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Jemelene Wilson

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August 29, 2014
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A parent's perspective on Ferguson, Michael Brown death | Moms

Brian Williams opened a recent broadcast on NBC Nightly News by describing Ferguson Missouri, the town that has dominated the headlines for two weeks.

As he stated, “Population 20,000,” my husband and I just looked at each other.

Ferguson is the same size as Roseburg. Neither of us could imagine a town our size being in such upheaval.

We also can't imagine what it's like to live in an environment where two-thirds of the population is a different race.

Our little burg is an overwhelmingly Caucasian rural community with deep roots in the logging industry.

The unthinkable news of violence linked to racial issues grabbed the attention in our home.

We haven't been glued to the news the way we were just a few years ago, but there is no way to overlook what's going on in our own country.

I was born in Los Angeles County, a few minutes from Watts and three years before the riots gave the neighborhood a reputation it's trying to shake almost 50 years later.

It was less than 30 years that LA would be rocked again with violence.

This time sparked by outrage over racial injustice over the verdicts of white police officers who were caught on video tape beating Rodney King after a traffic stop.

My daughter was 4 months old during the 1992 destruction also known as the Rodney King Riots.

She and I visited Southern California and arrived home the day before the horrific scenes began to play in our living room.

Ferguson has become a hashtag. Twitter erupted with hard to follow commentary laced with facts and suppositions regarding Michael Brown, the young man whose death sparked peaceful protests as well as violent eruptions provoking the governor to call in the National Guard to restore peace.

As of this writing, the troops are moving out.

Although peace is being restored, Ferguson will be forever changed.

Michael Browns family will never be the same nor will the police officer who fired the fatal shots that night.

This is tragedy from every angle.

No matter what your perspective, there is no way to spin this event that doesn't end in a young man's death and a community left with physical and emotional destruction.

Whatever you think you know, whatever you have heard and whomever you choose to believe – there is no way to know every bit of what happened that night.

We all looked on from our own vantage point wondering how it went so very wrong that night.

What we do know is this: a momma buried her boy this week. Her world has changed completely.

Life as she knew it stopped and many of us felt the earth below our feet tremble in an unsteady vibration as the news reached into our own lives.

We know that a young man is dead. No matter how it happened, Michael Brown is dead, and buried in the ground.

We can all agree that no matter what path he was on it ended that night.

There will forever be disagreements surrounding motive, the role race played (or didn't play) and how much the media did its part to stir up unrest.

Ferguson will never be the same. The reputation of a community will reside in the shadows of the past few weeks.

Let us talk to our children about listening and hearing and valuing each life on this earth.

Let us hope we are in the generation that will move us forward, not back.

Let us not taint our children with our own prejudice.

Let us pray that peace and justice will prevail.

Most of all, let our love begin to heal this fractured world.

Let us hope we are in the generation that will move us forward, not back.

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The News-Review Updated Sep 17, 2014 01:24PM Published Sep 22, 2014 12:29PM Copyright 2014 The News-Review. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.