I flew home to St. Louis Saturday and now am compelled to appeal for your immediate support on behalf of our community here as thousands of people of all races, faiths, and ages once again have been forced into the streets to demand police accountability and racial justice.
On Friday, St. Louis announced that former police officer Jason Stockley had been acquitted of the murder in 2011 of Anthony Lamar Smith — yet another white officer accused of shooting to death a black civilian. This time, there was actually a criminal trial for what prosecutors described as an “execution” use of lethal force — and even prompted St. Louis police officers to call for a Guilty verdict.
For the past three years, since the murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson MO, we have collectively demanded the truth about our nation’s white supremacist history and the need to proclaim that #BlackLivesMatter.
This is why we launched the Truth Telling Project in 2014. (Read our recent article in Yes! Magazine: “In Truth and Reconciliation, First Things First — The Truth.”
Now I have returned to the streets of my beloved St. Louis, in which I was raised, to join more mass nonviolent protests. Since Friday, there have been over 65 reported arrests — and our community is asking urgently for support for a jail and legal fund that has been launched. Can you make a gift today, of any amount, to the legal fund to help our sisters and brothers who are in the streets demanding justice?
If you are able to join us in St. Louis, we welcome your presence. Some FOR members have already traveled to the Gateway City this weekend from distant points to stand in support of this grassroots-led movement. No matter where you live, we invite your prayers and expressions of solidarity.
This week FOR will work to bring our voices to you from St. Louis. Stay tuned for details.
By Dr. David Ragland, Co-Director of Truth Telling Project and FOR National Council Member