Michelle Higgins, Director of Worship and Outreach at South City Church, has been actively involved in racial and criminal justice efforts in St. Louis ever since officer Darren Wilson killed unarmed, African American teenager, Mike Brown, in Ferguson on August 9, 2014. She has been a constant source of wisdom, experience, and insight for RAAN as she has written posts and participated in discussions on Pass the Mic (LINK: https://thewitness.wpengine.com/special-live-pass-mic-ferguson-revisited/). The following message originally appeared in an e-mail Michelle sent to a small group of supporters. It is re-posted here with permission.
———————————————————-
Dear friends,

it’s been too long! My apologies for the lapse in communication.

A quick prayer request this evening…

Many of you have heard or noticed that today marks one year from the night that a grand jury returned a decision to bring no indictment on Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Mike Brown, Jr. I cannot describe all the feelings that have rushed over me today, and at random throughout the year.

On this night last year, many of you prayed for and marched with us. Many of you watched news feeds and live streams, texted emailed and called me, and came to pray with us.

For this testimony of presence and prayer I am ever grateful.
And I covet your prayers as ever, but tonight perhaps even more.
Faith for Justice (LINK: http://faithforjustice.com/) will be present tonight in St. Louis City and at the Ferguson PD. With the devastating news of an attack on activists in Minneapolis, we are all concerned about this region as a whole.

Mike Higgins, my dad, will be on call in south STL, while Sean Loftin – my husband – and I will go with a group to Ferguson.

Our plan is to lead a vigil and hold the space in front of the PD, along with local clergy, from 7pm to at least 8pm. We do this to disrupt the presumption that things have gone “back to normal” in Ferguson, and to display a non-violent demand for justice; for fair and impartial policing, for an end to racial profiling, and for a commitment to anti-bias and cultural intelligence training and a dedication to minority recruitment from STL County police departments.

As I have told you in the past, the air around the PD in Ferguson is difficult to explain. There is a thick stench of division that only the hand of God can clear. Jesus be a power fan. Beneath the demands of justice from one side and stillness from another, there is a mutual fear of all out war.

Each person is convinced that the person they view as an enemy will NEVER treat them as a friend. When humans fear each other enough to despise one another, it brings about a hate that will erode our entire region.

People of faith know all too well, all too personally, that this is not true. So we are called (whether or not we want to be) to share this gospel of reconciliation, and speaking that truth in spaces like the Ferguson PD is one of the most difficult thing many of us have ever had to do.
So I’m walking directly into the dissonance that makes me sweat… hoping against hope that God’s truth will triumph; that some small light will be shone in this darkness. St. Louis, Ferguson, Minneapolis, Chicago… and on and on.

At a planning meeting for tonight’s vigil, I was able to jot down these quotes from clergy and local organizers:

Agitators will no doubt be present; disguised as activists, employed as police. When I tell you that I am sore afraid, know that this fear comes with a hearty combo of caution and downright dogged determination to be present anyhow.

 

Because racism is just as dangerous to me in my home as it is in Ferguson. Because my experience of learning forgiveness and peace-keeping is not just for me, it’s for me to DO something.
 

Should we hide from the world we cannot escape? No I am persuaded by the testimony of my faith that if I esteem my safety over that of those I love, and even above the safety of those I disagree with, that I am not worthy of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

If we are there, the Holy Spirit will be there.

 

To that many of us replied: bless his name, our Lord is EVERYWHERE!!
Amen and amen. Thank you all for your prayers.