Monday night, as was widely expected, a St. Louis County Grand Jury decided not to indict Darren Wilson in the shooting death of Michael Brown. Our every wish for peace and justice is with his family as they continue to grieve the loss of their son.
In the long tradition of civil disobedience for social change, demonstrators took to the streets to protest. Officers of the law took to the streets to fulfill their duty to maintain public safety and social order. And, as the confrontation unfolded, many people watched from home and took to social media to express confusion and consternation, solidarity and hopelessness, dismay and apathy.
The unrest we are witnessing exposes a racial divide that persists in Ferguson, across our region, and beyond. Race remains a powerful division in our community and in the world, and structural racism is at the core of the uprising unfolding in our midst.
For nearly 85 years, NCCJ St. Louis has fostered dialogue across these divisions, nurturing understanding of systemic injustice and building relationships across difference. When we dialogue about racism and other divisions, we witness these same strong emotions—the anger, the hurt, the confusion, the denial, the guilt, and even the apathy. But we also see so much more: we see healing, compassion, connection, forgiveness, trust, understanding, and commitment by everyday people to make the world a better place.
We stand with our partners and allies in the struggle for inclusion and social justice—engaged in the process of bringing more justice and more peace into the world. Members of our NCCJ family are among the demonstrators agitating for change, the organizers in faith communities and nonprofits providing leadership, the facilitators engaging people in dialogue, and the community leaders and public servants advocating for change in their organizations and institutions.
It will take all of us, working wherever we are, to build a more just and inclusive society. NCCJ St. Louis stands ready to work with you to make that happen in your corner of the community.