Ferguson Response

Ferguson Response

Am I NextMy 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.

Comments:
  • SheilaC
    Reply

    “Once again, the “system” has notified us that the lives of young men of color hold less value than others.” I do not agree with that statement, rather, I say “How many lives need to be ruined, livelihoods lost because a young man accosted a police officer.” It is terrible that a young man lost his life. Just awful and tragic, but, look at the root cause of this. I would never as much as talk back to a police officer, let alone attack one – nor would any of my children. And to judge a police officers action after the fact, when you not have the actual facts that the grand jury had, is an injustice. Last night my family listened to all the major networks to see what each reported and we were shocked to the point of yelling at the tv at some of the misinformation being reported. It’s like they heard a different speech from what we heard by the prosecutor. We actually went back and compared what was said to what was reported. It was apparent that there was significant bias in several stations, MSNBC being the worst. Only one anchor we heard last night actually tried to correct a speaker who misrepresented the truth. Until we all give respect to authority, and to each other – regardless of race, religion or status, we will have these problems. No life has less value than another – that goes for all human life. No group is better than another or deserving more resources than another. Each person must have self respect and must respect his neighbor and the rule of law. If you do not agree with a law, get involved, there are ways to affect change that do not include hurting anyone or destroying their property. If someone tells you otherwise, consider finding another source. Open your eyes to the truth, it’s there if you look. As it stands, a young man is dead, a police officer’s life will never be the same, a city is in ruins, people have lost their property and livelihoods and race relations are worse than they have been in years. It did not have to be this way.

    November 25, 2014 at 10:05 AM
    • Thank you for your perspective Sheila. I wouldn’t expect us all to agree because we have different experiences. You’re right in that this didn’t have to happen, but it seems like your comments indicate that he deserved to die.

      If this were a simple tussle that ended tragically, there would be little to debate. Such tussles happen daily. However, this is much more than that. This young man was not shot at close range. He was shot dozens of feet from the squad car. The fact that there is disagreement on exactly how far away he was, exactly where his wounds were, exactly how many bullets were necessary to stop him (he was shot 8-9 times), tells me that a jury needs to hear this.

      You stated, “Until we all give respect to authority, and to each other – regardless of race, religion or status, we will have these problems.” I couldn’t agree with you more, although it seems to only go one way. Our young men are harassed every day by police. The “stop and frisk” rule is still active in New York. Another man was choked to death for selling cigarettes. The fact that this is happening over and over again is what contributes to the frustration in the African-American community.

      I wouldn’t expect you to understand… I can only ask you to try to see that there are another angles. It is not as simple as you’ve stated. Your experience in the “majority culture” in Leesburg, VA may be quite different than the poor person in an underserved community who can’t always “find another way.”

      November 25, 2014 at 1:50 PM
      • @ToddJ24
        Reply

        Once again it’s easier to blame others for the situation your men of color find themselves in rather than what the real issue is. It’s the same story every time one of your men of color bucks what we as a society have set down as acceptable behavior.

        Instead of pointing your fingers at the rest of society how about teaching your men of color to Respect God Respect their family Respect their community and Respect themselves most of all. Then maybe just maybe you might see a difference in how your men of color are viewed and treated by the rest of society.

        Change starts at home and until your people of color stand up and demand change from their children they will continue to be looked at and treated differently from the rest of society. Trust me I won’t hold my breath you’ve had decades to get that message a crossed to your men of color and it’s still the same story acted like a THUG then cry about the outcome.

        November 27, 2014 at 4:58 PM
        • I’ll do my best to overlook how crass and disrespectful your language is and address the meat what you’ve said.

          If you actually read the blog, you’d notice that no one is playing the blame game here. At least until you arrived. The third point of the blog was to engage these young men and teach them how to exist within this system… similar to what you attempted to say amongst your vitriol.

          I mean no harm sir, but you seem so blinded by your prejudice that you can’t even see when someone actually agrees with you. Better luck next time, I guess.

          December 2, 2014 at 12:59 PM
          • @ToddJ24

            There is no prejudice in this I simply adopted your terminology. I could have just used American People but you sir singled YOUR men out as different not I.

            Actually it was you that pointed your finger at a system that continues to treat or look at your men of color differently. As if it is as simple as the color of their skin that is the root of the matter. When in fact what causes them their issues is their lack of compliance to society standards. Something that should have been imparted to them from the first breath they took. No it’s easier to blame the system for not being set in your favor than to put the blame where it belongs which is first their parents and followed right behind on them. It’s not up to society to change any longer. The playing field is way past even.

