It’s quiet in Ferguson, Missouri, today, the predominantly black suburb of St. Louis where dozens were arrested during days of civil unrest and protests following Brown’s death. Michael Brown’s parents pleaded for calm Monday and asked that protests stop for just one day so they could bury their son.
And while a Grand Jury has been empaneled to hear evidence in the case and decide whether to indict Officer Wilson, Rev. Michael Jones, pastor of Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church, said in an interview that he is tired of burying young black men and talked about Brown’s death from a historical and social perspective.
During the civil rights movement in St. Louis, “We didn’t respond or revolt in a way that resembled the times” as people did in some other cities, Jones said. “So in a quiet way, I think the frustrations have been sleeping or simmering.” Now, Jones said, “There appears to be a revolution of sorts happening in St. Louis.”
“There’s a racial component of inequities blacks are speaking to,” Jones added. “That is a huge problem that is often not dealt with here in St. Louis and it will continue to scream loudly. It creates a level of frustration and creates a sense of hopelessness and a sense of anger.”
“I know the powers that be in this region would not want to see this,” he said, “but it was inevitable.”
Like Rev. Jones, I’ve grown weary of watching the funeral processions for young Black men. It upsets me when I hear Black mothers grieving for their slain sons and Black fathers talk about losing their best friends.
So where do we go from here?
Black-on-Black crime is also a problem, Jones said. But “The apparent contradiction is our flame and fervor when someone else comes into our community and kills us but we’re not protesting as much and as openly when the numbers show that we’re killing each other at a higher rate.”
As I drove through side streets near Ferguson while daylight turned to darkness, I paid close attention to the speed limit as a police cruiser sped through an intersection.
“I couldn’t protect you but we love you,” the grieving father, Michael Brown Sr., wrote on a funeral card. “I will never let you die in my heart.”
How can we protect black children? Unarmed young Black men should not be gunned down by police simply for walking along America’s streets.
I understand the anger in Ferguson because, as a black man, I’m outraged, too.
What do you think?