(CBS) — On the first anniversary of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo., a church service this morning on the South Side paid tribute to him.
Father Michael Pfleger says it’s not enough to just remember Brown, but force the country to address the issue of what he calls the genocide of black youth.
The outspoken pastor says that comes at the hands of police who racially profile; vigilantes who are “trigger happy,” as well as black-on-black crime.
“`Black Lives Matter’ is not just some tag line, it’s not just some cute thing to say,” Pfleger tells WBBM Newsradio’s Nancy Harty.
Efforts to stem violence in the community, Pfleger says, have been stifled by budget cuts to anti-violence programs that groups like St. Sabina have used as a way to hire young people and keep them out of trouble.
Pfleger introduced parishioners to Joliet native Lucy McBath, who lost all she had when her son, Jordan Davis, was killed in a car outside a Florida convenience store in 2012. He was shot by a white man who complained about loud music being played in a car Davis was in.
Despite her son’s death and Brown’s killing, McBath’s message was not one of despair.
“I want to offer you hope that is so sorely needed in our community today,” she said. “The only way hope rises is when we stand up and rise up.”
McBath said she became a reluctant activist after her son’s death but felt she received justice. The gunman was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.