Community activist calls for common ground

Local News

Since last week’s Black Lives Matter protest and multiple arrests, common ground between protesters and Rochester police has been hard to come by. Now, a local religious leader is trying to bridge the divide.

Many people are asking, how did we get to this point? Reverend Lewis Stewart is asking, how do we get away from this?

As an activist, Stewart frequently addresses issues between Rochester Police Department and Black Lives Matter protestors.

“We are trying to establish accountability on both parts, because you just don’t want to point the finger at people,” Stewart said. “You box people in, they began to react in a certain way that is negative.”

Over the past week, Rochester has received national attention for the 74 arrests made during protests organized by a Black Lives Matter local group called Building Leadership And Community Knowledge, or B.L.A.C.K.

Stewart questions not this protest, but the ones that don’t happen.

“My concern is when there is police violence against young black men we are so quick to get upset and march, but when there is black on black violence, we’re not so quick to get upset and march,” said Stewart. “We should be just as outraged when gun violence happens and shootings happen in our community”

To him, a starting point of stopping those shootings could be a common goal between the protesters and police. And he says sometimes, all you need is a starting point.

“Let’s sit down and talk about these issues, let’s spell out a narrative, let’s sit down and work together in terms of how we can bridge a gap,” Stewart said. “Accountability, transparency and trust will rise 100 percent.”

Stewart closed this news conference by saying our community should not remain in chaos. We have a responsibility to hold one another accountable, he says, not to point the finger.

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