Ferguson Residents Find Much to Be Grateful For

© JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images A 'prayer wall' is pictured at a church during a Thanksgiving service in Ferguson, Missouri, on November 27, 2014.
© JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images A ‘prayer wall’ is pictured at a church during a Thanksgiving service in Ferguson, Missouri, on November 27, 2014.

It was the worst of Thanksgivings, yet it was the best of Thanksgivings, too.

All around this partially roadblocked, burned, broken and now internationally symbolic suburb, residents were sifting through the sad and coming up with the good.

“This has been one of the most horrible Thanksgivings ever, but that’s what makes it one of the best Thanksgivings ever,” said Terri Williams, finishing a meal in the fellowship hall of Wellspring Church, where turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and pecan pie were served. “It puts in perspective how much we do have to be thankful for,” in spite of the tribulations of this week and the upheaval of the nearly four months since Michael Brown was shot by officer Darren Wilson.

Williams was thankful for her twins, Lena and Layla, 6, and the successful barbershop, Total Image, that she and her husband, Christopher, have worked so hard to build. Others gave thanks for how the community seems to be uniting to begin the rebuilding.

“At the end of the day, God loves Michael Brown. God loves Darren Wilson,” Christopher Williams said.

“Darren Wilson’s family is eating today, and Michael Brown’s family is eating today,” said Shaun Jones, an assistant pastor at Mount Zion Baptist Church in the Shaw neighborhood of St. Louis. “So hopefully we can all come together, at least for today, and be prayerful that our future is better than our present.”

Protesters — who for the most part took a break from demonstrations during the day — were thankful that their example was being followed at scores of protests in cities around the world this week. They disowned those who committed destructive acts — but they saw even the cleanup efforts being done largely by volunteers as another opportunity to set a constructive example.

“This is not about saying, ‘Go away protesters,’ ” said Leah Bailey, a sometime protester herself, as she and her neighbors and their children spent Thanksgiving morning painting murals on the plywood that covers the broken glass windows of a dozen buildings on South Florissant Avenue, a particularly intense nightly demonstration zone because Ferguson police headquarters are here. “We’ve been out protesting, we’ve been out holding signs, we’ve been talking to our council people and mayor. We know we have some deep-seated issues to address and change.”

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Source: Washington Post | David Montgomery and Wesley Lowery

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