Dear Ferguson…

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The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates
“The trouble is that once you see it, you can’t unsee it. And once you’ve seen it, keeping quiet, saying nothing, becomes as political an act as speaking out. There’s no innocence. Either way, you’re accountable.” – Arundhati Roy
“Hate: it has caused a lot of problems in this world, but it has not solved one yet.”  - Maya Angelou 
“I dream with my eyes open, but I pray with my eyes closed.” – Janae Werdlow
Dear Ferguson,
I cannot imagine the hurt you feel as a community of black people. Looking to your left and right knowing in your heart that brother you see could die tomorrow with no consequence from his killer. Or knowing your sister could be crying tonight, burden with another unjust loss. I am sorry for your brokenness. I cannot personally relate but I too hold the fear for black men in my heart. There is no one more hunted in America than a black man. That is a fact. It is a fact, I know, you are more aware of right now than ever before. Still, despite this sad day of injustice I must ask you to be more vigilant in your expression of anger. There is no need to loot. Destruction of any sort in your own neighborhood will ultimately affect you negatively. Burning the Walgreens down may feel good now but three weeks from now when you need some aspirin for a headache you will regret that. It does not reflect the character of our movement, our people or positively add to our cause. I must ask you to please please stop the destruction.I am not saying you can’t be angry. I am angry, but I plan to hit them where it hurts. The black community is the only community that does not invest in itself. We allow others to define our value system. We refuse to accept and promote the very things that were created for us, like F.U.B.U. (for us by us) or House of Dereon. Here is a list of the nation’s largest black owned stores. Here is a directory where you can black businesses in your area, where you can find all your needs. You can also download this app or this one, to find a black owned store near you. Money doesn’t make my world go around, but it does make a difference. Use your dollar, however small, purposefully. Spend it wisely.  It will be hard, but that’s the point. This protest is about sacrifice. We are all sacrificing for a greater good. I am sure it was hard carpooling and walking everywhere, knowing the KKK could kill you at anytime but our forefathers and mothers did so and now our buses are segregated. In the grand scheme of things, what is the real worth of a few christmas deals in comparison to the injustice of a life? When I think about it like that it is far too easy to say I can go without Christmas this year. I have my life, who cares if i don’t get another smart device.

Lastly, I want to encourage you to self evaluate. You cannot hate a people by color. You must hate the decisions people make. You must not be so angry you cannot find a solution and most importantly you cannot say one thing and live another. I know I cannot ask people to treat me better when I do not treat others and myself well. How can you expect others to see us a non-threat when we continue to act threatening? There is a way to be dangerous and nonthreatening. You can still be self aware, intelligent and self sustaining without being closed to networking with others. Even though we are all different, there is a need for unity. As we continue in our own Civil Rights Movement let us take a note from the previous Civil Rights Movement: every person dedicated to our cause is welcome, no matter their age, skin color or race,  because there is power in numbers. Barbara Ehrenreich said, “The Civil Rights Movement, it wasn’t just a couple of, you know, superstars like Martin Luther King. It was thousands – millions, I should say – of people taking risks, becoming leaders in their community.” There is no such thing as too many leaders in a community so rise us and lead Ferguson.

My people in Ferguson I want you to know you are not alone. There are millions, worldwide, committed to your cause and sending your support in prayers and love. Please be encouraged. Take a moment to breathe. It will get better. Change IS going to come, if not tomorrow, I don’t know when. I only know He promised it would. 

With love, 
JWerd

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