Department for “disturbing the peace” during a protest that included prayers, calling Ferguson Police Department to repent and turn from their ways, and singing hymns to God, Darren Wilson and many others who have killed young men and women are still free.
Clergy, people of faith, and members of the human race cannot stand for this and must boldly speak out until this injustice ends. But this is not just a Ferguson or St. Louis issue. This is a national and international problem. These protesters are not just calling out the sins of St. Louis and Ferguson Police Departments. They are calling out the sins of the systems that allow for racial profiling and brutality in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Bethlehem. They are calling out the sins of the entire justice system.
And as people of faith and/or members of the human race, we must join them in radically and boldly calling out these sins until the walls of injustice are torn down.
Because ALL of God’s children are human and deserve life.
Thank you for standing with the people of Ferguson.
God Bless you, Emily. My church is having a meeting tonight on racism. We all need to stay involved in this issue. Thank you for your presence in Ferguson, and for this post.
Your passion for helping others has always been one of your greatest traits! I am very proud of you and your ministry!
Emily, I am so thankful for you and the work you’re doing to challenge systemic racism. Keep standing and speaking!
It would be a travesty of justice if Officer Wilson were indicted because of a public outcry for his blood. There is still much that hasn’t come out yet. We need for the facts to come out and then if there is sufficient evidence of wrong doing on the officer’s part we let the justice system do it’s job. I know nothing of Officer Wilson’s thoughts and attitudes towards race, and just because he is white and Michael Brown was black we should not automatically assume racism. In an article today, from the New York Times, The forensics tests showed Mr. Brown’s blood on the gun, as well as on the interior door panel and on Officer Wilson’s uniform. Officer Wilson told the authorities that Mr. Brown had punched and scratched him repeatedly, leaving swelling on his face and cuts on his neck. Mr Brown was a large man and one could see how the officer could have felt a great threat. I only write this to show that this is not a clear cut case of racism. Officer Wilson is innocent until proven guilty. We can’t allow the court of public opinion to be judge and jury. I’ll include the link to the Times article. http://mobile.nytimes.com/2014/10/18/us/ferguson-case-officer-is-said-to-cite-struggle.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&smid=tw-nytimes&_r=1&referrer=
The more I think about this issue and as more of the facts of this case come out in support of Officer Wilson’s report, the more strongly I feel about what is taking place there. I believe with all of the attention and all of the groups and individuals coming to Ferguson, the flames of racist accusations are being fanned. And along with it, unfortunately, the flames of anger and the potential for devastating violence. We are heading towards an untenable situation. We may have a grand jury, afraid of the possible consequences of not returning an indictment, indict a man who may well be innocent. And with people at a boiling point, a non-indictment, I believe, will cause Ferguson to explode. Racism exists. Racism however, at times, is also invoked where none exists. I think we need to be careful when throwing out such an incendiary charge, lest we do damage to someone’s reputation, and far more, and also inflame the violent passions of a group that perceives themselves, and no doubt, at times rightfully so, victims of racism. Emily, I want you to know that I write this with all due respect. I am also providing a link to even more current information regarding this case. http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/10/22/official-michael-brown-autopsy-reportedly-reveals-teen-was-shot-at-close-range/
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So proud of you!
A fellow Chicago Presbytery member.