On Monday, I was one of hundreds to march and one of about 50 (most of whom were seminarians and clergy of different faiths) who was arrested at the Ferguson Police Department for ironically “disturbing the peace” while peacefully protesting the “justice” system that allows for racial policing and brutality and has led to the death of Michael Brown, Vonderrick Myers, and so many other children of God.
As a former St. Louisan who – in my 4 years there – had seen only a glimpse of the incredibly deep systemic racial inequalities that prevail in that city; as a pastor of youth who has heard too many stories from my own about their or their friends’ experiences of racial profiling by Chicago police; as one who deeply cares for the young people of St. Louis, Chicago, and the rest of this world; as a leader and member of the faith community – who has been called to follow the Way of Jesus, One who risked much while calling out systemic injustice and radically proclaiming that no human lives are more worthy than others; and as a member of the human race: I felt called to go to Ferguson and was willing to be arrested.
There, seminarians and clergy of different faiths joined the brave and bold young people of St. Louis who have been organizing their communities to stand up – many of whom have risked being tear gassed, hit by rubber bullets, and arrest, and have sacrificed their jobs or schooling as they have stood in the streets for 65+ nights since the killing of Mike Brown.
While 50 clergy/seminarians/people of faith were arrested on Monday at the Ferguson Police Department for “disturbing the peace” during a protest that included prayers, calling Ferguson Police Department to repent and turn from their ways, and singing hymns to God, Darren Wilson and many others who have killed young men and women are still free.
Clergy, people of faith, and members of the human race cannot stand for this and must boldly speak out until this injustice ends. But this is not just a Ferguson or St. Louis issue. This is a national and international problem. These protesters are not just calling out the sins of St. Louis and Ferguson Police Departments. They are calling out the sins of the systems that allow for racial profiling and brutality in New York, Chicago, Dallas, Bethlehem. They are calling out the sins of the entire justice system.
And as people of faith and/or members of the human race, we must join them in radically and boldly calling out these sins until the walls of injustice are torn down.
Because ALL of God’s children are human and deserve life.