A Path to Racial Reconciliation?

Several local churches are sponsoring the following online discussions about race relations this summer:

Summer Forum Series: Is There a Path to Racial Reconciliation?

The first event was today and the two guest speakers were Vermont Senator Randy Brock and Representative Kevin “Coach” Christie.

It was a most interesting discussion.

I had to smile when Sen. Brock talked about the word “reconciliation” and explained that from the perspective of his finance background the word implies something out of balance. I also have a finance background, and I get that.

Rep. Christie and Sen. Brock are from different political parties, but there was much they agreed on. They both agreed that race relations have generally improved during their lifetimes. They both agreed that issues remain, especially regarding policing. They both agreed that discussions like the one today are an important part of making further improvements in race relations. They both agreed that language is important – that it matters how we talk about these issues, and what words we use. Both legislators are African Americans.

Most of the discussion in the Q&A was about policing, including how important it is to hire the right people to be police officers and how important it is to train them correctly. I would add that it is also important, when it is learned that a particular officer is not doing their job appropriately, to be able to fire them.

Sen. Brock and Rep. Christie each have a valuable perspective on policing matters. Early in his career, Sen. Brock, a Vietnam veteran, was a captain in the Military Police Corps of the U.S. Army. Rep. Christie serves on the Judiciary Committee in the Vermont House of Representatives.

The church pictured above is the Second Congregational Church in the village of Jeffersonville (town of Cambridge), led by Pastor Devon Thomas. Pastor Devon also leads the Waterville Union Church and the United Church of Bakersfield and Fairfield. These three churches together with the Good Shepard Lutheran Church of Jericho, led by Pastor Arnold Thomas, are the sponsors of this Summer Forum Series. Thank you to both pastors for organizing this interesting series.

Three more events are planned in this series, details here:

Summer Forum Series: Is There a Path to Racial Reconciliation?

UPDATE: Video of the first discussion is now posted at the above link. I’d like to call attention to the following quote from Sen. Brock:

Not all African Americans think alike. Sometimes that gets missed. People talk about black leaders. Well, what if we talked about white leaders. Who would we be talking about? Is there anyone who speaks for each and every one of you in exactly the same way? And the answer is no.

(source at 47:25)

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