            Change will never truly be found for your men of color until that message is accepted by you and people like you

            December 3, 2014 at 12:31 PM
          • Betty Wilkerson

            ToddJ’s
            reponse implies that parents of men of color are not good parents. He implies that we do not teach our children at
            home and that we have failed at this for decades. This response implies that men of color are
            the only ones that cross the line and do not comply with the norms within
            society. First, let me acknowledge that
            I am a parent of two young adult men of color.
            I taught my sons right from wrong and had them in church. However, when our children reach the age of
            majority, they make their own choices and not all of them are good
            choices. When they make bad choices,
            they suffer the consequences for the bad decisions. One of my sons made bad decisions as a teenager
            and was incarcerated for 12 and half years.
            I tried everything within my own power to save him but when I couldn’t
            get through to him, the consequences of his choices did. He has changed from the inside out and is a
            productive member of society with a good job.
            Parents across racial lines do the best that they can to raise their
            children correctly. However, God has
            given each of us a “free will.” Often,
            our children stray away from the home teachings and go outside of those lines.

            Doing wrong
            within our society is not a problem associated just with men of color. This is a problem that crosses racial
            lines. I refuse to believe that the
            parents of all the people we have in prisons across our country were bad
            parents. People across racial lines
            (white, black, Hispanic/Latino and others) of multiple age groups have
            committed violent, property, drug and public order offenses according to a U.S.
            Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics Report on recidivism released
            April 2014. The study tracked over
            400,000 prisoners released in 30 states from 2005 through 2010. The statistics in the report came from states
            and federal systems that capture this information. The report includes statistics for prisoners
            who were released in 2005 that were returned to prison for various offenses
            starting 6 months after release through 2010.
            The numbers below were taken from Table 15 of the report. The purpose of showing the numbers is not to
            point out which racial group has higher numbers but to show the facts that all
            racial groups in our country have the same problem. You will also notice that there is a high
            recidivism rate because once people are release, many do not have opportunities
            available to them to help them succeed. The
            facts are public information. Why is the
            focus of wrong doing just on one group?

            Cumulative
            percent of released prisoners arrested within 6 months of release in 2005
            through 2010 is shown below except the statistics for Other (unspecified category).

            Race/Hispanic Orgin and Most

            Serious Commitment Offense

            6

            mos

            1 yr

            2 yr

            3yr

            4yr

            5yr

            All released prisoners

            28.2

            43.4

            59.5

            67.8

            73.0

            76.6

            White

            25.6

            39.7

            55.5

            63.9

            69.3

            73.1

            ·
            Violent

            21.9

            33.6

            48.2

            55.6

            61.1

            65.1

            ·
            Property

            31.2

            47.6

            63.9

            71.9

            76.9

            80.0

            ·
            Drug

            23.6

            37.7

            53.4

            62.4

            68.2

            72.6

            ·
            Public Order

            21.5

            33.9

            50.1

            60.2

            65.6

            69.5

            Black/African American

            29.1

            45.8

            63.2

            71.7

            77.2

            80.8

            ·
            Violent

            26.1

            41.5

            58.1

            66.4

            72.6

            76.9

            ·
            Property

            33.9

            51.3

            68.5

            76.5

            81.8

            64.5

            ·
            Drug

            28.5

            45.5

            63.7

            72.6

            77.9

            81.5

            ·
            Public Order

            27.3

            44.4

            61.4

            69.9

            75.3

            79.1

            Hispanic/Latino

            32.3

            46.3

            60.7

            68.1

            72.2

            75.3

            ·
            Violent

            28.1

            40.9

            54.9

            62.7

            67.5

            71.3

            ·
            Property

            39.8

            55.7

            71.1

            77.6

            80.2

            83.0

            ·
            Drug

            29.0

            42.2

            57.0

            65.0

            69.8

            72.5

            ·
            Public Order

            34.9

            50.4

            61.7

            68.4

            72.2

            75.9

            Note:
            Prisoners were tracked for 5 years following release. Inmates could have been
            in prison for more than one offense; the most serious one is reported in this
            table. Data on the prisoner’s race or Hispanic origin were known for nearly
            100% of cases. Source: Bureau of Justice Statistics, Recidivism of State
            Prisoners Released in 2005 data collection.
            (This is only an excerpt taken from the notes associated with Table 15
            of the report).

            December 3, 2014 at 5:28 PM
          • @ToddJ24

            No Ma’am you have misinterpreted my comment or I wasn’t clear as to my message. My comment goes directly to the O/P comments in how things are stacked against men of color from a failing system of justice and to some degree people that are not of color. Please look back to my 1st post in which I clearly stated at some point it is the men of color’s issues in how they choose to live among a society of people who choose to live at peace with each other, respect each other and follow not only man’s law but most importantly GOD’S law.

