In a letter sent to Rev. Renita Lamkin, an ordained itinerant elder in the Missouri Conference of the 5th Episcopal District of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, General Secretary Ivan Abrahams commended her for her commitment to keeping peace among protestors in the days following the shooting of teenager Michael Brown.
“On behalf of the World Methodist Council, whose 80 Member Churches represent over 100 million believers in the Methodist, Wesleyan, Uniting, United and Nazarene traditions, I would like for you to know that I have recently read of your efforts to bring peace to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, and I applaud your efforts,” said General Secretary Abrahams in a letter to Rev Lamkin.
Lamkin was shot with a rubber bullet during a protest in Ferguson, Missouri, when a protest on August 13 turned unruly.
In an interview with The Huffington Post Lamkin said she was “standing in the middle of the street, with people behind me, and the police were in front of me.” Lamkin said she was attempting to mediate between police and protesters the demonstration and told the police, “They’re moving, they’re leaving.”
“And then there was a pop!” she said, as a rubber bullet struck her stomach.
Tensions with police have mounted since Brown’s death on August 9th, 2014 as crowds of protestors have demanded accountability and answers. The teen was walking with a friend on the street to his grandmother’s house when he was pulled over by an officer. St. Louis police have said the shooting happened after Brown got into an altercation with the officer, whose name has not been released. As protests continue, with many residents saying the shooting was racially charged, images of tear gas, rubber bullets and tanks horrified people around the world who watched the news unfold.
“As the protests and debate over the senseless death of a young boy continue, as the conversation over the over-militarization of the police continues to grow, and as the citizens of Ferguson protest for their basic human rights and equality under the law, I pray that you remind them to do the right thing not because of expediency, but because our faith tradition demands that we stand within the prophetic tradition and follow the gospel imperative to seek justice and speak truth to power in love,” said Abrahams in his letter.
In her interview with The Huffington Post, Lamkin said her main goal was for “everybody to go home. The police and the people.” She added, “We’re not here to fight the police. We’re here to fight the system.”