Tag Archives: Ferguson

Are there any children like Michael Brown in Georgetown today?

Michael O.D. Brown Jr. (May 20, 1996[15] – August 9, 2014) graduated from Normandy High School in St. Louis County eight days before his death, completing an alternative education program.[16] At the time of his death, he was 18 years old, 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) tall, and weighed 292 lb (132 kg).[9] He was an amateur musician who posted his songs on the popular music-sharing site Soundcloud under the handle “Big’Mike”.[17] He was two days from starting a training program for heating and air conditioning repair at Vatterott College technical school.[18]

-Source:  Wikipedia

May 20 would have been Michael Brown’s 22nd birthday. Michael Brown was killed on Aug. 9, 2014.  Michael’s death was my signal from God to invite about 20 members from faith communities in Georgetown to gather and consider the possibility that a similar violent incident could occur in any city, town or community in America, even Georgetown, Texas.

 Is there something that we, faith leaders, can do to prevent such a tragedy from happening in our city? Our solution is what we today know as “Courageous Conversations” about race in Georgetown.

Over the past five years, there have been numerous conversations, book studies, workshops and other activities to address the question:  Is it possible to have a respectful, civil conversation about the difficult issue of race?

The issue of race in America is complicated and complex.  It is fatiguing. It is often heart-breaking. However, early on, the individuals who gathered and started Courageous Conversations developed Vision and Mission Statements.  We agreed that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s philosophy of Nonviolent Social Change would guide our work. The spirit of LOVE (agape), the unconditional concern for the well-being of others undergirds our efforts.  This is not easy work. There are times of disagreements and conflict, yet LOVE endures.

Yet for me, Michael was a ‘beloved child of God.’

As we enter the summer months of 2019, I ask the question: Are there any children like Michael Brown in Georgetown today?

The description of Michael at the beginning gives his age, educational background, physical characteristics, musical talent and immediate plans.  The description says nothing about his family background or experiences as a youth. I suspect Michael’s family loved and valued him.  No doubt, they were concerned about his well-being. His violent death was triggered by his theft of a package of cigars.

Yet for me, Michael was a ‘beloved child of God.’

Are there youth with similar characteristics as Michael?  Can we, in Georgetown, create the type of community and environment where ALL of our youth can have high, positive aspirations for themselves and their futures, without resorting to criminal activity and behavior?  

What about summer employment for high school juniors and seniors? What about internships in local government or businesses? What about science camps, vacation bible schools and other engaging activities for the younger ones?  Many of these already exist. Let’s encourage our youth to engage in these positive activities this summer.

Especially during these summer months, let’s “Surround Our Children (Youth) with LOVE.” Let’s listen to what they are saying. Let’s inspire them to pursue high, positive aspirations. Let’s be positive role models for them.  Let’s show them that we care—that we LOVE them.

— Dr. Ron Swain,
Convener, Courageous Conversations Georgetown