They Don’t Make Activists Like They Used to: Raleigh Group Buckles Under Threat of — ARREST

More about Jesus would I know,
More of His grace to others show;
More of His saving fulness see,
More of His love who died for me.

Those words from an old hymn in America rolled through my mind this morning as I read the news about a group in Raleigh, NC who folded under the police threat of — get this — being arrested!

So much about knowing “More about Jesus…”.

For the last three people in the world who haven’t heard, the Raleigh Police Department stopped a group from feeding the homeless in the city’s Moore Square saying the group would be arrested if they fed the homeless.

The group had been passing out coffee and biscuits for about six years without any trouble or police intervention. The mayor backpedaled away quickly saying the police were acting without any backing of herself or the Raleigh City Council.

After all the protests I’ve seen, photographed and written about, I couldn’t — and still can’t — fathom why the threat of arrest would stop a group that wanted to be “…more like Jesus.”

Another incident also comes to mind.

A few years ago I spent some time at an “intentional Christian community” in Americus, Georgia called Koinonia.

Koinonia was filled with naive, but well meaning people, that thought that social justice was unique to their group and they were ready to protest just about anything that might show up on their pecan covered radar.

There was a kid there named Jake. I won’t use his last name just to save him some embarrassment.

Jake and a few others were disturbed that the local Army Recruiting Office was having a booth at career day at the local high school. Jake and his buddies decided to go protest.

A few hours later, Jake came back into the office sweating profusely and wringing his hands. When he had calmed down enough to ask him what had happened, all Jake could say was “It was terrible. Just terrible. I’ve never seen anything like it.”

I started picturing fire hoses turned on the protestors. Maybe German Shepherds being released. At least maybe some tear gas had been thrown.

When Jake finally stopped mumbling to no one in particular about how bad and traumatic it was, he took a deep breath and finally answered me when I asked him for the tenth time what had happened.

“They…they…they,” Jake quivered, “they told us to leave.”

That’s it? That’s all? They just told you to leave and you acted like you had been herded onto boxcars for the last ride to Auschwitz?

I guess they don’t make protestors like they used to.


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 Jerry Nelson is a freelance photojournalist from America.  His latest book of photography, Suenitos tells the story of the only daycare inside the dangerous Hidden City.  Now based in Argentina, he continues to turn his lens on social justice issues around the globe.  Connect with Jerry on MosaicHub, Facebook or LinkedIn today.  Have a story that needs to reach national media?  Email him today.

In addition to being photo editor for the Internet’s largest collection of Travel Articles, Outbounding, he is also the lead photographer for BuenosTours, the specialists in private walking tours of Buenos Aires

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