As I watched the verdict from Ferguson, Missouri, I found myself breathing and praying. I knew deep down in my soul that the next 48 hours would be a very difficult time for Ferguson and the nation as a whole. Clearly, the outcome was not one that so many had hoped for. As someone that has written about this subject extensively, I know that many were eager to hear my point of view. So I thought it would be fitting to share my views on last night’s verdict in Ferguson.
Truthfully, my views have not changed. When I wrote a letter to Ferguson and then one to America this summer, I wrote from a very authentic and deep place. I wrote in great detail about the troubles facing our nation in the area of race relations. Sadly, this decision will set back race relations in this nation even further. As I have stated before, something has to change! We do have a serious problem with race that needs to be addressed when tensions are lowered. Also, we need to have impactful and authentic dialogue between law enforcement and minority communities. We have seen a gargantuan breakdown over the years, and it is time for a heart-to-heart conversation. More importantly, we need to have serious dialogue as a nation. I still believe in the message of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. I long for the day when a man will not be judged for the color of his skin but for the content of his character. Only dialogue, unity and love can break down the walls of racism, bigotry and hatred that have prevailed for generations. Also, let me reiterate that violence is not the answer. The destruction of property, reckless behavior and the shedding of innocent blood will not change the state of race relations in this nation. Instead it will add fuel to an already intense fire. I know that many are upset, but destroying the community will not solve this problem. Your outrage needs an outlet. Channel your anger for change. Violence is the enemy of progress and the deterrent of change.
So what is our next course of action? The only thing left to do is to unite and use the power of our voices to make a difference. Instead of using violence, use your voice to stand up for injustice in the world. Form collaborative partnerships within the community that can truly make a difference. We have to honor the wishes of the parents of Michael Brown. Turn your rage into revolution. We must begin to dialogue about how to prevent things like this from happening again. The Brown family is grieving and trying to bring closure to a very difficult situation that they will never have clarity about. We need to allow them space to heal. We also need to allow ourselves time to heal. Ultimately, justice is not decided by men. Do not allow pain to become the enemy of progress. This is a dark moment for many. However, I choose to see this as a defining moment that can produce something powerful!