Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Dear Michael,

You and I never knew each other. 

Quite frankly, I've never been to Ferguson, Missouri, or Missouri in general. 

And outside of the news and social media where you've been plastered, I've never seen your face. 

The fact is I know more about you in death than in life. I don't know what for middle name was, what your favorite color was, where you wanted to go to school. 

I don't really know the situation surrounding your death; whether you were surrendering to officer Darren Wilson or fighting back.

I do know that you were shot multiple times. 

I know that you were shot down in broad daylight in the middle of the street. 

I know that your body was left for four and a half hours in the heat of the August sun without the dignity of anyone even covering you up. They left you out for all around to see, just like they used to leave out the bodies of lynched young men and women of color not 50 years ago. 

I know that before there was even word of a trial for your murder, there was already defamation of your character. There were videos supposedly of you, stealing things from a convenience store. And that was a good reason to treat you like you were treated, that pilfering cigars was a justifiable reason to slaughter you. 

I know that it took days to even release the name of your killer, that his privacy was given more respect than yours, the victim. 

I also know that last night, jurors decided not to even indite your murderer. 

In essence, what happened last night was you being put on trial for being murdered. And your murder was deemed right in the sight of this jury. 

And I'm sorry. I'm so sorry. 

I am sorry that you, just like Trayvon, just like Emmit Teal, just like all of those nameless or forgotten black boys who were murdered like animals, won't ever see justice for your brutal murders. 

I'm sorry that you won't have a full life, get married, get that first great job, watch your own children be born. You didn't want to become a martyr. You probably wanted to live your life, and that was stolen from you.

I'm sorry your family will go into this holiday season with an empty seat at the meals and gatherings, that tables of celebrations will instantly turning to tables of mourning. I keep yours and the other families of those who have been affected by this system of violence in deep prayer.

I'm sorry that people who legitimately care nothing for your life, your family, your cause, or the cause of peace are using this as an opportunity to destroy the community, that people looting, commiting acts of violence and destruction under the guise of protests, and that others are pointing to these events as justification for calling all of us who protest the animals that they deep down inside believe that those who are different from them are.

I'm sorry that your gender and skin color deemed you fair game in the open hunting season of black boys and men. 

In your face, I saw my 3 brothers around your age, my cousins, teenage and young adult black men in my ministry. I saw my unborn son. And I feel like we have failed you all. 

I pray that your death will be different, that you won't go to the back pages of our tumultuous racial history but that things will change from here. 

I pray that people will use their righteous indignation for something else other than more destruction and violence. 

I pray that we will evoke the wisdom of generations past and blend it with our socially savvy zeal of today to bring bout effective and longstanding change. 

I pray people actually do participate in the peaceful protests, especially those on Black Friday. But I pray that further actions are done, more than a m

Most of all, I pray the peace of your family  who have lost more than anyone, and rest for your soul. 

Yours truly,