AKRON, Pa. – On Oct. 9, Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) U.S. is hosting a public teaching webinar, “Following Jesus to Ferguson,” that will probe justice issues exposed by the police killing of an unarmed African-American teenager in Ferguson, Missouri.
Using the biblical lens of Jesus’ identification with “the least of these,” webinar participants will examine the killing of Michael Brown, 18, and the events that followed Aug. 9 – the day Brown was shot multiple times by Officer Darren Wilson of the Ferguson Police Department. Brown’s body was left in the street for four hours.
“‘Following Jesus to Ferguson’ will be a probing and insightful inquiry into the state-sanctioned racial profiling of African-American and Hispanic communities, the militarization of the police and the trauma experienced by communities in the wake of police violence,” said Ewuare Osayande, anti-oppression coordinator for MCC U.S., who organized and will facilitate the webinar.
Participants include MCC U.S. and MCC Central States staff and special guest, Ruby Sales, founder and director of The SpiritHouse Project. “Sales is one of the most consistent national voices against the police killings of unarmed African-Americans across the country,” Osayande said.
MCC U.S. participants are Lorraine Stutzman Amstutz, restorative justice coordinator; Saulo Padilla, immigration coordinator; and Titus Peachey, peace education coordinator. MCC Central States participants are Michelle Armster, transitional executive director, and Pam Nath, New Orleans program co-coordinator.
“Two months after Brown was killed, his family, the Ferguson community and a nation of concerned citizens continue to wait on the justice system as the church remains largely silent and indifferent,” Osayande said.
He recalled a 1967 speech of Vincent Harding, a Mennonite, historian, theologian and civil rights activist, who challenged the church with these words: “The beggars are rising. The beggars are marching. And Christ is in their midst. Where are the saints? Are we now the lame, paralyzed because of fear, swaying under the weight of dignity, captured by the power of our possessions? Where are the saints?”
“Join us as we follow Jesus to Ferguson,” said Osayande, extending the public invitation to listen to the webinar on Oct. 9, 2-4 p.m. For call-in information, visit truepeaceisjustice.org.