PRESS RELEASE: United Methodist Justice-Seekers: Ferguson Cannot Be an End to Conversation of Power and Privilege in the ChurchTuesday, November 25th, 2014
WASHINGTON, DC – November 25, 2014 –A St. Louis County (MO) Grand Jury has potentially deepened the chasm of racial injustice in the United States in the 21st Century with their decision to not charge Officer Darren Wilson with the shooting of Ferguson, Missouri resident Michael Brown. After hearing from more than 70 witnesses, the grand jury claimed there was not enough physical or scientific evidence to charge Officer Wilson in the death of Michael Brown, the young, unarmed African-American man whose body laid at the scene of the crime for four hours following his murder on August 9, 2014.
The Methodist Federation for Social Action (MFSA) stands with the people of Ferguson as they struggle to understand the decision of the Grand Jury and join with the Brown family in seeking peaceful ways to engage anger and frustration. “Indeed, Ferguson reflects the confusion, emotion, and struggle of a great portion of Americans, no matter our race or political affiliation,” states Chett Pritchett, executive director of the Methodist Federation for Social Action. Historically, MFSA has stood with minority communities in the struggle for civil rights. Today, this work continues through focusing on power and privilege in all its forms.
“Last night’s decision makes clear that we cannot believe the lie that we live in a post-racial society. When black men are killed and their bodies are left in public for hours, when communities are automatically assumed to be violent because of the color of their skin, when militarized police forces use the same force against participants of civil disobedience that would be used in acts of war, we cannot stand idle to the machinations of injustice,” says Pritchett.
MFSA implores The United Methodist Church at all levels to engage in open and honest conversations about race, class, and power. Pritchett reminds, “As the Church begins to enter the season of Advent, themes of power and privilege are illuminated in the story of God becoming incarnate among a marginalized people. The opportunity is before us to not allow Ferguson to be a ‘hot-button’ topic, but a catalyst for action and transformation of a people called to be world-transforming disciples.”
Since 1907, the Methodist Federation for Social Action has worked to mobilize, lead, and sustain a progressive movement, energizing people to be agents of God’s justice, peace, and reconciliation. As an independent, faith-based organization, MFSA leads both Church and society on issues of peace, poverty, people’s rights, progressive issues, and justice within The United Methodist Church.