            The O/P seems to dance around the actions of a man of color which brings about a negative response instead points to a system in his words that are ” stacked against men of color “. In my humble opinion this is just a way to give a man of color an excuse for their negative actions instead of where the real responsibility lay which is on them not the rest of us who choose not act in that negative fashion.

            Please understand the only reason I keep bringing up men of color is due to the O/P focus. Had he said young men, teens, elderly adult then my paint brush would have been in bigger strokes

            December 4, 2014 at 9:46 AM
          • Betty Wilkerson

            ToddJ24 . . .”Instead of pointing your fingers at the rest of society how about teaching your men of color to Respect God Respect their family Respect their community and Respect themselves most of all. Then maybe just maybe you might see a difference in how your men of color are viewed and treated by the rest of society.

            Change starts at home and until your people of color stand up and demand change from their children they will continue to be looked at and treated differently from the rest of society. Trust me I won’t hold my breath you’ve had decades to get that message a crossed to your men of color and it’s still the same story acted like a THUG then cry about the outcome.”

            My response to you is a follow-up to what you said above. The truth of the matter is that it is easier to overlook other groups that have the same or similar issues as young men of color. Another truth is that there are many men of color who are well educated and productive members of society. It is easy to point out a speck in another person’s eye when there is a beam in yours. All I am trying to do is get you to see that issues that parents of color face with their children are also issues faced by whites, Hispanics/Latinos and others. The facts are readily available if we choose to learn of them.

            December 5, 2014 at 10:36 PM
          • @ToddJ24

            The topic here is dealing with the O/P MEN OF COLOR. As I said before the O/P is the one who pulled a certain group of society out not I. My comments are a response to him over said group. I in no way think that crime and disorder is confined to a race. Please stop implying that my view, comments or belief is of such

            December 11, 2014 at 12:41 PM
          • Betty Wilkerson

            ToddJ24 I am happy to say that my sons of color are okay. They are respectful young men of color. Some views can not be changed no matter what information is brought forth. I will no longer continue this discussion. I wish your family and you happy holidays!!!

            December 12, 2014 at 9:50 PM
          • Yes, we’ve finally discovered the source of your ignorance. You think that the system is “more than equal.” LOL! I hereby release you to enjoy your fairy tale never-world. Good day.

            December 4, 2014 at 6:14 PM
          • @ToddJ24

            Yes and I’ve discovered the purpose of your posts. To further inflame an all ready tense situation with rants about unfair treatment to a RACE that has shown the majority are law abiding extremely educated very successful productive members to not only their community but their country. It’s people like you that try to keep your race in chains of bondage from a time that has long since past not I.

            I have further discovered that you do not present yourself as a true man of God but are more in the category of a cheap online 10 minute application with a $35.00 fee that comes complete with a Walmart fill in the blank certificate and a mass produced email that says “Congratulations you are now a Reverend” much like Al Sharpton. Which should have come with an attached sub letter that says “It’s official I’m a RACE BAITER”.

            Now that your message is clear and your true agenda exposed it is I who being now clear what you truly are KICK YOU TO THE CURB LIKE LAST WEEKS TRASH.

            December 5, 2014 at 8:54 AM
  • Alexander Twyman
    Reply

    After I saw the decision, I felt hopeless and then I felt angry. Though I am not privy to all of the evidence, I cannot see how the jury came to their decision not to indict. If someone is bumrushing you, their arms would be bent which would not allow gunshots down the front of the arm only. Right? Anyway, when I saw the rioting, I understood it. I didn’t condone it, but I understood it. When you have a system that does not address actual or perceived oppression, vigilantism or violence is soon to follow. I felt bad for the business owners though because those are people’s livelihoods and they don’t deserve that. Concerning a solution, I’m not sure yet because I’m not sure if we have accurately identified the problem. Most consider this an issue of police violence and injustices in our justice system (These are just symptoms). To me, this is a battle for the minds of our young people and the culture as a whole. In response, we must be faithful influencers in our circles. In addition to influencing our children to obey the law and respect authority so they aren’t in compromising situations in the first place, we must influence them to strive to be the best they can be so they can be in positions of power to make wise and Godly decisions. Lastly, we must pray through adversity knowing that only God can bring true and lasting change. Our efforts at best will only bring incremental change, but something is better than nothing. I love the scripture you referenced. Only God can heal our land, but we must do the work to influence those around us to be humble, pray, to seek God, and to repent.

