Statement on Policing and Racial Justice

“…What does the Lord require of you, but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” Micah 6:8

As a county-wide, inter-faith advocacy effort with a faith-inspired platform that fosters mutual respect and effectiveness, we are compelled to mobilize and speak up for justice and equality. In particular, we believe that there is a great need for the leaders of faith to speak to the systemic racial injustice that is experienced by many in our communities. Our obligation is to speak up whenever anyone is treated unjustly for as Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King said: “An injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.”

Over the past year the broader public has been made aware of injustices and discrimination suffered by people of color from police departments throughout the country. While communities of color have been raising these issues for years, it wasn’t until the public was able to see one incident after another captured on video that people felt the urgency to act. It’s time for us in Washtenaw County to act.

Many of the same kinds of injustice that were read about elsewhere exist here- including the killing of unarmed civilians and the use of excessive force. Where such injustices exist they put our community members and our law enforcement officers at risk. To build good relationships between our communities of color and our law enforcement officers we need to systematically address such issues as:

  • The use of force guidelines in our county police departments;
  • Citizen oversight of our police departments;
  • Independent prosecutors for situations where law enforcement officers are potentially being charged with crimes;
  • The mandatory training of all police officers in such areas as implicit bias, interacting with mental illness issues and how to de-escalate situations that have the potential to become violent so that the priority is always to protect lives;
  • The perception of an active code of silence hindering good policing, transparency and accountability among our law enforcement officers;
  • The jailing of people who have not been convicted of a crime and pose no risk to the community;
  • Over-policing in low-income and people of color communities;
  • The lack of transparent statistical data of racial variation at traffic stops, arrests, charges and sentences.

Law enforcement is a difficult and potentially dangerous task, particularly in a society that has extreme racial and economic disparities. We are concerned for both our law enforcement officers and civilians and believe that developing life-affirming practices and guidelines will do the most to promote the well-being of all.

Signers

  • Rev. Jeffery D. Harrold, New Beginnings Community Church of Washtenaw County
  • Pastor Denese Brown, Faith Assembly Church of Ypsilanti
  • Ms. Christine Modey, St. Clare of Assisi Episcopal Church
  • Rabbi Robert Dobrusin, Beth Israel Congregation
  • Min. Lloyd Shelton, Faith Assembly Ypsilanti
  • Pastor Jerry Hatter, Brown Chapel AME Church
  • Lois E. Richardson, Mayor-pro-tem
  • Pastor Michael Rosier, Strong Tower Ministry
  • Rev. Neil H Shadle, Retired Professor of Ministry
  • Lillie May Shadle, Chaplain-Retired
  • Rev. Russell M. Fuller
  • Rev. Laura J. Hunt
  • Rev. Daniel Rose, M.Div., The Antioch Movement
  • Pastor Roger Brown, Faith Assembly Church of Ypsilanti
  • Pastor Larry D. Davis, Christian Tabernacle Baptist Church
  • Pastor T. William Kersey, Community Church of God
  • Rev. Franci Moorman, Community Church of God
  • Pastor Victoria James, Ekklesia Fellowship Ministries
  • Bishop Roger and Pastor Linda Johnson, Christian Faith Church
  • Pastor Orvis L. Alexander Sr., St. Mary’s Missionary Baptist Church
  • Philip H. Tiews, The Word of God
  • The Rev. Joseph H. Summers, Vicar, The Episcopal Church of the Incarnation
  • Rev. Deborah Dean-Ware, pastor, Church of the Good Shepherd, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Maymette Dolberry, AMEC Elder
  • Rev. Gregory Briggs, Associate Pastor of Bethlehem United Church of Christ
  • Reverend Sara Freudenburg
  • James Rhodenhiser, Senior Pastor, St Clare’s Episcopal Church, Ann Arbor
  • Pastor Clifton Howard JR
  • The Rev. Robert Roth, Chaplain/Director, The Wesley Foundation at the University of Michigan
  • Rev. Chris Grapentine, retired, Northside Community Church
  • John H. Powell, Regional Pastor, Indiana-Michigan Mennonite Conference
  • Rev. J. Douglas Paterson, First United Methodist, Ann Arbor
  • Rev. Lori Carey, Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Rev. Roger N. Pohl, United Church of Christ
  • Rev. Donnell T. Wyche, Senior Pastor, Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor
  • Rev. John Groen, Pastor
  • Rev. David T. Bell, Interfaith Center for Spiritual Growth
  • The Rev. Keith E Geiselman, Pastor
  • Reverend Ernestine Griffin, Unity On Campus Ministry
  • Rev Paul Versluis , Rev. Dr. Paul Versluis III
  • Rev. Rodrick Green , New Hope Baptist Church of Ann Arbor
  • Rev. Mary Hagley, Deacon, Dixboro UMC
  • Rev Dr Fran Mayes
  • Ann Arbor Friends Meeting, Religious Society of Friends (Quakers)
  • Lucia Heinold, Co-Chair, Challenging Racism: First Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Ann Arbor
  • Rev. Harvey Stob (Retired)
  • Rev Selena Lucas, Center of Light, Ann Arbor
  • Dr. Joseph N. Cousin, Sr., Bethel African Methodist Episcopal Church
  • The Rev. Ian Reed Twiss, Trinity Episcopal Church
  • Rev. Carey Gardiner Mack, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
  • Kenneth Rochell, United Faith Prayer Center International
  • Randy Vonck, President Washtenaw Area Call To Action
  • Tad Wysor, Co-founder Washtenaw Regional Organizing Coalition (WeROC)
  • Rev. Carol Hall, First Congregational UCC
  • Rev. Gail R. Geisenhainer, Senior Pastor, First Unitarian Universalist
  • Rev. Dr. Susan King, Co-Director, Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County
  • The Rev. Carol A. Mader, Priest-in-Charge, St. James’ Episcopal Church, Dexter
  • Rev. Jay Sanderford, Associate Pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Ann Arbor
  • Rev. George Lambrides, Interfaith Round Table of Washtenaw County
  • Rabbi Josh Whinston, Temple Beth Emeth
  • Rev. Maurice Gordon, St. Paul Baptist Church
  • Rev. Barb McRae, Birdnest Spiritual Direction
  • Xan Morgan, Director of Children and Family Ministries -St. Clare’s Episcopal Church, Ann Arbor
  • Rev. Dr. James Waddell, Pastor of Faith Lutheran Church Ypsilanti Township; Associate Professor Ecumenical Theological Seminary, Detroit, 
  • Rev. Jill A. Mills, Presbyterian Church (USA)

As of 11/11/2016, Affiliation listed for identification purposes only