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A Rabbi Returns Home as Eyewitness to Ferguson: A Cross-Post

Posted on: October 24, 2014

This was written by Sarah Barasch-Hagans, a student at the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College, is a rabbinic intern at T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights for The Jewish Exponent

Why did I go to Ferguson? I went as a rabbinical student, as someone raised in St. Louis and as someone in a multiracial family. But mostly I went because it seemed to be my Jewish duty not to stand by while the blood of my neighbor cried out from the pavement.
Ever since Michael Brown was shot on Aug. 9, and left in the street for four hours and 32 minutes, and ever since the police showed up in riot gear to patrol what was beginning as a peaceful memorial, I have been listening for the time to return and the way to engage. The mourning and subsequent cries for justice have been sustained in Ferguson and spread across the nation.

I have used my social media presence to highlight this story and its broader context. I have donated to local organizations, and been in touch with my rabbi, Susan Talve, who goes to the protests most nights. Many times I started to buy a plane ticket to go back, but stopped, wondering how my presence could help. When the call came from Hands Up United to join in Ferguson October’s Weekend of Resistance Oct. 10-13, the time had come.

I needed to see the situation for myself, in order to confirm my friends’ reports that the media was not telling the entire story. They were not wrong. I did not meet rioters; rather, I met protesters who were thoughtful, engaged, focused and incredibly disciplined. I heard them telling moving and heartbreaking stories and joined in their inspiring chants for justice.

Read the rest here. 

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