FergusonReligiousLeaders

Ferguson’s religious leaders were named 2014’s people of the year by Huffington Post Religion.

The Huffington Post took a moment to designate the religious leaders of Ferguson as People of the Year for 2014. This past year was wrought with tension, from Ferguson to New York to Cleveland and all across the US. Recent actions have signaled that we need to re-evaluate the situation of the world. Together, the clergy of all religious backgrounds provided a crucial presence to their communities after the horrifying events set into play by the shooting of an unarmed black man by police. Religious leaders provided substantial necessities, including food distribution, medication, schooling, meditation and inspiration against the injustices surrounding us.

Ferguson in 2014: An Eye Opener for Us All

There were many religious leaders on the scene in Ferguson shortly after the shooting of Michael Brown. For example, Rabbi Susan Talve joined her clergy in praying between the police and the protesters. It was perhaps one of the most fragile places to be in the thick of it all, surrounded by violence and answering with peaceful prayers. She reminded us all that in the time of Yom Kippur, it is important to repent and forgive despite the anger and fear. “When we don’t speak up, when we’re compliant with things we know are wrong, then we have to confess our part in them.” She reminded us that we have to step up and make things change.

Susan was not the only one up in the middle of the events in 2014. Pastor Renita Lamkin, an African Methodist Episcopal church pastor, attempted to mediate between the police and the protesters. As she encouraged protesters to continue moving, she was shot in the stomach with a rubber bullet. She had previously joined a group to gather outside the Ferguson PD and demand the release of Alderman Antonio French.

Pastor Johnson, a pastor for the WellSpring Church in Ferguson, provided a rallying point for the community in 2014. He set his sights on both short term and long term goals: immediate justice for Michael Brown and long term justice for the “wider systematic struggle” that black people face today. “We are trying to use this opportunity to confront the issue in a constructive way,” he encouraged.

Now going to let Bob McCulloch turn me around, clergy sing in Clayton. #mikebrown

A video posted by lillyafowler (@lillyafowler) on

When Darren Wilson did not get indicted, the clergy took the streets singing “Ain’t Gonna Let Nobody Turn Me Around.” The song was significant in the 1960’s and 70’s, during the civil rights movement.

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