I was in Ferguson the day after the Grand Jury decision was handed down in the Michael Brown case. The release of the police officer from wrongdoing sparked a lot of anger and resentment, which was apparent in the conversations I had with people there. I joined other clergy to offer prayerful support to a community suffering from the effects of racism. Such racism unfortunately leads to violent rage: I especially witnessed this among young black protesters of both genders. We as ministers tried to encourage peaceful protest and encouraged the protesters to share their frustrations with us. The experience reminded me of the racism Missourians for Alternatives to the Death Penalty has seen in the past from St. Louis County. Our efforts have been to diminish community violence by absorbing the pain and hurt that victims, and their friends, family, and neighbors experience. We work to change a system that causes violence which threatens to break down our communities.
The State of Missouri continues to commit violence through capital punishment, planning to execute Paul Goodwin on December 10th. MADP is working to persuade Governor Nixon to grant him clemency. Goodwin’s main issue is that his mental retardation should make him ineligible to be executed. If there is no stay in his case, I welcome you to our vigil on the KC Plaza at Nichols Fountain from 4-5 pm on Dec. 9th.
We will also have a vigil and Mass to pray for the end of gun violence in our inner city at St. James Church at 39th & Harrison on December 11th. The candlelight vigil will begin at 6 pm at 39th & Troost Ave., followed by Mass at St. James at 6:30pm.
Daryl Charron, C.PP.S.