The youngest child of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. leaned toward the 30 students facing her inside the library at Riverview Gardens High School on Tuesday (Aug. 26). Many of them live near the epicenter of the chaos that erupted in Ferguson. It’s why Bernice King chose this school for this discussion.
The students seemed curious about this visitor, whose late father led the marches and protests that they’ve read about in class. But before she arrived, a school district administrator asked for a show of hands of those who thought nonviolent protests and peaceful resistance used during the American civil rights movement remain relevant in light of Ferguson. Only one hand shot up.
King is aware of this disconnect. “My dad’s legacy is on the line,” King told the students. “If this doesn’t turn out the right way, it could begin to have people question what happened years ago.”
King believes the community is at a critical moment as it continues to confront the police shooting death of 18-year-old Michael Brown. And as it is for the students she spoke with on Tuesday, much of her concern is centered on the violence that may return as the legal process moves forward.
“If he’s not indicted, what’s going to happen?” asked Justin Fowler, a senior, referring to Darren Wilson, the officer who shot Brown.
“You tell me. You live here,” King said. “That’s the big question out there right now. So what’s going to happen?”
“Everything will go bad,” he said.
Defenders of Wilson say he shot Brown in self-defense. The fear that a grand jury may not indict him is why King and others with the King Center in Atlanta are in the St. Louis area listening to groups of youths to determine the best way to advocate nonviolence.
They plan to develop a relationship with Riverview Gardens students, who are predominantly African-American and live closest to the unrest. The King Center officials hope to develop a strategy to help young people channel their anger in a nonviolent way, defusing a potentially explosive situation if the investigation doesn’t produce the results that many hope for.
Source: The Huffington Post| Religion News Service | ELISA CROUCH