More members of the National Center’s Project 21 black leadership network are commenting on the rioting in Ferguson and the culpability of the mob, politicians, the media and other culpable parties.
Project 21 member Christopher Arps, who lives in the Ferguson area and was witness to both the initial riots in August and the ones that began after the grand jury decision:
You had two types of protestors in Ferguson last night, and neither were peaceful.
You had those hell-bent on destruction, looting and rioting. And you had those out there who were not doing those activities but who were encouraging the looters and urging them on.
I was there. To me, they are both guilty of the lawlessness we witnessed last night.
Day Gardner, a Project 21 member and media host, said about the looting:
Those rioters in Ferguson really don’t seem to care about Michael Brown’s death. They refuse to hear all the facts. They appear to just consider this a license to steal and act out. They have burned a Public Storage, Little Caesars, liquor store and more. They are laughing while they destroy their own community – burning businesses and stealing liquor and cell phones. It’s ridiculous and so sad!
All the stores and businesses that have been looted and burned to the ground mean that, as we enter the Christmas season, families are forced out of work. How many residents will be out of work because of the destruction? They will be unable to pay bills or provide for their families.
Al Sharpton incited tensions in Ferguson before all the facts were known. He should have waited for the grand jury documents. He is such an embarrassment to the black community.
Author and motivational speaker Demetrius Minor, a Project 21 member living near Atlanta, said churches need to step up:
There was no indictment in Ferguson for Officer Wilson, but there was an indictment of the conscience of many. Riots and violence proves our nation still needs healing.
It’s shameful that the same people who are inciting – directly or indirectly – the protests and mob violence in Ferguson will be quoting Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and praising his message just two months from now.
Something needs to be done.
Dear 21st century churches: This is your moment. Stand up for morality, but also advocate peace. Speak healing, but also be sensitive. Ferguson needs you. The world needs you.
Project 21 member Wayne Dupree, a talk radio host who visited Ferguson after the initial riots to try to help the community heal, had sharp words about the word choices of the media:
Words have meaning. It seems people are too willing to fall into the media’s portrayal of the victim and the media’s own version of the truth. Allowing the media to use words that indicate one’s innocence or guilt is a very slippery slope.
There is no innocence or guilt unless proven by law. And Officer Wilson has the law on his side. His life is now destroyed at the hands of a thug who died. Wilson didn’t force the fight. Wilson did what he needed to do to save his own life, but he will never seem to have the same sympathy that have been afforded to the deceased by the media and the mob.
Many people saluted Obama for stepping in and asking for peace, but that executive action should have been done earlier. He was too late – the looting was just beginning. The mob looted a beauty store, burned down a bakery and destroyed Advanced Auto Parts among other businesses. What the Hell!
Agitators were angry and they wanted “justice” for Mike Brown, but instead they destroyed innocent business owners’ livelihoods. Where is the justice in that?
Additionally, Project 21 member Kevin Martin appeared in Danish television to talk about the situation in Ferguson and the need for more community policing in which law enforcement has more ties to the communities they serve (as well as more respect from the community for the police):