A Powerful Call to Community Action
Members of our community were inspired by powerful messages from faith and city leaders on July 14 as part of the gathering “A Call to Action and Prayer.” Organized by Dr. Eric D. Jackson, pastor of Tacoma’s Bethlehem Baptist Church and Board Member of Associated Ministries, the gathering was a response to the tragic violence that has rocked our nation and community during the past several weeks. “I call upon the faith community and leaders of Tacoma to address the social unrest and violent deaths at the hands of police and citizens. I call upon you to come together and discuss police-community relations, gun rights, and more.”
The evening included addresses by Tacoma City Council Members Victoria Woodards and Keith Blocker, Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell, Tacoma Deputy Fire Chief Tory Green, and Attorney Dwayne Christopher; as well as Rev. Will Mitchell, Bishop Kim V. Forest, Bishop Lawrence White and the event’s host, Dr. Jackson.
Tacoma City Council Member Victoria Woodards challenged those assembled with this charge: when you have a feeling of discomfort, check in with it. Figure out why you’re uncomfortable, and realize it is probably a bias. Then sit with it, identify it, and get over it! Working through our discomforts is the only way change will happen.
Assistant Fire Chief Green recommended three powerful action items: have the real and difficult conversations about race…even if it’s uncomfortable; get to know your police department; stop by a precinct, introduce yourself, say hello; and be a catalyst of change in your organization around breaking institutionalized racism.
Dr. Jackson reminded his congregation and guests of the Bible’s imperative from James 2 that “faith without works is dead.” He implored all present to take off the blinders of apathy and be agents of change.
Pastor Jackson concluded the evening with the promise that “this is just the beginning. Stay tuned!”