Standing up for justice

Standing up for justice and equality should be a continuous effort

By Dr. Rance Thomas

During this divisive and unsettled time in our history, it is time for all people of goodwill to stand up and be an advocate for peace, unity, justice and equality of all people.  This is especially true for churches, social organizations, agencies and people who want to preserve our way of life and improve upon it.  

North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice and Pallottine Renewal Center with the support of Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery’s Social Witness Policy Team and the Archdiocese’s Peace and Justice Commission held its third Annual Prayer for Peace for our community, our nation and our world a few weeks ago. 

Admittedly, this was just before the Charlottesville’s terrible disaster, but we were also holding this prayer service in remembrance of the Michael Brown shooting and the subsequent riots that occurred in Ferguson. 

We were really surprised that fewer people attended than had attended in the two previous years. In reflecting on this, we concluded that the further individuals get away from an emotional event, the more they tend to move on to other events and with their normal lives. 

In other words, the longer time away from the event that motivated them to participate in the past, the less likely they are to participate in the present.  If this prayer service had occurred after the Charlottesville event, there would have been far more individuals participating.

The tragedy that occurred in Charlottesville a couple weeks ago reminds us that there are some things that we simply cannot allow attention to be diverted.  This is especially true when we are faced with moral and human rights issues. We must continue to focus our attention upon these issues, or we will allow others to change them in a negative way.  If we do not remain vigilant and continue to support these, we will allow those with bad intentions to change them in a way that will not be in our or our nation’s best interest.

Those counter demonstrators (40,000) in Boston should be applauded for their stand in their support for unity, peace, justice and equality of all people.  They strongly denounced racism, fascism and bigotry.  This should be something we all should do, we should not have to wait until some emotional negative event to happen, but it should be a continuous effort.

Dr. Rance Thomas is Professor Emeritus of Sociology/Criminal Justice and Co-founder and President of North County Churches Uniting for Racial Harmony and Justice. 

St. Louis County