February 2012 Subscriber Letter

February 1st, 2012

February 2012

Dear Reconciler Family,

In January I traveled to Washington, D.C. to take part in a Reconciliation and Police Legitimacy Summit at Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS), an office of the U.S. Department of Justice.  My son, Brad, of the Pasadena Police Department was also invited to attend.  We were asked to go by Bernard Melekian (former Pasadena Police Chief) who now serves as Director of COPS.

On January 10, I conducted a two-hour session with a predominately African American audience which included some top COPS office leaders on “The Dream,” referring to Jesus’ dream of Luke 4:16-18 “to preach good news to the poor, and relieve the oppressed, give sight to the blind, and liberate the captives.”  Some feel overlooked for promotions and discriminated against.

On January 11, I participated in an 8-hour Summit on Reconciliation and Police Legitimacy which included a number of police chiefs, COPS leaders, pastors, community development leaders and others.  I spoke and fielded questions for an hour and served as a panelist the rest of the time.

In an interview, Garry McCarthy, Superintendent of Police in Chicago, said: “I understand the historical divide between police and communities of color – it’s rooted in the history of this country. The most visible arm of government is a police force, and the institutionalized governmental programs that promoted racist policies that were enforced by police departments are part of the African American history in this country. And we have to recognize it because recognition is the first step towards finding a cure for what is ailing us.”

David Kennedy, Professor of Criminal Justice at John Jay College in New York, said that “affected communities view present law enforcement actions through the lens of history creating a narrative…” The narrative says they believe the laws set up by the government are slanted against communities of color.  Whether true or not this belief is acted upon and helps perpetuate our present conditions.

The bottom line is our prayers and examples are much needed in a dangerous and spiritually starved world. Thank you for standing in the gap with us at ORM.  And many thanks for your faithful financial support which helps enable us to do our part.

Curtis May