Standing on the Side of Love

Stand (or Sit or Recline) on the Side of Love: Honoring the Life of Michael Brown, Witnessing His Murder

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(Updated 9/1/14)

Don’t turn away from the news. Find a way to read some of it. Be sure that if you do, that you also find stories of the heroes, the helpers, the resisters, the fighters, to help combat the distress and guard against becoming demoralized. The world needs you to be awake, but not knocked flat by despair.

Learn through Listening. Educate yourself about the work of places like the SpiritHouse Project, founded by civil rights activist and public theologian, Ruby Sales. If you identify as part of a group that is granted cultural privilege, learn more about what that looks like and how you can use it to combat injustice. Sometimes that means stepping up. Sometimes that means stepping back.  Also, read this: The Case for Reparations by Ta’nehisi Coates.  Up for more reading?  Here’s some good stuff: from Doug Muder on not letting Ferguson fade and from Pastor Jeremy Dowsett on white privilege.

Practice Intentional (Financial) Generosity: Many people I know and trust are giving money to the Organization for Black Struggle, including through the clever Ice Bucket Hack #ferguson campaign, part of the #blacklivesmatter efforts.  The folks at Bolder Giving have verified as legitimate giving online at http://www.gofundme.com/justiceformikebrown.   For more ideas, go to https://docs.google.com/document/d/1FCh_QCiq6KT-c_b0QKTXYFSfaEyOwE0vrGzQCy_mMos/pub, a list of confirmed/verified laudable foci for your generosity.  Thank you, Jason Franklin at Bolder Giving.

Speak Up: Advocate that municipalities require their on-duty police officers to wear video cameras on their person and their vehicles to be equipped with them as well, so that we might be able to replicate the results in Rialto, California, where in one year’s time, use of force decreased 60% and complaints decreased 88%.  Here’s one for Massachusetts (where I live).  Here’s good news of the officials in Ferguson considering this intervention.  And here’s the whitehouse.gov petition that has gotten (so far) over 100K signatures.

Join the Black Twitter-verse: If you aren’t on Twitter yet, but do engage in social media, consider joining, becoming more familiar with its use, and following sources that report on the real life experience of people of color ~ especially by people of color trying to get the word out when traditional means, even liberal-leaning public radio, don’t tell us the full story.  African American youth use Twitter 2-3x more than white youth in this country.  Go where the voice is.

Be on the Side of Love: There are multiple petitions of all sorts related to what has taken place in Ferguson. Some are about media coverage. Some are directed to specific municipalities. There are several out there calling for the federal Department of Justice to appoint a special investigator. Sign one. Or two. Or call: 202-353-1555. Join the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights in calling on Attorney General Eric Holder to take this seriously.

this list was compiled by the author of this blog. it was originally distributed as part of a worship service held in Northampton, MA on August 17, 2014.  please distribute widely or add ideas by commenting below

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