Last month there was such an array of scheduled protests in Ferguson that St. Louis called it, “Ferguson October.” It was quite a sight to see the picture of Cornel West and Jim Wallis in the Los Angeles Times joining clergy members and other demonstrators to continue to protest the shooting of Michael Brown. Fulfilling a promise he made to hundreds of activists the night before, Cornel West was arrested, one of 48 demonstrators (many of them clergy) arrested by St. Louis County police. Joining the protest were the parents of Vonderrit Myers, who was shot and killed by an off-duty St. Louis police officer in the nearby neighborhood of Shaw. Myers’ family has said he was unarmed. Police said they recovered a gun at the scene and three bullets Myers had fired at the officer, however, this alleged action prompted 17 rounds of return fire.
The protest movement that has emerged since Brown’s death in Ferguson has become more organized and diversified in its tactics and targets. There is a generational conflict between young demonstrators and the older protest establishment. I appreciated the words of Rev. Ben McBride of Oakland who said in the Los Angeles Times, “We’re standing against the criminalization of young black men and we believe as people of faith that our faith is supposed to look like something in public. The reality is, our young people are expressing some justified frustration with the faith community, with the world, with the status quo, so we’re here in solidarity. It is a new movement. It is a new day. We are not going to hold our young people back.” I encourage all in the Precious Blood Community to continue to hold in prayer the ongoing concerns of Ferguson. Please pray that we learn from the ugly effects of racism in our culture and strive to do better. Please hear the words of Rev. McBride, who challenges us stand in solidarity with black youth.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.