A turning point in Ferguson?

Aug. 15, 2014

Perhaps Ferguson, Missouri will once again bend the arc of history toward justice.

After many nights of horrific conflict reminiscent of the 1960s, Highway Patrol officials walked with protesting residents Thursday, protecting them as well as signaling an end to law enforcement overreaction in the wake of the fatal shooting of an unarmed African-American by a white police officer.

Sympathy protests in Charlotte and in other cities nationwide on Thursday evening show the impact that Ferguson has had on the public conscience — or at least on the social-media conscience.

Respect for our fellow human beings and fellow Americans seems such an easily obtainable raiment. Yet it is in short supply. And Charlotte is not immune to its tattered condition.

Thousands of schoolchildren on one side of town thrive while public policy makes it virtually impossible for thousands of schoolchildren on another side of town to do as well.

A corporate community that actively lobbies against taxes also sends its most challenged workers home without a living wage.

And few people will want to pay to rebuild Eisenhower’s Interstate highway system until more of their relatives are taken from us in more bridge collapses.

We can do better on all fronts, on all issues, at all levels of this country.

The work begins at home.

Perhaps the police chief will remount the bully pulpit he so adroitly used when he first arrived. Perhaps the superintendent will slow down enough so that people can hear. Perhaps the mayor will come out from behind the moustache.

We welcome those officials and all others to use this space if they have a message to send to this community. And we welcome comments from residents as well.

All we ask is that we stop focusing on the adult issues that sap our energy. We need to focus on the children and young people of this community – their needs, their future, and how adults can ensure that future.

We have no reason to doubt Dr. King’s expectation that “the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.”

But we would ask, How long?

– Steve Johnston