Friday, August 29, 2014

Mike Brown’s Blood

When Rev. Traci Blackmon picked me up from St. Louis International Airport last week, she was in a state of exhaustion that allowed her to be little more than present. A hospitable local clergywoman, she had been working on the front lines of the Ferguson demonstrations, organizing several of the local rallies demanding justice. I could see why she was one of the most respected pastors in the area. She told me how she had been establishing safe havens and healing circles in churches for those too traumatized to march among the armored vehicles that lined the streets. Much of her work was behind the scenes, coordinating efforts between property owners, politicians, and police officers for long-term solutions to the war zone that Ferguson had become.

She had also been challenging newcomers.

“The question I’ve been asking people is ‘Why are you here?’” she told me, clearly extending the question to me as well.

My answer was simple. I was in Ferguson because I felt an irresistible call from the Spirit to go; I could not not be there; I was there because Mike Brown felt like my distant relative and a kind of gatekeeper of my children’s fate if nothing changes. But my answer to her second question was much harder to find.
“What’s the difference between Mike Brown’s murder,” she asked, “and any of the other murders of unarmed black people at the hands of police? Why is his murder causing this kind of response?”

“What’s the difference between Mike Brown’s murder,” she asked, “and any of the other murders of unarmed black people at the hands of police? Why is his murder causing this kind of response?” I was a bit stumped. I wondered if it had to do with the unique makeup of the Black community in St. Louis. Maybe this time the police had done wrong to people who had simply had enough. Perhaps their fiery courage was enough to kindle the world’s courage.

“I think it’s the blood,” she answered for me. “They left him lying on that street for four hours. Everyone was forced to absorb it.”

Read the rest here

4 comments:

DH-MTS said...

In my day, I'm going back old school, we (as African Americans) would stick together and protest; all for one and one for all. Today it doesn't seem like we have that cohesiveness. When Trayvon Martin was killed we should have protested, we should have boycotted, we should have made our voices heard. Now we have this incident in our community again. How much innocent and wrongful bloodshed will have to take place before we come together and make them hear us?

John C. Lowrance said...

It is clear from this article that there are many issues that face the community of Ferguson and America. These issues are based in the injustices that have taken place over the course of time. There is no question the Michael Brown's death was tragic. It must also be said that there are other issue beyond his death that are at the heart of tensions in Ferguson and other communities. These tensions result at least in part from the desire for freedom, the need for economic security, the need for trust, and the need for a positive interactive relationship among all parties. Can this be achieved? Yes. Will it be? That remains to be seen as people from all sides deal with all aspects of personal and corporate interaction. The religious community can be an impactful force along with the people of the community of Ferguson.

Joe W. Mitchell said...

Why did people go to F,Mo.? Maybe for various reasons. I don't know, but God knows! We can do somethings, which sometimes doesn't make any sense? But God Knows! Yes, Mike Brown is gone, but his blood stills speaks! The stain is there! You very hard to wash away a bloodstain!

Taylor M (Voice and Diction-01) said...

His blood. Four hours. I still was in shock at the disrespect of the police. The answers to these questions above are so true, yet they still manage to sadden me. Mike Brown's death is only a symbol. I found myself thinking about how hard it will be when I have a black son. He will have to face this same type of discrimination, and the sheer thought almost brought me to tears. I commend the people of Ferguson for making so much noise, the rest of the world had no choice but to stand beside the protesters. I thought the story of Treyvon Martin went away too quietly, and I was happy to see someone fighting back. The non-indictment was not a loss, but rather the fact that so many people connected and united over Mike Brown is a victory. His death was not in vein. He united a people and started a movement. We are protesting, because we will no longer take this abuse sitting down.