Black Lives MatterWe know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
Martin Luther King, Letter From A Birmingham Jail (1963)

Highlights from social media in the wake of the Ferguson Uprising (graphic by Eric Mar):

From Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow (before the non-indictment announcement):

…What made this police killing different was that the people in Ferguson — particularly the young people — rose up and said We Will Not Take It Any More. Our Lives Matter. Black Lives Matter. And their cry has been heard around the world. No matter what the grand jury does, let us remember that true justice will come only when our criminal injustice system is radically transformed: when we no longer have militarized police forces, wars on our communities, a school-to-prison pipeline, and police departments that shoot first and ask questions later. True justice will be rendered not when when a single “guilty” verdict is rendered in one man’s case, but when the system as a whole has been found guilty and we, as a nation, have committed ourselves to repairing, as best we can, the immeasurable harm that has been done…

From Ruby Sales of the SpiritHouse Project:

Hurt is a word that keeps coming from Black people when we talk about the non-indictment of Officer Wilson in the outright murder of Michael Brown. As I listened to this word, a deep troubling began to develop in my being. It is not all together clear, but I want to try to articulate what I am sensing.

It seems to me that to stand on hurt as an operating principle of social justice roots itself in false expectations and delusions that the criminal justice system would do the right thing despite continued evidence to the contrary. If we internalize our rhetoric that we live in a police state that aims its weapons principally at the Black community, why would we expect that this system would turn against itself and indict Darren Wilson? For more than a hundred days Governor Nixon and other people in positions of power have doggedly refused to hear the voices of the people who raised the cry of justice for Michael Brown and justice for the Black community. Instead, they have prevaricated, lied, and shifted our gaze from the violence of a police state onto the backs of Freedom Fighters in Ferguson and the entire Black community in America. They have created a narrative that demonizes Michael Brown as well as the Freedom Fighters.

In describing why he shot Michael Brown, Darren Wilson said that he looked like a “demon”. His sentiment is not an aberration. Far too many White Americans and even people of color feel this way. My point here is that the evidence should shatter our expectations of justice in this country. If hurt is a major organizing principle, it creates wounded victims rather than outraged resisters. I am not saying that we shouldn’t feel deeply about state sanctioned murders. Rather, I am suggesting that a more appropriate response that is ripe with agency is outrage, righteous indignation and a determination to crack the wall of injustice until justice rolls down like water and fertilizes every territory in society…

From Ched Myers of Bartimaeus Cooperative Ministries:

Last night was deja vu for me, hearkening back to April 27, 1992, the moment when the Simi Valley verdict was read regarding the officers who beat Rodney King, after which we endured 3 days of massive urban rebellion. Those experiences changed my life, a bitter catechism in life under empire. You might be interested in the article I wrote below on the one year anniversary of the L.A. Uprising. Same shit, different pile.
Lord have mercy.

From Obery Hendricks, visiting scholar at Columbia University:

Some are calling the Ferguson protestors “animals”. But aren’t mad dog cops who shoot unarmed folks then lie about it the true animals?

From Melanie Morrison, director of Allies For Change:

Some commentators have referred to Robert McCulloch’s press conference as “bizarre.” That word doesn’t capture how McCulloch’s defense of the non-indictment represents one more example of white impunity, white immunity, and white supremacy. In his rambling prologue, he sought to vilify social media and the press, criminalize the unarmed victim, and discredit the eyewitness accounts (except for one). He then went on to offer not one shred of compelling evidence that justified Wilson’s claim that he feared for his life. Nor anything that suggested Michael Brown was a threat to anyone else’s safety. It was Michael Brown’s blood in Wilson’s car. It was Michael Brown’s blood in the streets. It is Michael Brown’s blood on McCulloch’s hands.

From Wes Howard-Brook, professor of Theology & Religious Studies at Seattle University:

“If you want to see the reign of God, you must be born again as a black person.”– Jesus, via Bob Ekblad.

From Dr. Cornel West, professor at Union Seminary:

The sad end of the Age of Obama — his empty neutrality, moral bankruptcy and political cowardice — is now undeniable to even his most loyal cheerleaders and boot-lickers!

Wall Street criminals, Drone Droppers, Torturers and Police who kill our precious children go free – and we weep and fight back!

Martin Luther King Jr. rebels against the chronic callousness toward the vulnerable and he rejoices at the awakening of Black Youth.
Like John Coltrane, keep it Love Supreme!

From Mark Van Steenwyk of the Mennonite Worker in Minneapolis:

Tonight, our nation’s sins have been exposed. But so many can’t see the naked truth that this nation is built upon white supremacy and the exploitation of people of color.
It is hard, at these times, to believe that another world is possible.

From Nick Peterson, Worship Planner & Teaching Assistant at Lancaster Theological Seminary:

The words of Keb’mo are ringing in my ears this morning:

“If nobody loves you and you feelin’ like dust on an empty shelf just remember, you can love yourself.”

As America reminds black and brown people all across the country that their lives are disposable and that diversity is just an infatuation and inclusion a pipe dream, let us take comfort in loving ourselves fiercely. May righteous anger re-member us to Love and may the presence of blatant injustice, racism, and white supremacy that characterize so much of our experience on these shores awaken us to our deepest capacity to be loved.

We have longed for our abusive kidnapper to adopt us and recover us as one of their own, to assure us that we are part of this new modern family and fine just the way we are. But alas the thin facade veiled as United States becomes un-tied states of discord and hatred as the truth of this nation’s fascination with oppression oozes out like molten lava destroying everything in its path.

We once hoped that our kidnappers would adopt us and make us their own, how could we be so naive and not realize that we were kidnapped to be the scapegoat, born to be Isaac tied down on Abram’s altar, destined to be killed at Pharaoh’s order before our 2nd breath, betrayed to be Pilot’s Jesus lynched on a tree. This is our truth, this is our life, but this is not our end. To hell with adoption I want true emancipation.

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