Racism in policing dialogue draws nearly 300 on Zoom

“Fight for Floyd: Where do we go from here?” a live video discussion sponsored June 1 by the Eastern PA Conference, drew nearly 300 participants to the event on Zoom to wrestle with the crisis of racial injustice in American law enforcement. That combustible crisis was reignited most recently by the brutal murder of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, killed by Minneapolis, Minn., police.

The two-hour dialogue, sponsored by the conference’s Urban Commission, took place as peaceful protests were degrading nightly into violence, destruction and looting that raged in Philadelphia and other communities. Diverse participants, who joined the online session searching for understanding, heard from guest speakers and voiced concerns and possible remedies in breakout groups.

Speakers included criminal justice officials, community organizers and
pastors. Among them were:

  • Larry Krasner, District Attorney of Philadelphia;
  • the Rev. Gregory Holston, who works with Krasner to promote criminal justice reform and is the pastor of Janes Memorial UMC Philadelphia;
  • De Lacy D. Davis, an organizer and educator in community policing, and head of Black Cops Against Police Brutality in Newark, NJ.; and
  • the Rev. Ronald Bell, pastor of Camphor Memorial UMC in St. Paul. Minnesota.

Bell offered valuable insight into the racial justice struggles happening in Minnesota’s Twin Cities. When asked, he told callers how they could support his church’s response to the crisis there, but reminded them that they have their own work to do here.

The Rev. William Brawner, a pastor and conference Urban Ministries Coordinator, organized and facilitated the discussion. A recording of the session can be viewed on the conference’s Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/epaumc).