As I am writing this, I am watching coverage of the unfolding reactions to the Ferguson decision, and my heart aches. It aches for Michael Brown’s family, struggling to find personal solace for the loss of a son in the midst of national scrutiny. It aches for a grand jury faced with making a difficult decision based on facts that don’t really tell the whole story. It aches for a community that struggles to protect itself from being consumed by anger and frustration. It aches for those who have been stung by tear gas because they gathered to protest a failure of justice. It aches for those standing in vigil desperately trying to find a peaceful solution. It aches for a police force sitting on a powder keg of its own creation, knowing that a match lurks in the night. It aches for the small business owner whose livelihood has been destroyed by looting and fire. It aches because I am one with humanity in a society that often fails recognize its humanity.
Mostly my heart aches for America. We are failing as a country. We are failing as a human race. This is nothing new, we have been failing for a long time — we have failed by continuing to create greater separation from each other based on race, economic means and belief. We fail to ask the right questions that will lead to greater understanding and equity. We fail to address the underlying structures that discriminate and separate our communities. We fail to speak out in support of those who are suffering through little fault of their own. We fail to be accountable for the violent discriminatory world we live in. As a nation, we fail to take responsibility for the way many among us are forced to live.
But I believe in hope and I believe change is possible. And I believe that our faith communities are the ones to lead the way. I pray that we find the moral courage to take on this responsibility, and moral imperative to move our country toward greater compassion and greater justice.
Rev. Craig Hirshberg
UULMNJ Exec. Director