Close to Home

Had an opportunity to stretch my journalism legs today as I participating in a Google Hangout with William Chamberlain 's class in Southwest Missouri. I was reporting live from Ferguson, Missouri, the emotionally and physically battered town near the city of Saint Louis.

My hope was to give the students a primary source on the scene, so they could ask questions and have a different lens than that which comes through the television. After one of the most intense nights of clashes between police and citizens, I wasn't sure what to expect.

Here were my initial thoughts.

1. I forgot how close the center of things is to a brand new Schnucks, Target, and Kohls, a half mile makes a ton of difference.

2. There was more media than protesters, and the police didn't have any work to do beyond deterrence.  One odd character was screaming at a group of police officers,  but it was clear that everyone thought it was odd.

3. Volunteers had cleaned the streets and surroundings. It was very clean, almost oddly clean.

4. The boarded buildings created by looters were very obvious. Disappointing to see, but glad to see many had reopened.

5. Being there redoubled my desire for answers, and I realized my patience is going to be a lot longer than those on the ground.

6. The complexity of the situation was obvious. Calm and peace during the day is turning into entertainment for too many in the evening.

Something about being there helped bring me perspective. Something about being there felt like it helped in that we were starting another classroom conversation about trust, justice, and racism. Something about being there was haunting and sad.

Here is a link to the video. It isn't great, but I hope it brought Mr. Chamberlain's students a realism to the surreal. I'm hoping for calm, healing, and justice.

Educators have always played a role in healing and answer finding. Please continue your work in this area for Michael Brown, Darren Wilson, and so many others that need classrooms full of solution seekers.