In recent weeks, I have come to ask myself : Am I not being understanding of the blacks protesting the Mike Brown shooting ? Am I jaded in my opinion of them as being a bunch of lowlife scumbags looking for a reason to loot, burn, and just generally raise hell ? Isn’t there ONE of them that has a genuine concern for the plight of blacks in this country ?
I decided to search for an inspiring story. One that may prove me wrong about these people.
I saw this moving profile of one young man trying to make a difference.
FERGUSON, Missouri— Just days after 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed in a hail of police bullets, Joshua Williams found himself facing off with a phalanx of heavily-armed officers.
Williams joined the swarm of angry protesters who, in the wake of the teen’s death, took over the streets not far from the scene of the killing. They chanted and yelled and hoisted protest signs in the air.
During one emotionally raw moment, Williams, also 18, screamed at officers until his eyes were red and wet. Beads of sweat bubbled from his brow and his body grew tense. His voice strained under the shrill of pain swelling from his throat.
As he stepped closer and closer to the police line, a young pastor, Willis Johnson, wrapped Williams in a hug and pleaded with him to calm down. Williams broke down in the older man’s arms and a single tear tumbled down each of their cheeks.
“I just felt like they were trying to get over on us, trying to push us so that we’d react,” Williams told msnbc on a recent afternoon, weeks after that emotional day. “I was really upset. I saw children, little kids getting tear gassed and stuff. I just couldn’t take it.”
On most days Williams, a recent high school graduate, takes up position with other protesters across from the Ferguson police department. But he also attends various meetings pulled together by a growing network of activists and organizers. He said he hasn’t missed a single day of marching, protesting or meetings.Brown, tall and lanky, Williams often has an American flag bandana tied around his neck. He’s gotten particularly comfortable handling a megaphone and riling up fellow protesters.
Alene Williams (no relation), who calls herself the younger Williams’ “protest mom,” said :
“It makes me feel proud because he could have been that child that got shot. There are a lot of faces that could have been laying in the street. But it could have been him but now he’s out here fighting for justice .
For his part, Willilams said he’s learned a lot in this month of action.
“I learned that the police don’t give a care about us. And I learned that we have to stand up and that you can’t get nowhere with violence but you can always move people without it,” I said to myself, we need another plan. This isn’t working.”
During a Ferguson Commission meeting earlier this month, Williams said :
“Black people should be able to walk into stores without being followed around like thieves. When the police go out there in their uniforms, they don’t see nothing but thugs. All they see is targets in the streets.”
**Wait. This just in **
Yeah, I was right the 1st time. They ARE a bunch of lowlife scumbags looking for a reason to loot, burn, and just generally raise hell .