An Indictment Against Injustice
PERTH AMBOY, NEW JERSEY – Like many around the country, I watched with a heavy heart as District Attorney Bob McCullough read the words “no indictment” in the case against Darren Wilson, the officer responsible for the death of 18 year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO. As I listened to Mr. McCullough’s presentation of the “facts” of the case, there was no wonder as to why the grand jury did not offer an indictment. The prosecutor sounded precariously close to a defense attorney!
This is just a constant reminder to many of us in the African-American community that when there is an issue involving violence against one of us by those who are in the majority, especially in law enforcement, it is the victim who is really on trial. A “no indictment” vote for Darren Wilson was essentially a guilty verdict for Michael Brown. This is not justice!
As a Christian, a pastor, an American, and a father I do not believe that justice has been served, and unfortunately this perpetuates the feelings of generations coming behind us who believe that we have not made progress in the area of race relations and social justice issues. We have a long line of black men who have been killed by law enforcement with impunity – Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, Eric Garner, and countless others – including Trayvon Martin who was killed by a neighborhood watchman. We must continue to speak truth to power and declare that all men are created equal.
While our hearts are heavy and may even be filled with anger, we must be mindful of the words of the Apostle Paul in Ephesians 4:26, “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your wrath.” I appeal for the calm dignity with which Dr. Martin Luther King and others fought and died. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” We cannot make peace if we are causing chaos. Looting and rioting does not honor the memory of Michael Brown or any of the marginalized martyrs of our community.
We must pray for justice AND peace. As a Christian minister I, personally, cannot say “No Justice, No Peace” if “no peace” means violence. We serve and represent the “Prince of Peace”. As long as He is on the throne, we must ever be champions of peace. We are all one. We are all Americans. Let us stand together on common ground so that we can prevent further injustices like this from ever happening again. Yes, the words of James Weldon Johnson ring ever true: “We have come over a way that with tears has been watered. We have come, treading the path through the blood of the slaughtered.” We have made progress, yet, we as a nation that I love, have a long way to go.
My prayers go out to the Brown family and for the healing of our nation. There is a Balm in Gilead. May the God of all peace, guard our hearts and minds, and may we ever be vigilant in our crusade against injustice. For, in the words of Dr. King, “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.” Let’s bring an indictment against injustice!
+Donald Hilliard, Jr., D. Min.
Founder, Stop the Funeral Foundation
Lead Pastor, Cathedral International
CONTACT: The Reverend Catherine Griggs