Social media invitations spread throughout the city and county of St. Louis:
“St. Louis city and county residents, as well as surrounding areas- Please help us spread a message of peace in St. Louis. On Thursday night, August 14th, from 8:30 to 9:30 turn off all the lights in your house and come out onto your front porches or front yards with lit candles. Let us all come together in an effort to shed light on what our city is really about.”
From 8:30 to 9:30 scattered homes among the many municipalities and neighborhoods that comprise the greater St. Louis area participated in an effort to combat the sensationalist news reports depicting St. Louis as a hot spot of racial unrest. The truth is far less controversial.
Many neighborhoods and townships in the greater St. Louis area enjoy a diverse ethnic mix. The police force in these areas is helpful, yet they do enforce the law. Teens out after curfew are escorted home. Young people found smoking pot in local parts are warned, and sometimes arrested. When a dangerous situation occurs, citizens are happy that the police force is there to intervene.
St. Louis, like every city in America, has some racial tensions. We have come a long way from the segregation of the 60’s. In St. Louis, we are just human beings eating, shopping, sending our kids to school and making a living. In short, many white people and black people live together without turmoil or stress.
While Ferguson citizens protest what is reported to be the excessive force of a police officer against an unarmed teen, many St. Louisians are waiting for answers and truth. There are so many rumors circulating, different versions of the same event, and a sense of horror that protestors would rob the electronic section of Wal-Mart and loot and steal from other businesses. It is difficult for residents to connect robbing and looting with the untimely death of a teen.
The nation is focused on St. Louis. The reporters are sensationalizing a sad event. The protestors are reacting to the news coverage. The residents of St. Louis send their prayers and sympathy to Michael Brown’s parents, and hope that the nation will grant Michael’s mother grace and peace to mourn her son.