Monday, August 18, 2014

Handle with Care

Dear Ferguson, Missouri:

Every news report draws from my heart to my lips a new prayer for you. Today all I could utter was “Lord, help.” 

As a mother, I understand the grief that justice will only begin to relieve. As a Black American, I know  racism at a cellular level. As a Boomer I remember how neighborhoods burned after Dr. King's assassination. I occasionally drive through some that have never recovered from that explosion-implosion. As a citizen of the world, I have been bullied and stolen from; I have fought back, run away, called the law. Most of the servant-protectors have treated me with great respect; others responded with an inordinate, palpable contempt even though I was not the perpetrator. I have been very grateful for and to the good ones and have prayed out loud to diffuse the provocation of those who were hell bent on using me to make their day. 

As a writer, I need to say my say, but my say is no revelation: the Ferguson PD's press conference was too many days late and multiplied dollars too short. Because it was, there is no quick-easy route to restoration, redemption. This thing has to play all the way out.  How I wish it was not so.

That said, I think I now know what to pray: that no more lives are lost in Ferguson; that wise, humble, honest, courageous and just leaders rise up and do the next right thing. And the next right thing. And the next right thing for as long as it takes to heal their land. I will pray for Michael Brown’s family, but especially for his mother, that she will be comforted in her mourning. I will pray that none who advocate for her forgets that hers is the greatest loss of all. And I will pray that she is not exploited by anyone else's agenda, but that she will be handled with care. With great, great care.  

Karen Stark

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