#Ferguson: CNN Is Lying! And we're facing the police again
I have not slept for days. Last night I stood again at the front lines of a mass protest in Ferguson, Missouri. We were marching peacefully, calling for justice in the wake of the killing of Michael Brown last week.
UPDATE: Rev. Sekou appeared live on “Democracy Now!” on Tuesday, August 19.
Ferguson is home for me.
My sister’s family lives here. I was born and attended high school in Saint Louis. I served as youth pastor at Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church in Saint Louis; taught alternatives to gang violence at Stevens Middle School; and directed the Fellowship Center in the Cochran Housing Project.
Rev. SekouLast night at about 9:00 p.m., a battalion of military tanks descended upon us. These heavily armed police forces gave an order to disperse. But within moments, they started shooting tear gas and sound grenades. Women and children were trapped on a ledge and the police continued to shoot tear gas.
CNN and other mainstream media misled their audiences last night, uncritically giving Capt. Ron Johnson the space to report that we nonviolent protesters were the cause of the confrontation.
This is wrong! The police started the violence by attacking our peaceful action. The continued to move down the street, shooting tear gas and eventually rubber bullets. It was sheer pandemonium.
This is despicable, and this is evidence of how the mass militarization of local police units (as discussed in this New York Times op-ed by FCNL’s Elizabeth Beavers and Michael Shank) is used to target our communities and incite violence rather than lead to peaceful resolution of conflict.
Take Action Now
Please act now to call on the White House and Congress to demilitarize our police units. Support these petitions:
- FCNL: “Ferguson looks like a war zone. Here’s why.”
- War Resisters League/RootsAction: “Marriott: Don’t host Urban Shield!”
- ColorOfChange: “Justice for Mike Brown”
As Ruby Sales from the SpiritHouse Project reported last week, Mike Brown’s death is no accident. This represents a national pandemic of killing of blacks by police and state security — including four unarmed black men within the past month.
Today the NAACP LDF has strengthened SpiritHouse’s “Breaking the Silence on Modern-day Lynching” campaign by issuing its own petition to Attorney General Holder to end police violence against unarmed individuals, especially African Americans.
The Samuel Dewitt Proctor Conference, in partnership with SpiritHouse, has offered a “litany for children slain by violence” that your congregation or spiritual community may use to join in prayer for those affected by this violence.
We will continue to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the peaceful protesters of Ferguson for the days to come until justice is delivered for Mike Brown. My faith leader colleagues and I will continue to maintain pressure for a nonviolent witness, despite the efforts by both state security and agents provocateurs to spark violent confrontations.
Tonight, I was interviewed on the nationally-syndicated Thom Hartmann Show — if we are able to get a recording of the interview, we will post it on the blog.
If your community is also rallying for justice, and violence is possible, consider using FOR’s Pact for Peaceful Witness as a resource to maintain a nonviolent presence.
And most of all, please hold the people of Ferguson in your prayers.
Top image: Rev. Osagyefo Sekou (in red keffiyeh, to camera left of Rev. Jesse Jackson).