State of Emergency issued after Michael Brown march
By Chinta Strausberg
In remembrance of the first anniversary since the murder of Michael Brown, Father Michael L. Pfleger Sunday paid honor to Lucia McBath, the mother of 17-year-old Jordan Davis who was fatally shot nearly three-years ago in Jacksonville, Florida because his killer did not like the teenâ€™s loud music, but he warned if America didnâ€™t fix the â€œstormsâ€ that create violence, it would continue.
McBath joined Father Pfleger during the 11:15 a.m. worship hour in a service that remembered not only Brown, but McBathâ€™s son who was killed by 47-year-old Michael Dunn who didnâ€™t like Davisâ€™ loud music and shot into the teenâ€™s car killing him. Dunn received a life sentence plus 90-years for this murder.
Saying since this tragedy there have been â€œcountlessâ€ other murders some not reported, Pfleger said Davis was killed byÂ â€œa man who shot him down like an animalâ€¦.â€
Asking every black male to stand by the altar with McBath, Pfleger said, â€œThe reality is black men are still being shot down, killed. They are being shot down and killed by racist police. They are being shot down by vigilantes who are trigger-happy, and they are being shot and killed in our communities by black-on-black crime right in our neighborhood.â€
Murder, Pfleger said, â€œis not acceptable on any of those levels from police, vigilantes or from brothers on the blockâ€¦, but it is too easy to just say you got to stop black boys from killing black boys. Weâ€™ll continue to have violence in this country until we have the courage to deal with the root of these issues.
â€œWe took down a Confederate flag but the Confederate agenda flies wild and strongâ€¦. Black Lives Matter is not some tagline,â€ Pfleger said. â€œBlack Lives Matter is not some hashtag. Black Life Matter is some crime from the street of young brothers and sisters who are saying, â€˜Black Lives Matter, America. Pay attention to us.â€™â€
â€œUntil we have the courage to say weâ€™re going to end not just wrong thinking on the street but end unemployment, end bad education, end lack of economic development and all the perfect storms that create this violence in the street, America has to start caring about black lies in America,â€ bellowed Pfleger.
â€œUntil we do that, Luciaâ€™s son, my son, Annetteâ€™s son and all these lives up here are at risk,â€ he said referring to the young black men standing behind him at the altar. â€œUntil we do something about it as a society from the president on down to us on the street, we are all co-conspirators of the murders going on,â€ Pfleger said.
Saying she is a product of Chicago, McBath said the man who killed her son â€œdid not see my son as a human beingâ€¦that valued his life as a young black manâ€¦.â€ She is going around the country speaking out on the injustices of police killing unarmed black men.
She urged parents to raise their children not to be afraid and to take their rightful place. â€œWe are the only ones who can change what is happening to our countryâ€¦,â€ she said with the help of individuals and other organizations.
McBath urged them to â€œpressureâ€ legislators â€œto change the laws that allow the police and other people who are shooting down our children and our babies. You must act,â€ she said. â€œWe do not have a lot of time.â€
â€œIf you do not let your state and local legislators knowÂ you will vote the out of office if they do not enactâ€ reform gun laws, â€œwhat we see happening in this country will only continue to get worse. Rise up Chicago. Rise up Saint Sabina. Take up your place. You have value. You matter. We matter, and we have to continually fight to survive, but we deserve to survive because that is our God-given right,â€ she said receiving a standing ovation.
Pfleger asked Cinque Cullar, a nationally known gospel singer and member of Saint Sabina to sing â€œHis Eyes are on the Sparrow,â€ to all of the fallen victims â€“a song that brought tears to the eyes of both Pfleger and McBath.
â€œWe are going to save you,â€ Pfleger said asking the members to point to the youth and repeat, â€œWe are going to save you. Black lives matter.â€
Ironically, hours later what began as a peaceful remembrance of the first anniversary since Brown death turned violent when one protester allegedly began shooting at police who fired back striking Tyrone Harris, 18, according to a CNN report. Given a $250,000 cash-only bond, he has been charged with four counts of first-degree assault on law enforcement, five counts of armed criminal action and one count of discharging a firearm at a motor vehicle.
CNN reports that of the many protesters arrested included the iconic Cornel West.
This time Ferguson, Mo. officials wasted no time in beefing up security. Theyâ€™ve issued a state of emergency. St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger issued a statement saying, â€œThe recent acts of violence will not be tolerated in a community that has worked so tirelessly over the last year to rebuild and become stronger.â€ Stenger said there was the â€œpotential for harm to persons and propertyâ€ and that will not be tolerated.
Protesters hung two banners at the old courthouse in downtown St. Louis that said â€œRacism still lives here #fightback.â€
Chinta Strausberg is a Journalist of more than 33-years, a former political reporter and a current PCC Network talk show host. You can e-mail Strausberg at: Chintabernie@aol.com.