On the evening of January 23, PROP hosted a gathering at the New York Ethical Culture Society where faith leaders from around New York City gathered together to speak out against abusive police practices in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The panelists did Dr. King’s legacy justice by condemning the NYPD’s widespread harsh and unjust practices and also by describing the role of faith leaders as counselors to those in their congregations and communities who have suffered or been traumatized by abusive NYPD practices, and the importance of telling these stories. About 100 people gathered to witness the beginning of a new coalition of faith leaders committing to reach across creed and community to work together to advocate police reform.
The panel speakers included: Rev Pat Bumgardner, Senior Pastor, Metropolitan Community Church of New York; Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, President of the Islamic Leadership Council of Metropolitan New York; Rev Ruben Austria, Bronx Clergy Coalition; Founder and Executive Director of Community Connections for Youth; Derrick Boykin, Associate Pastor of the Walker Memorial Baptist Church; Brendan Fay, Catholic Activist and Filmmaker; Rabbi Jill Jacobs, Executive Director of Rabbis for Human Rights of North America. The event was moderated by Dr. Anne Klaeysen of the New York Society for Ethical Culture.
During the discussion, Reverend Pat Bumgardner reminded us that the issue of abusive police practices is not a ‘which party do you vote for’ issue, but an issue where, as Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr. said, we must either learn to live together as brothers or perish as fools. We would like to thank each of the panelists, as well as Dr. Anne Klaeysen and the New York Society for Ethical Culture, for their key roles in this inspiring and encouraging event.