A Reflection: Perspective From a White Girl who Grew Up in Ferguson, MO
|Acrylic on Canvas by Dorothy Inman|
But what really happened? I don't know. There has been a lot of evidence floating around the internet. But does any of this tell the whole story? I don't know. So, I have been hesitant to say that one side or another was in the right. All I can to is trust the FBI, trust Eric Holder and trust mostly in God that justice will be served*. Whether it is justice for Mike Brown or justice for Darren Wilson, I pray that it will happen. I pray that the truth is told by everyone involved and that peace and change will flow as a result.
So, I'm not going to spend my blog giving a litany of facts and evidence that proves one over the other. At this point based on what I have seen on Facebook and the internet, I do not think this is a fruitful discussion within a blog**. Chances are I would come across as preferring one over the other and that is not my reason for this blog (although some readers may say I have already done this, but I would encourage you to read on).
What is my reason for this blog?
Well, first of all I want to tell you that the first 22 years of my life I lived in Ferguson, MO on the same street, in the same house. My parents, now, after 40 years of marriage still live in Ferguson, MO. 11 1/2 years ago I moved away to Louisville, but have made quite a few trips back to my home town.
|My Childhood Best Friend (who's parents also still live in Ferguson)|
|Paintings I Displayed for Cultural/Diversity Day While I was Working at Humana|
I'm not telling you all of this to toot my own horn. I'm telling you all of this because this is what my parents taught me. This is what Ferguson, MO taught me.
As I previously mentioned, my parents still live in Ferguson when so many chose to move to the West (documented as white flight). Currently in Ferguson, my parents are the minority. According to the 2010 census there are 67.4% African Americans and 29.3% Caucasians residing in Ferguson. If there is one thing my parents will tell you it is that they love this community. They love walking down the street and seeing diverse people. My mom loves her job at the community college where she gets to interact with the students that are from different backgrounds. They believe that God has called them to stay there, when many of their white friends have left. They attend the City Walk Concerts and go to the Farmer's Market. They have been a part of groups with both white and African American churches from the area who discuss how to make race issues better in Ferguson. They have led cycling tours through Ferguson and volunteer to help with city races. They love Ferguson.
|Childhood Friends and I at the Ferguson Brewing Company|
|High School Friend that I've Recently Reconnected With|
|My Sweet Girl Enjoying The Hands on Sculpture at the Jeske Sculpture Park|
|My Daughter and I at the Jeske Sculpture Park|
But the truth is that racism is still something that plagues our churches and plagues our society. I have learned this from close friends who have recounted stories to me of not only what their parents have went through, but what they have went through being an African American person.
So, we need to pray for peace and pray for change, not only in Ferguson, but in America and in the world. I have read so many times that what happened in Ferguson could happen in any city of the United States. The sad thing is, what happened in Ferguson has happened in many other cities in America, but the press weren't there and no one noticed (except those immediately affected). However, as a result of the recent events I believe with much prayer and discussion and action, peace and change can happen.
And I guess I may be naive. It may seem like a pipe dream that will never take place. But I think my God is bigger than that. In fact, He's already said that one day this will happen, because he loves the nations and his son died for the nations.
Jesus was called to be a light to the Gentiles. The Gentiles were everyone who was not Jewish (who were God's chosen people). Salvation was going to be brought to the Gentiles. That means everyone who isn't Jewish. Everyone.
God will bring healing to the nations. The nations are everyone of every tribe, every skin color, every tongue.
And the people who will worship at the foot of the throne of the Lamb will be people from every tribe, every tongue, everyone from all different nationalities. All different backgrounds. All different skin colors. Everyone.
Our job as Christ followers is to begin to set the world right, by bringing in peace and justice into it.
|Acrylic on Canvas by Dorothy Inman|
Christians, it is our job to pray. Pray for the Brown family. Pray for the Wilson family. Even if you think one or the other is the enemy, Jesus called us to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. He called us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Pray for the leaders in Ferguson, pray for the residents in Ferguson, pray for the churches, pray for the government officials involved. All of the people who I have mentioned above are our neighbor (remember the story of the Good Samaritan? Luke 10:25-37). And pray for healing across the United States.
And Christians, it is our job to love. I am not talking about making people our "projects", but I am talking about showing the love of Christ to everyone we meet. This may be in the form of getting to know your neighbor who has a ethnicity that is different from yours. This may be in the form of speaking your heart to a friend who is the same color as you are who makes racist remarks. This may be in getting out of your bubble and exposing your children to people who aren't just like them.
And Christians, it is our job to be light in the darkness. If we are not a light, who will be? If we are not the light, then everyone will just walk around, running into each other. We must be a light.
I am going to close with a prayer that my husband wrote to say in church in response to what has been happening in Ferguson.