Faith Leaders Join in Solidarity as Thousands Converge in St. Louis for “Ferguson October: A Weekend of Resistance”
More than 1,000 Participants Expected During Four Days of Action to Demand Justice for Mike Brown and Continue the Nationwide Movement Against Police Violence
Ferguson, MO—Hundreds of interfaith clergy members and seminarians from the PICO National Network, Sojourners, the Fellowship of Reconciliation and many more will join thousands of people from across the country who are heading to St. Louis this weekend to support local residents, activists and clergy organizing a series of protests, rallies and events entitled,“Ferguson October: A Weekend of Resistance.” The weekend actions follow more than 60 days of sustained local protests following the killing of Mike Brown by Officer Darren Wilson, the refusal to arrest or charge him, and the hyper militarized and unconstitutional response to peaceful protests (full schedule of faith events listed below).
Clergy leaders and religious organizers from multi-faith and multi-racial backgrounds are firm in their belief that police brutality and police homicide are an unconscionable moral issue, plaguing both Ferguson and communities across the country, as seen in the senseless police brutality that killed John Crawford in Ohio, Eric Garner in New York, and so many others.
"The waters of injustice and racism have been rushing and hidden behind a make shift dam in the state of Missouri and America since the abolishment of slavery,” said Rev. Dr. Cassandra Gould, Pastor at Quinn Chapel AME Church in Jefferson City, MO. “The tragic circumstances surrounding Michael Brown's death and the aftermath provide glaring evidence that the dam is broken. It is a moral imperative that demands a response from the faith community. The prophet Micah asked, ‘What does GOD require? To do justice (Micah 6:8).’ Justice requires action and GOD requires justice. There is a clarion call for clergy to stand with Ferguson and until all of GOD's children have justice."
“Standing on the steps of the Old Court House in St Louis the night before the funeral of Michael Brown, we stopped protesting and prayed quietly for his family and for the families of so many black men who have died from police and gun violence,” said Rabbi Susan Talve with the Central Reform Congregation in St. Louis. “Today I stand with the St. Louis faith community to lift up the voices of young leaders who tell us that their lives matter.”
“The faith community is standing shoulder to shoulder with the people of Ferguson in one of the defining civil rights moments of our generation,” said Rev. Deth Im, Assistant Director of Training and Development with PICO National Network. “As people of faith, we have a moral obligation to demand human dignity, respect, peace, and justice when people are being abused. All God’s children have the right to thrive.”
“Repentance is a powerful theme throughout the Bible. It isn’t just about admitting wrongdoing but also committing to making changes that prevent further harm from being done. While many have lamented the shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, there remains little evidence that public officials in Missouri have the courage to alter their policies and behavior to prevent future injustices,” said Jim Wallis, President and Founder of Sojourners. “I’m coming to Ferguson because repentance has not happened there yet and the faith community won’t rest until it does.”
"The courageous stance of black youth in Ferguson has challenged the church to stand with them against police brutality. They are the leaders we have been waiting for,” said the Rev. Osagyefo Sekou, Freeman Fellow with the Fellowship of Reconciliation. “We are called to Ferguson to stand with the people because anything less is heresy.”
Since August, faith leaders have been on the ground in Ferguson working with communities to support and amplify a long overdue conversation about policing and criminal justice. All activities are specifically shaped seeking justice for Mike Brown, and calling for the larger systemic reforms needed in order to ensure full dignity and respect in our communities of color through the accountability of police by local community review boards, and the transformation of national standards of policing. (click here for a full list of demands from the Organization for Black Struggle and the Hands Up, Don’t Shoot Coalition).
For updates, a full schedule of events, and compete list of endorsers, visit www.FergusonOctober.com
Schedule of Faith Events
Sunday, October 12
WHAT: National Hands Up Worship Services
WHEN & WHERE: Services across the U.S.
WHERE: Locations & Times across the country
Event Highlights & Featured Speakers: Events at dozens of houses of worship across the country, declaring together that interfaith communities are working, praying and voting to create a nation that will no longer tolerate the violence, systemic injustice and marginalization suffered by poor people and people of color in our communities.
WHAT: Mass Meeting on Ferguson: An Interfaith Service
WHEN: 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
WHERE: St. Louis University's Chaifetz Arena, 1 S Compton Ave, St Louis, MO 63103
*To schedule interviews contact Keiller MacDuff 202-679-2236.
Event Highlights & Featured Speakers:
Dr. Cornel West (Keynote Speaker), public intellectual, activist, author;
Jim Wallis, President and Founder of Sojourners;
Rev. Osagyefo Uhuru Sekou, Freeman Fellow, Fellowship of Reconciliation
Monday, October 13
WHAT: Moral Monday March: Part of the Ferguson October Day of Civil Disobedience
WHEN: 10 AM-12:00 PM
WHERE: Wellspring United Methodist , Ferguson, MO United States