Is it possible for one person – or a small group of people – to change the thinking of other people? A little known experience in Ferguson, Missouri, says YES! I appreciate this good news out of Ferguson after so much bad news.
During the rioting and looting many local businesses in Ferguson were damaged, and their innocent owners were left with the cleanup and repairs. The St. Louis Tea Party decided to help and spread word of their “Buycott” on Facebook. They hoped to have twenty people show up to the event and spend money at the local Ferguson businesses on August 21. They were surprised when about forty people came. Their goal was to help small businesses hit by the violence.
Bill Hennessy was part of the tea party event and later wrote about his experience. “A gentleman (my age) in the salon (husband?) asked who we were with. I told him `St. Louis Tea Party.’
“`Tea party?’ he said. `You bad boys,’ and chuckled. Then he looked at me, very serious. He said, `The tea party came up here to do this?’
“`Oh, yeah,’ I said. `We don’t want to see Ferguson go south.’
“He laughed. And he looked at me. Then he was quiet, lost in thought for a minute. When he came out of it, he was like our best friend. Laughing, giving us crap about stuff, telling stories. He admitted baseball can be like `watching grass grow.’
“In that moment of reflection, I’m sure he was trying to reconcile `tea party’ with what he was seeing – four white people, ages 18 to 50, laughing, spending money, empathizing.
“That moment made the whole event worthwhile.”
What did approximately forty “mostly white” tea party members accomplish during their time in mostly black Ferguson, Missouri? They proved that their group is made up of good people who are concerned about their neighbors and fellow citizens. They proved that people are lying about the tea party. They proved that there are good white people who care about black people.