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Rev. Lewis Stewart: Black Lives Matter Needs Goal, Direction

Jul 14, 2016

The Rev. Lewis Stewart and UCLM

The events in Baton Rouge, suburban St. Paul and Dallas, Texas reflect a widening racial gap.

That's according to the president of United Christian Leadership Ministry, the Rev. Lewis Stewart.

He says we stand at a crossroads in community-police relations, and race relations in America.

"The alternatives are achieving racial justice, or continued racial strife," he told reporters this morning at the Downtown United Presbyterian Church in Rochester.

Stewart notes when racial incidents in this community take place, public officials, clergy and community leaders engage in platitudes, while other groups engage in protests merely for the sake of protest.

He says while he supports groups like Black Lives Matter, they need to have clear cut goals.

"In order for us to work together, we must be clearly organized.  We cannot be a group of anarchists with vague and amorphous goals without any direction," he said.

Stewart says UCLM is calling for implementation of President Obama's Taskforce on 21st Century Policing and its 59 recommendations.

They also want a summit among several police agencies and the Monroe County Sheriff to address a number of issues, including the role of policing, the aggressive recruiting and hiring of men and women of color, and developing polices to become more transparent and accountable.

Stewart wants to convene that summit as soon as possible, likely this fall.

Here's Stewart talking about what he calls the widening gap between police and the African American communities: