The first time the public heard the name Renita Lamkin was probably the day she was shot.
In early August, four days after Michael Brown was killed by Officer Darren Wilson, Lamkin, a pastor, she stood with Ferguson protesters, attempting to mediate. Police had warned the crowd to disperse and in an effort to buy a little time, Lamkin shouted, “They’re leaving!”
“That’s when I felt a pop in the stomach,” Lamkin said of the rubber pellet that hit her. The pellet left a ghastly wound — large, deep and purplish — and created a social media frenzy.
Tweet after tweet showed Lamkin, 44 and white, wearing a T-shirt with an image of a cross that she lifted up just slightly to show off the ugly bruise.
Lamkin said she didn’t really have a plan when she ventured out to Ferguson but that “the whole being shot thing was probably the best thing that could have happened.” The injury had cemented Lamkin’s role in the struggle for racial equality.
“They say, ‘You took a bullet for us.’ My sense is …We’re in this together, and I was playing my role,” Lamkin said.
Fast forward nearly three months and Lamkin continues to deliver the same message of defiance as pastor of an African Methodist Episcopal Church in St. Charles.
The AME denomination was born out of the resistance to slavery with approximately 2.5 million members, most of them African-American.
“We can and should be defiant,” Lamkin told her congregation on a recent Sunday at St. John AME Church. “There will always be those who discount the voice of the poor.” But “we don’t have to accept the conditions of this world.”
Although Lamkin is mother to two African-American children, her role as a white leader in the African Methodist Episcopal Church is unusual.
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SOURCE: Religion News Service
Lilly Fowler / The Post-Dispatch