The real story in Ferguson is about the people who aren't rioting

Hidden Treasures on South Florissant in Ferguson on Tuesday, Nov. 25, the night after the grand jury decision.
Jeniece Andrews and her husband Eddie own an antiques shop called Hidden Treasures just a few blocks from the Ferguson Police Department on South Florissant Avenue.
Last month, Andrews, who is black, said someone came into her shop and told her that people were getting ready to boycott her store.
As I spoke with her, dozens of protesters gathered just blocks away from her shop. They were calling for Darren Wilson's arrest just as they'd done nearly every day since August.
“Do you think they are boycotting you because you’re black and not protesting?” I asked the soft-spoken older woman who reminded me of my grandmother.

A painting that was for sale in Hidden Treasures, Andrews's store, before it was burned on Nov. 24, 2014.
Andrews, who only had her husband to help her in the shop, said that, even if she wanted to, she couldn't protest because she couldn't leave the shop.
“I feel for the family and I hope that justice does prevail," Andrews said. But, she added, “I can’t afford to close my doors to go protest.”
On Monday night, looters burned Andrews' antique shop to the ground.
I spent time in Ferguson in August and then returned in October. By my second visit, I had come to know several families in Ferguson. People opened their homes to me, invited me for dinner or asked me to come along, as they went for their morning walks.
Watching the city burn on Monday night, I felt heartbroken because when the world sees Ferguson, it's the looters and arsonists, the inept politicians, ravenous journalists and lines of cops in riot gear who dominate. What you don't hear about are the Jenieces of Ferguson.
What is not projected to the world is the day-to-day struggles of the Ferguson residents in low-income, predominately black neighborhoods — struggles that center on race, economics and unequal access to the justice system.
Many Ferguson residents — black and white alike — told me in October that they just wanted the protests to stop until the grand jury announced its decision; they said they believed in the justice system.
But that's what separates them a much louder group in Ferguson: the teens and young adults who stood on South Florissant, night after night, because they felt the justice system had failed them — once again. Even before the decision not to indict Wilson, some told me they knew the white officer wouldn't stand trial for shooting the black teen.
"This isn't new to people who are in this," Patricia Bynes, democratic committeewoman of Ferguson, told me two weeks ago.
For many people who live in Ferguson, this night was inevitable. But while they feared that this could happen, their worst suspicions have now proven true: The system, they feel, is stacked against them: The police is untrustworthy as are elected officials such as Gov. Jay Nixon.
"Nixon left us in the lurch," Maria Hosein told me on Tuesday. "They let our city burn."

A community already riven with divisions has been further torn apart. Many residents wanted a 48-hour notice on the grand jury decision because they wanted to stay home out of fear things would get violent.
"It's going to be a whole different brand of people," Bynes predicted even before Monday's mayhem. "Some of those are people who don't have good intentions."
After Monday's violence and destruction, the rift is even deeper — and, once the cameras go away, this is challenge: Ferguson residents will have to figure out how to live with each other again.
Hosein said she felt very little hope for her community when the sun rose on Tuesday. After a sleepless night, she felt "too broken" to even start cleaning up.
"I have never cried so long in my entire life," she said. "I feel worse than I ever have before."
Before her shop was torched to the ground on Monday night, Andrews expressed a humanist wish that people would recognize each other.

“Some people say ‘I am Mike Brown.’ Some people say ‘I am Darren Wilson.’ What about ‘I am a human being?’”

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