    November 25, 2014 at 10:47 AM
    • Excellent perspective! Thanks so much for sharing Alexander. Both sides must take a long look at ourselves. Lasting change can only happen with fair self-reflection.

      November 25, 2014 at 1:36 PM
  • Wenona Price
    Reply

    I am dissappointed and truly saddened. It must stop and as a christian, I believe that it is our /my responsibility to pray. We, christans are truly homeland security. ALso, we must become apart of the political fabric of this country. We must fight on our knees and fight at the polls. I am however grateful that we had the outloud prayer on the call this morning, I just really needed to cryout to the Lord with other saints.

    November 25, 2014 at 10:58 AM
    • Thanks for sharing Wenona! I appreciated the prayer call this morning also. Gave me a minute to woo-sah! You all ministered to me this morning.

      November 25, 2014 at 1:33 PM
  • Betty Wilkerson
    Reply

    I personally do not have all the facts surrounding the
    untimely death of this young man but he is not the only one that this has happened too. Makes one wonder if there is an underlying message to the Black community, to our President. I remember when President Obama was running for the Presidency, people in many states found a noose at their workplace, on a ship, etc. The stories were in the newspaper for all to read. In my opinion, this was a scare tactic for the Black community to discourage President Obama from running. I am glad he continued to run. Yes, we have a Black President! He is a highly intelligent, educated man but we should not see his color when we look at him. We should see him as the man and leader of our country that he is. I think the majority in our country sees him this way because we elected him. I can appreciate some of what SheilaC said in her response about this issue.

    We live in a wonderful country, envied by the rest of the world. We have some freedoms that other countries may not have. We are also a country that worships the one and only God but among us are some controlled by God’s adversary.

    I often wonder if Dr. King was still living, what would be his reaction to this. If Thurgood Marshall was still alive, what would be his reaction to this? We know that Dr. King stood for justice for all and peaceful agitation to bring about positive change. We know that Justice Marshall brought about change through the system of law. These are good models for us now.

    Billy Graham once said that there will be no real change
    in our society until man changes his heart towards God. In my opinion,
    hatred makes the hater sicker than the one the hate is directed towards. As Christians, we have been taught by the Word of God to love one another. We are to love our neighbor as much as we love our self. This love includes our young black men. They love this country too and want to be a real part of it.

    Since I don’t have all the facts, I can’t point out
    injustices here but God knows all. If there was injustice done, the
    unjust will prosper for a while but he will receive his just reward. God
    will see to that. As people, we can exercise our rights as citizens and
    make time to vote and to otherwise make our voices heard. To bring about healing for this situation, the leaders should be open with the
    people.

    November 25, 2014 at 12:25 PM
  • Wenona Price
    Reply

    I just listened to a press conference with the family attorney, Al Sharpton and others. He said that we need an ongoing strategy, and that is true. Furthermore we need African Americans to become attorneys who will serve there communities, to become prosecutors, judges, senators, congress men and women, Police Commissioners, Police Captains, Community Activist and the like. We need to be present and accounted for from grassroots to local juridisctions, every courthouse and courtroom, the White House. We must have a presence. The engagement that you wrote about is absolutely critical.

    November 25, 2014 at 12:30 PM
  • Bev Peterson
    Reply

    I tried to post earlier, but was unsuccessful on my phone. I posted a link to Dr. Manning’s blog on my Facebook page, because as a white, Christian woman, I was troubled by the scornful, judgmental posts on Facebook. The last paragraph of Dr. Manning’s blog asks several important questions: 1) How do I feel about the grand jury decision? I am still not convinced (having read accounts from August 9) that Michael Brown was running toward Officer Wilson to assault him. Even if he was, how many shots did it take to subdue the suspect? What is my reaction to what I see happening in Ferguson? I am so very sad. Part of me wonders, are the protests gang/crime related? And part of me feels that the community of Ferguson feels backed into a corner, that they have not and will not be heard unless they resort to violence and destruction. Still I imagine, mothers and children inside there homes worried that the gunshots, the fire, the destruction will reach them. How can I be a part of the solution in my city? I live in a predominately white Atlanta suburb. The events of Ferguson haven’t happened here, but they could. I am praying for the Ferguson community. I am praying for the community and the police force of Woodstock, GA, where I live. I welcome any comments regarding what I can do. In the body of Christ, what practical ways can we mobilize to bring real solutions to this epidemic? Stop judging each other! Rather than offer judgment, speak with compassion and love. Read James 1. Take care of the poor, widows, orphans. This is true religion.

    November 25, 2014 at 7:23 PM

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