Today, I attended a prayer vigil at New Northside Missionary Baptist Church. The vigil was held in response to criminal incidents in which fire was set to the doors of six churches in the St. Louis region. The investigation into the incidents remains ongoing at this time and anyone with information is asked to call CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS (8477).
I wanted to share my remarks from today's vigil with you-
It's impossible to ignore that this kind of crime aggravates old wounds...old wounds that were never properly or fully healed.
Fires in churches awaken some of saddest memories in our collective past. Anyone who knows that troubled part of American history must regard these events with utmost concern.
The fact is, when someone attacks places of worship in our community, they attack the whole concept of civil society, aiming violence precisely at the places where people are at their most decent, and their most peaceful.
But whoever it is out there trying to scare us, they have underestimated the power of that decency and the strength of our shared desire for peace.
Whoever this person is, they’ve picked a fight they can't win.
Whatever they think they’re trying to accomplish, they will not succeed.
Our community is stronger than they are.
It's also more united than ever before.
I have always believed in regionalism, in cooperation across political lines, which is why two years ago, we merged our Bomb and Arson detectives with those of St. Louis County.
The result of that collaboration today is that we're going after this crime, not just with the resources of one town or city, but with those of Greater St. Louis.