I attended a vigil tonight, a gathering of the faith community and others to await the verdict of the grand jury on the Michael Brown case. Though most were not surprised by the outcome they were filled with more grief.
For some the shape of that grief bends to the perceived injustice of another white police officer taking the life of another black man. Of course, they said, there will be no trial. The streets are filled with that rage.
Beyond the actual evidence and testimony of the case and conclusions drawn on that, beyond the technicalities and data, there exists a massive history of racism, discrimination, white privilege, lynchings and systematic inequality. That precedes what occurred with Michael Brown, the latest wound covering an even deeper unhealed wound. It is a wound that has festered for decades, centuries, a wound carried by this nation from its beginning. And no matter the strides – and there have been mighty ones – our painful heritage lives on.
It is never enough to say let’s just get over it.
We have to create a way of life in which such things are much, much less likely to happen. Until then justice will not have prevailed. And like the old, old wound from yesterday and the day before yesterday healing will unfold over time. But let’s not tarry. This is no time to procrastinate. Now is always the right time to make a powerful witness for a new way of life. When else?