America is going through a cultural renaissance where love is springing forth despite the flags of hate. It was on Nov. 24, 2014, that my son and I went to Ferguson, Mo., as peacemakers and protestors while waiting on the verdict to be announced concerning the killing of Michael Brown by Officer Darren Wilson.
When the decision was given by the grand jury consisting of nine whites and three blacks that Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted for the death of Michael Brown on Aug. 9, 2014, many in the city of Ferguson, Mo., responded with anger and violence. While in the midst of the crowd, attempting to keep the peace and looking into the eyes of many of the young people that were rioting, I felt a social paradigm shift for an urgency of “right now” change.
So, what have we learned?
The problem of race in America is systemic. We have learned that racism has to be fought on all levels — in our homes, in our schools, in our churches, in our government, and especially in law enforcement and our criminal justice system.
One identifiable African-American president since the founding of our nation, July 4, 1776, does not change a nation, it only reveals the entrenched hate and racism in our nation.
So, what have we learned since Ferguson?
We have learned that the killing of young black males by white police officers has not stopped. We also learned that black on black murder has not stopped. Black lives do matter, however that does not take from the fact that all lives matter. The “Black Lives Matter Movement” is simply saying that in America it appears that black lives have been devalued through a lack of jobs, more arrest and convictions, more imprisonments, and increased poverty.
We have learned that in order to battle racism we must have face to face dialogues made up of all ages and races to deal with our past and present pain. As Americans we must extinguish the notion of white supremacy once and for all and see ourselves as Americans, one nation under God.
The balance of power in America is shifting to the majority minority which will require all of us to engage our communities for greater social change.
What have we learned since Michael Brown’s death?
We’ve learned that there are thousands of young multi-ethnic activists that have come forth to bring America together under one flag with the wisdom of the old fused with the passion of the young who are saying — America — we are one.
Dr. John L. Curry is pastor of Conqueror’s Christian Center in Belleville.