Across the Dallas-Fort Worth area Sunday, in church meetings and street protests, blacks and Latinos called for tough conversations on race and policing -- conversations many feared were being eclipsed by the outpouring of concern over an ambush on officers in downtown Dallas on Thursday.
A peaceful gathering to protest the latest deaths of two black men at the hands of police officers in Baton Rouge and the St. Paul area ended in more violence Thursday night. A sniper attack in left five police officers dead, seven wounded and a nation stunned and seething by the bloodshed.
“There is a repentance that has to happen in this nation,” said Carl Sherman, a pastor and former Desoto mayor to a large crowd gathered under the vaulted Southern Hills Church of Christ.
More than a dozen law enforcement officers filled the middle pews to hear their public service praised -- and then criticized.
Blaise Mikulewicz, Dallas County Sheriff Assistant Chief Deputy, took the stage, speaking simply. “You must trust me,” he said. It’s time for all parties to cease seeing skin color, he said. “Those barriers have to come down.” When he was finished, he received a standing ovation.
About 600 persons filled the church for a vigil and meeting organized by the Dallas Area Interfaith, a network of churches and organizations that push for social justice causes. Another meeting is planned at Cedar Crest Church of Christ in south Dallas on July 21.
“Building trust is how we are going to get better policing,” said Josephine Lopez Paul, the lead organizer for Dallas Area Interfaith.