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More Local Reaction To Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Jean Carroll, president and CEO, YWCA of Rochester/Monroe County
Jean Carroll, president and CEO, YWCA of Rochester/Monroe County

"Thoughtful but disappointing," is how the president and CEO the YWCA of Rochester and Monroe County views a grand jury decision in Ferguson, Missouri.

The grand jurydecided to not indict a police officer in the shooting death of an unarmed black man.

YWCA president Jean Carroll, whose organization has initiated local discussions about race and racism, said views on this case depend on your personal experiences.

She said white people can view this logically and feel that justice has been served.

"For people of color who experience challenges because of their race every day, and whose brothers and uncles and cousins experience challenges because of their race every day, and who have seen not just this situation, but many; this is a challenge because people feel powerless."

Carroll said tension built around the case while the Ferguson grand jury heard evidence behind closed doors, where a trial would have been more transparent.

"What we're seeing right now is a very emotional reaction it. While there may have been emotions all along about it, at least there would have be that sense that everything was done that could possibly be done."

Carroll said Rochester is a much divided community when it comes to race and poverty. She said this case can serve to further conversations about bridging that divide, but that requires the efforts of the whole community.

"Even if you are the best-hearted person around and feel that you do not have racial prejudice in your heart and in your head, you still live in this world where you live a different life than a person of color does," Carroll said.  “"As a white person I cannot have that same experience and unless I really reach out to people in the African American and Hispanic communities and speak to them and talk to them about their experience, I will not understand their experience."

Beth Adams joined WXXI as host of Morning Edition in 2012 after a more than two-decade radio career. She was the longtime host of the WHAM Morning News in Rochester. Her career also took her from radio stations in Elmira, New York, to Miami, Florida.