My soul has been weary reading, watching, praying, and going from one emotional extreme to the other as I have watched the events transpire in #Ferguson over the past few days.
The facts that we know concerning this incident: For those who are not aware, on Saturday, August 9 a white police officer, Darren Wilson, shot and killed an unarmed 18 year old in Ferguson, Missouri, and the victim’s body was left lying in the streets for at least four hours. This African American young man, Michael Brown, was initially confronted for jaywalking. An autopsy report has confirmed that Michael was shot at least six times, including four times in his arm and a fatal shot to his head. The Ferguson Police Department has placed Officer Darren Wilson on paid administrative leave, have made no charges, and has not released an incident report concerning this fatal shooting.
What has happened since the incident: In spite of some reports, most of the citizens of Ferguson have shown up for days to exercise their right for freedom of assembly and they have been peaceful. Those protests have been met with infringement on those rights as police have used tear gear and rubber bullets against men, women, and children. Some of these scare tactics and imposed curfews have been received as oppressive by citizens who are angry at the injustice and want their voices heard. Some of them have retaliated, which unfortunately has caused some peaceful people to also suffer. #Ferguson has caused an uprising all across the country and the world!
This is what we know right now.
The most accurate and up-to-date information (anything from reporting, live video feeds, photography, eye witness accounts, etc.) are happening on Twitter following the hashtag #Ferguson. This revolution is being televised! It has been interesting to see the contrast between what is reported from opinionated programing and what is being reported from the people who are actually on the ground. There is no doubt that some of the Twitter images dangerously resemble a war zone. There is no doubt that images from the Civil Rights Movement have been placed next to Ferguson images which make some black people feel like we are in a time warp.
Let there be no doubt. For many African Americans, this is not an isolated incident. This is a part of a very long narrative of the devaluing of a Black life, race relations, injustices and police brutality against African American people that is documented in this country. If you are not African American and have not seen or experienced this reality in your personal life, it is important to acknowledge that just because you haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean that it’s not happening. This is worthy read: 11 Things White People Should Stop Saying to Black People Immediately.
I am beyond dismayed that with the exception of a few organizations, my white Christian brothers and sisters have either chosen to get on the bandwagon of defaming Michael Brown’s character or simply being silent on this issue. Well, there’s this thing about Jesus, that he couldn’t remain silent when people were abusing children, or when religious and political structures cared more about the letter of the law than the healing and freedom of people. I’m not going to respond to questions that I don’t have the answer to, and I’m not going to wait until we know the whole story. I choose today to continue to stand on the side of Jesus.
Today I have added my “Race Matters” board to Pinterest. It currently includes 126 posts about racial context, injustices, and reconciliation. You can access it here: http://www.pinterest.com/asistasjourney/race-matters/
I will be adding more posts to the Pinterest board in the coming days. If you do not have a Pinterest account, then you can start education by clicking “Race” under the “Blog Categories” on the right hand side of this page.
I am so thankful that Christianity Today is currently running a “Race and the Church” series and I will be featured there next week. You can access the entire series here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/amyjuliabecker/2014/august/
The Missio Alliance is also running a series right now about unity in the church, and I will be featured there next month. You can access the series here: http://www.missioalliance.org/blog/
Today, I’m going to close with a very simple question, “How do these images make you feel?”
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© Natasha Sistrunk Robinson 2014