Protesters in Ferguson pressed pause yesterday as the city welcomed Thanksgiving, decorating boarded-up storefronts with some Dr. Seuss inspiration and gathering for church services — a stark contrast to previous days of outrage over the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case.
On that downtown street, beneath a lighted “Season’s Greetings” garland, three children used paintbrushes to decorate the plywood covering many storefront windows that was put up to foil potential vandals. One quoted from “The Lorax” by Dr Seuss: “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.”
“We thought we’d do what we could to make it a little more attractive and then try to bring the kids into it and get them involved in making the businesses appear a little less scary, depressing,” said Leah Bailey, as her 7-year-old son Dennis climbed a ladder to finish an orange dragon.
Since the grand jury’s decision, protests have taken place across the country. Most have been peaceful. But at least 130 demonstrators who refused to disperse during a Los Angeles protest were arrested on Wednesday night, while 35 people were detained in Oakland following a march that deteriorated into unrest and vandalism, according to police officials.
Back in Ferguson, Greater St Mark Family Church sits blocks from where several streets went up in flames after the grand jury announcement. A handful of people listened to the Rev. Tommie Pierson preach yesterday that the destruction and chaos was by “a small group of out-of-control people out there.””
“They don’t represent the community, they don’t represent the mood nor the feelings of the community,” Pierson said.
In downtown St. Louis, a group gathered near Busch Stadium for what organiser Paul Byrd called a “pro-community” car rally meant to be peaceful and counter the recent Ferguson violence he suggested has tarnished the region’s image.
Byrd said: , “I totally support police officers.”