Just One Request

sekouFrom Osagyefo Sekou, Harvard educated theologian, community organizer and active participant in the community resistance in Ferguson, MO:

If I can just make one request. My request of you all in this room is that when this protest doesn’t look the way you are used to it looking, I ask you to look deeper: Yes it’s profane and it’s angry because we have betrayed our children. And so rather than beginning the sentence or conversation with “If they did it this way,” take seriously the way they are doing it. Take them seriously. Take their humanity seriously. I was born again on the streets of Ferguson. I got saved, as we would say in evangelical parlance, by some kids with gold teeth and tattoos and sagging pants, and so I’m asking you to look at their humanity. So when the media start that “They’re violent,” remind them that they’ve been nonviolent for the vast majority of their protest even after America betrayed them on every occasion. I ask that you keep track of their humanity…they are just trying to find their way trying to make sense of it all.

And my other request is that you put your body in the way. Now let’s be clear in this moment, your whiteness will not save you. They shot a white woman with a collar on. So they will shoot you, but you put your body in the way for them because these are your children too. When you feel like you’re losing your way and you don’t understand I want you to think about your baby, yours, lying in the street for four and a half hours. You’re looking at your baby, you can’t touch your baby just lying in the street. They got police dogs around your baby, keeping you from getting to your baby who you brought into the world, lying in the street, bleeding out. They won’t let paramedics get to your baby. And then you will understand why these folks are so angry and we should be celebrating that there isn’t a riot every 28 hours in America. These people called black have been so disciplined, and America betrays them, and they still refuse to shed her blood. We should be celebrating them. Lifting them up. The way you do that is, next time they shoot one down here you show up. You don’t say a word, you just show up because these are your children too. That is what I ask of you on the behalf of the people in Ferguson.

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