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Concern and support for justice: Michael Brown

Letter from the WCC general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit to the Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis calling for an end to conflict in the aftermath of “the tragic killing by a police officer of Michael Brown, an unarmed eighteen-year-old African American man, and the dangerous escalation of violence in the several days following.”

21 August 2014

Letter to Interfaith Partnership of Greater St. Louis, United States

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

As general secretary, I write to you on behalf of the World Council of Churches (WCC) to express my deep concern over the news coming from Ferguson, MO reporting the tragic killing by a police officer of Mr Michael Brown, an unarmed eighteen-year old African American man, and the dangerous escalation of violence in the several days following. The world has witnessed the pain of Michael Brown’s mother as well as the frustration and anger of the community and nation as well as that of civic and religious leaders. The multiple accounts of similar deaths of unarmed persons across your nation beg for honest examination and reform related to policing policies and practices. Equally concerning in this case has been what can only be described as the militarization of the police and in some cases the accounts of injury and attack of peaceful protesters. The WCC has always condemned the use of violence as a means of resolving conflicts.

We want to assure the family of Michael Brown, the community of Ferguson and the religious leaders and faith communities of our support for the ongoing efforts to restore calm, investigate the event and seek answers related to this death and others, and to work toward policies and practices that are just and that will serve and protect all in the community.

We strongly support the efforts of the churches, faith communities, ecumenical and interfaith partners and civil society organizations and coalitions that have called for prayer, calm, peaceful protest, and open and honest dialogue on racism and issues of class, working together to facilitate peace building through a process of reconciliation and healing on local and national levels.

Be assured of the prayers of this global fellowship of churches during this difficult time.

Yours in the pilgrimage of justice and peace,

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary