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Religious leaders gather outside City Hall in support of Black Lives Matter

Jun 23, 2020

Local religious leaders gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday calling on elected officials and community members to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Rev. Lane Campbell is a minister with the First Universalist Church of Rochester and chair of the religious leaders caucus of the Rochester Alliance of Communities Transforming Society. She said that it’s time to divest from police departments, uphold the Police Accountability Board, and invest more in community and youth services.

Rev. James C Simmons, of Baber AME Church speaks in front of City Hall on Tuesday.
Credit Michael Tomb

"If we want this to be about being more than performative allies or being performative in any way, then we actually have to answer the call to justice that our movement leaders are bringing forward and bringing our way,” said Campbell. "Our religious traditions mandate that we stand on the side of the oppressed. Our religious traditions mandate that we take a stance in times like these and times when injustice is so visible and so close to the surface."

Since late May, national and international Black Lives Matter protests and calls to action have brought racial injustice to the forefront of mainstream dialogue -- after the killing of George Floyd when police detained him over a $20 bill that may have been counterfeit; the death of Breonna Taylor, who was shot in her home by police entering with a “no knock” warrant; and the slaying of Ahmaud Arbery by white neighborhood residents as he was jogging.

In the last month, at least six Black people have been found hanged from trees across the United States. While police have ruled their deaths as suicides, Campbell said these are lynchings.

"As we are sitting around deliberating about what to do to support the movement for Black lives and how to support the movement for Black lives,” she said, “Black lives are being lost.”