St. Mark Family Church sits a few blocks away from where shops went up in flames in Ferguson Missouri, following the grand jury decision in the Michael Brown case.
During a small Thanksgiving ceremony Reverend Tommie Pierson addressed the congregation saying, “Let this day be the beginning of healing and unity in all or our communities.”
“It has been a really sad situation,” noted parishioner Norma Meeks. “I pray for both families. And I hope and pray that everybody will have peace.”
Brown’s family sat down to their first thanks giving with an empty seat for their son and brother. Activists took to social media to express their solidarity. Under the hashtag #StolenLives people shared photos of their Thanksgiving dinner with an empty chair.
The jury’s decision not to indict a white police officer for killing a black teenager sparked protests across the US, and focused attention on the strained relations between black communities and law enforcement.
Authorities in Missouri hoped the holiday reprieve would mark a turning point in the protests.