My heart aches for what is taking place in Ferguson, MO. Once again, the “system” has notified us that the lives of young men of color hold less value than others. What we are seeing is the reinstitution of the Three-Fifths Compromise. The life of this young man doesn’t seem to be worth a jury trial. We’ve been informed clearly that he deserved to die.
I’m not saying that Mike Brown was completely innocent on August 9th. Who really is completely innocent? There have been many conflicting reports about what really took place on that day. Because of the many, varied reports, it is incomprehensible that a trial jury will never have the opportunity to hear and weigh the evidence.
As we look around, what is the proper response? Clearly there is outrage and anger. The outcry of rioting comes as a result of people feeling like they are not heard when protesting peacefully. Whose responsibility is it to step up? Well, God said to Solomon:
If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land. ~2 Chronicles 7:14
As the faith community, the responsibility is ours to intervene here. Healing of our land begins with us! Our willingness to turn to God, pray and act! I think the anger stems from an expectation that someone else will value our lives as much as we should… that someone else will protect our young men of color for us… that someone else will ensure that we have an even playing field. It has become clear that this is not the case… so what will we do?
1. We must PRAY! Pray for our country. Pray for our leaders. Pray for the police. Pray for our young men of color. We must cover this entire situation in prayer, asking God to intervene nationally and personally.
2. We must continue the fight to engage and change the system that continues to allow this to happen. There is no denying that the system is stacked against our young men. There is no easy solution to this. Rioting certainly isn’t the answer, but rather perpetuates the problem. Removing the perpetrators does not change the system that created them. Real change only happens by continual civic engagement over years. Beyond the protest, we must engage our governmental leaders, break down the walls of separation, exercise our right to vote, fight for opportunities for our poorer communities, and have REAL conversations about race in our country. These types of efforts don’t make headlines, but they make headway.
3. Thirdly, we must effectively engage our young men of color and impart in them the life skills to navigate this system. It will be a lifelong battle to change the system, and our young men don’t have a lifetime to wait. Many of our young men don’t know how to exist in a system that sees them as a threat or liability. We must see our young men as God sees them, so they can see themselves the same way. We must empower our young men to be great, rather than expecting them to fall short. We must teach them how to survive and excel within the system, so they can be part of changing the system.
How are you feeling after this grand jury decision? What is your reaction to what we see happening in Ferguson? How can you be part of the solution in your city? As the body of Christ, what practical ways can we mobilize to bring real solutions to this epidemic? Comment below.