By Joseph Phelan, CSS Fellow


When Terry Marshall, CSS Associate and co-founder of Intelligent Mischief, was in Ferguson, MO last week assisting Rev. Sekou  in training local activists in non-violent direct action ahead of a grand jury verdict, he was struck by the reverend’s framework for engaging in action.

Rev. Sekou teaches the trainings from the tradition of Fellowship and Reconciliation, which uses the principle of “deep and abiding love” to guide their actions,” Terry explained. “I thought this notion of deep love and abiding love could help to interrupt the growing tension caused by the dominant narrative that those of us seeking justice are driven by anger or hatred of the police. So I put it out there.

On November 13, Terry and fellow Intelligent Mischiefer, Liz Padgett (@lizzy_bones), took to the internet to co-create a meme using a basic webpagethat asked people to use the hashtag #DeepAbidingLove to label tweets that support the protestors on the ground.

The website states:

As we wait for McCulloch’s office to release the decision of the Grand Jury in the case of Mike Brown’s murder, tensions in Ferguson and St. Louis continue to escalate.  The violence implied by the increase in militarization of the police force weighs heavily on protesters and residents alike. The anxiety caused by the uncertainty is like psychological warfare.

On the day the website and the hashtag went live it received an initial bump from power retweets (@VanJones68, @YourAnonNews, fightfortheftrFight). As the meme spread through twitter it also served to uplift the tireless leaders on the ground who welcomed the supportive reframe.

Terry is clear that the idea and implementation of the idea was only possible because of his and Liz’s continued involvement and participation in actions lead by people on the ground, and because in supporting people, they also had the space to get creative. “#DeepAbidingLove came out of what I call white space, the space where you are engaged with the work of social change, but you also have the distance and space to get creative. This is not a disengagement, but a different type of engagement,”  Terry said.

While #DeepAbidingLove is one of the many voices challenging the dominant story when it comes to Ferguson, MO, it is a great example of getting creative and having the mandate to participate and the flexibility to be creative.

Check out #DeepAbidingLove here.