Rosemary Rivera’s messages from Ferguson – Day 4

Day 4:

Tonight in Ferguson, the house was packed.  Organizations, unions, residents…they all came together where the Lost Voices have established themselves and held a very unique meeting.  The dynamics of so many in one place was definitely educational…and interesting.  After a little bit of jockeying for power and respect, the group moved outside.  The youth insisted that despite the horrific hot and humid weather that if people couldn’t feel the heat they should get out of the kitchen.  It is outside, in what seems like 102 degree weather, that these youth make their statement in the struggle.  It is in this sacrifice that they derive their power.

As each of them spoke out today about justice, about education, about a revolution, about the prison industrial complex, and about the need to demilitarize the police, one common denominator showed through.  These kids are firm believers in God.  You can attribute that to this being the “Bible Belt” but their faith attracts all.  Their willingness to share of themselves, their struggle and their commitment to the cause makes these young men a beacon.

The youth were able to get through most of the meeting, but what they really want to do is action.  We, older, much wiser folks, know that we can’t have short term tactics without long term strategy.  However, we followed them, their music, their dancing, their exuberance, and I loved it…and more importantly, the people of Ferguson appreciated it.

We marched down Florissant Avenue, chanting while the cars went nuts beeping their horns, showing respect, allowing us to pass.  I saw children in the back of their parent’s cars and as they passed by they would throw up their hands in mock surrender.  This is a community transformed by their own activism.  They can no longer be the same.  They will be more aware, more active, and more together.

Behind the scenes, you have people who have been in the struggle way before the Day 1 of the Mike Brown shooting.  Although not a laughing matter to the Lost Voices they are very serious in their pride for being out there daily without giving up.  They have been doing this for a few weeks and yes I respect them for being out there from “Day 1” but what do our youth think, that we haven’t been out there from Day 1 which started for us YEARS ago?  How do we relay and transfer that knowledge without coming off as the parents and grandparents we didn’t want to listen to when we were young.   Those fights were important, yes, but that was then and this is now.  The fights of the young do not have to mirror the fights of the past.  We have evolved.  Our youth have evolved, and although we need to impart that valuable knowledge, we certainly shouldn’t expect the fight to be one that we recognize as the same.

Keeping it short tonight, Will make up for it tomorrow

Rosemary Rivera
Citizen Action of New York &
Public Policy and Education Fund of New York
Organizing Director
(585) 520-6542

“Power concedes nothing without a demand”

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