April V. Taylor
After Dr. Cornel West embraced the young people leading the movement in Ferguson on Sunday during Ferguson October, he stood with them in acts of civil disobedience on Monday. As a respected activist, author and Black intellectual, Dr. West’s presence helped mend a divide between young people and the older generation. Many young leaders felt that adults were hijacking their efforts, trying to present a polished face of the movement and diluting their message. In an event held at Chaifez Arena Sunday night, protesters interrupted the event, protesting that the NAACP was allowed to speak despite it’s disconnect with Ferguson youth and demanding that the young people who have been on the frontlines being teargassed and shot with rubber bullets be allowed to speak. Dr. West embraced each of the young leaders who took the stage. He also admitted that he felt like members of his generation had done a disservice in not continuing the fight for justice and racial equality.
Dr. West did not just talk the talk; he walked the walk by joining protestors in the early hours of Monday morning as well as later in the morning. As rain fell, a speaker at the action at the Ferguson Police Department eloquently stated that, “This is not rain. These are God’s tears.” Dr. West and clergy members held mirrors up to officers in an attempt to get them to see their own humanity and the humanity of others. Dr. West and more than 49 others were arrested in multiple non-violent civil disobedience actions that took place Monday, including the shutting down of four area Wal-Marts to protest the shooting of John Crawford in Beavercreek, Ohio, as well as an Occupation of St. Louis University.
Dr. West and other clergy were charged with third degree assault of a police officer. However, the following video shows that it was actually Dr. West who was assaulted by officers. To watch it, click here.