Demonstrators in New Madrid Demand Justice for Michael Brown and Express Support for Governor Nixon
by Bob Roberts
New Madrid, Mo. – A crowd of over 50 gathered Sunday afternoon at Mt. Olive Baptist Church in a demonstration billed as a show of solidarity with the Ferguson community. “We are here to show support for our brothers and sisters in Ferguson and for them to know we are praying for justice for Michael Brown, and praying for peace for the community,” said Ted Maltbia, one of the organizers of the event.
This event was held outside on the street in front of the church and it was clear there was a great deal of compassion for the community and the Brown family. “I hope everyone can come together and demand justice for Michael Brown. Our hearts are broken for the entire community of Ferguson and we are all from Ferguson and all united behind the Governor and Captain Johnson until there is peace”, said Dennis Minner, one of the rally speakers.
The demonstrators brought home made signs, several of them in support of the Governor. “Governor Nixon has a special relationship with the Bootheel. I’m proud for our state that the entire world has the opportunity to see his leadership on display. This sort of thing could have happened in New Madrid, and if it did we know [Gov. Nixon] would protect us in the same way he stepped in to protect the people of Ferguson who were under attack,” said Maltbia.
A great deal of anger was expressed at the timing of the release of the video of Brown allegedly robbing a convenience store. “I understand releasing it if you had to, but just think about what a difference it would have made if they had waited ‘til Monday. Governor Nixon and Captain Johnson brought peace Thursday night and that Prosecutor and Police Chief just couldn’t wait to antagonize the young people the very next day. If they just could have waited ‘til Monday they might have saved those businesses and that violence. It was also terribly disrespectful to that young boy who had just passed,” said Minner.
Others in the crowd were angry that prosecutors and police chiefs had time to release information about Brown but didn’t have the time to release information about the shooting. It was also very obvious that many in the crowd had been closely following the developments in Ferguson as a couple people in the crowd were explaining how to sign Senator Jamilah Nasheed’s petition to call for St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, Bob McCullough, to remove himself from the case.
There were those praying for Governor Nixon, Captain Johnson, Congressman Clay, President Obama, and Senator Nasheed. In a sign of the impact of social media, one young person prayed for St. Louis Alderman Antonio French who has been tweeting the events on the ground to the world.
Mt. Olive Pastor Richard Lee concluded, “Our hearts are broken for the community; we stand with the Brown family, the community of Ferguson and our leaders to bring peace to this troubled land.”
There was talk at the end of the demonstration of some in the crowd taking off work later in the week and traveling to Ferguson to assist in cleaning up any damage left, and a collection of women are knitting quilts to send to Brown’s mother, Governor Nixon, and Captain Johnson.