Video by Rebecca Rivas
St. Louis American reporter and video editor
READ STORY By Kenya Vaughn
Of The St. Louis American http://www.stlamerican.com/news/local_news/article_621dc736-2626-11e4-8f0f-001a4bcf887a.html
“Know that God is good all the time,” said a woman speaking through a bullhorn on the sidewalk directly across from a shrine that marked the spot that 18-year-old Michael Brown lost his life at the Canfield Green Apartments.
Representing Bethesda Temple’s Missionary and Outreach Ministry, She offered mini-sermons in between their singing.
“We will glorify his holy name,” a small representation of the group sang fervently as the rain poured down – almost in a soulful chant-like cadence.
“It may not look like it right now, but all things work for the good of those who love the Lord,” the woman said fervently.
For many who were in the Canfield Green Apartments that morning, it appeared to most certainly not look like it.
They peeked from their front doors and stood on steps, watching as protesters and activists slowly started to convene for two different demonstrations that were to honor the life of the 18-year old boy who was shot down by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. One was a moment of prayer for Michael Brown and the people of Ferguson lead by the Rev. Jesse Jackson. The other was a moment of solidarity (and march) for all of the young African American men who were casualties of police violence.
It was within the hour of the one-week anniversary of Brown’s death.
A week probably felt like an eternity to the folks who have watched their corner of Ferguson become a nonstop hotbed of protests and activity.
It was first the most disheartening of crime scenes as Brown’s body lay uncovered for hours.
Then Gatherers from across the county, city and nation convened. Along with them on this day were FBI agents, who swarmed the complex knocking on doors in search of witnesses and information related to
In this national media sensation of a story, residents’ privacy has become the unspoken of collateral damage.
Yet as they sat and watched in a stance to suggest they were guarding what was left of their personal space, residents still managed to be gracefully open to their complex playing host to protests and demonstrations.
One woman clapped along as the Bethesda group sang. Another said “how you doing” as a non-resident woman and her son walked from the parking lot getting positioned to hear The Rev. Jesse Jackson lead protesters in prayer.
A couple of them even walked down to hear Jackson uplift the hundreds of protesters who had come to hear him deliver an encouraging word in the fight for justice on Brown and his family’s behalf.
“Here we stand 50 years after the march on Selma with some unlearned lessons,” Jackson told the crowd. “Too much fear, too much hatred, too much violence and too much bloodshed. Michael lives as long as we remember him. He was robbed of the right to walk the streets where he lived. Too long we have learned to survive apart. Now we have a different lesson – let’s learn to live together.”
In the solitude of prayer, hands gripped tighter as people from various walks of life stood as one as Jackson’s words echoed among them.
“We choose life over death,” Jackson said. “We choose futures over funerals. In the end if we do not faint we will not fail.
We pray for the family of Michael Brown and we must end the violence. There is power in non-violence – whether it’s Selma, Alabama, or India, or South Africa. You must choose prayers and love over rockets and missiles. We’ve survived apart for so long – there is power in living together.”
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