Church hosts community conversation on race and law enforcement

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jul 24, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-25 00:30:42-04

In the wake of recent events, Connection Church opened their doors and pulpit for a conversation on law enforcement and race.

In opening remarks, Pastor Hoxworth told the congregation they had only once before opted out of a traditional sermon, the Sunday after 9/11.

The deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and subsequent attacks on police in Dallas and Baton Rouge, motivated the church to bring together a panel. The panel included Chief of Police, Linda Alvarado, Lieutenant Anthony Solomon, both of Bellmead Police and former Bellmead city Councilman Kevin Wilson.

Each panel members recalled their individual experiences with race and how it has affected and shaped their perspectives.Lieutenant Solomon recalled his time Tomball, where he was the first African- American on the police force.

"The first day I drove a police car someone called in and said hey some black guy stole the police car,” Solomon said.

While race continues to be a complex issue, panel members encouraged people to think about their individual actions. Chief Alvarado maintained that everybody despite the situation can remain respectful. Lieutenant Solomon reiterated the sentiment, explaining a mutual respect for others influences his interactions. 

“"Whenever I stop someone, I always say, 'okay I'm going to be cautious.' Doesn't matter the age, ethnicity, or any of that I'm going to be cautious. But I'm going to treat the person like I would have somebody treat my wife, treat my mother, treat my brother if they were stopped," Solomon said. 

Despite the difficulty some have in discussing race, Connection lead pastor Richard Hoxworth believes the church can be an important role in changing attitudes.

"They say never talk about religion or politics and you know I think race is a close third because it is such a tense and personal issue for some people. But I think in a church we believe that we have something that is for more alike than is different,” Hoxworth said.

The panel discussion closed with a prayer over the officers and the community. 

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