Church leaders: Protests are necessary, violence is not

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – People in Buffalo’s church community are sending a message Monday that protests are necessary, but violence is not.

Church leaders from across western New York are concerned as they watch what’s unfolding across the nation.  Dozens of clergy members came together, saying they will not watch in silence as situations unravel across the country.

“As a community, as a nation we can and must do better,” said one clergy member.

“I’ve been involved in civil rights issues for a long time, but I don’t remember seeing anything ignite a nation like I’ve seen what’s happening here now,” said Reverend William Gillison from Mount Olive Baptist Church.

They’re coming together in solidarity to say what’s happening in places like Ferguson and Staten Island isn’t right, unarmed citizens shouldn’t die at the hands of police.

“We stand for good policing. When law enforcement officials do not uphold their calling or their charge then we can not be silent and let that go,” said one pastor.

They want to invoke change. “As a man of God I also see there’s an opportunity for healing because a lot of people are angry, discouraged, frustrated, and don’t know how to ventilate their anger and as men of God we want to stand and help them to heal,” said Keith Mobley

The Concerned Clergy Coalition has come up with an eight-point strategy plan they’ll be unveiling on Saturday.  They hope it will make the region safer.

“We’ve got to find a way to heal our nation, not tear it apart,” said Gillison.

There will be a march in Washington this Saturday.  While it’s going on, there will be a peaceful protest and rally being held simultaneously here in Buffalo.

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