Racial tension continues to build throughout the country after numerous cases of the shooting of African American men by police officers. Clergy members in Omaha are taking steps and working together on a 7 Day Action Plan to work on issues that continue to divide the community and the nation. Reverend Tony Sanders is president of the Interdenominational Ministry of Lives in Omaha and says they are moving with urgency to prevent further escalation of tension.
Rev. Sanders says, “What happened in Baton Rouge and Falcon Heights and Dallas could very easily happen in Omaha, Nebraska. We are not immune from these types of tragedies. To be clear, even though these national events are the catalyst that has initiated this form, there are local ingredients, if not careful, could very easily produce similar – if not worse- expressions of unrest.” He says the ingredients are here and the precedence has been set.
In an effort to de-escalate tensions, the group is holding a series of town hall discussions. One is Friday on informing African American males on interaction with police officers. On Saturday there is a dialogue with Congressman Brad Ashford and South Carolina Congressman James Clyburn.
Rev. Sanders says clergy members continue to work with the Omaha Police Department and praised Chief Todd Schmaderer for building a fair and good relationship with members of the African American community. He is very pleased that recent protests within the city have been peaceful and hopes that trend continues.