Plea To Ferguson's Leaders: To Help Heal, Acknowledge Our Hurt : Code Switch : NPR: Ferguson, Mo. is a study in contrasts. It boasts spacious Victorians in its historic section, with lush green lawns, many featuring 'I Heart Ferguson' signs. Just blocks away, there's a burnt-out QuikTrip. The signs here read "Hands Up, Don't Shoot." In some cases, there are boarded-up windows advertising plans to reopen, or decorated with the town's thanks for the love and support.
Not far from either: A mound of teddy bears and dried flowers mark the spot where 18-year-old Michael Brown fell after being shot by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson. Brown's death not only put a spotlight on these contrasts, but has also encouraged people to try to address them.
That was the Rev. Willis Johnson's hope. He's the pastor of Wellspring Church, which hosted a community conversation Thursday night. In welcoming the audience, Johnson acknowledged he's "gone from feeling hurt, to wanting to hurt," but he said he hoped the event would be a step to healing a "community in trauma."