SALT LAKE CITY – Around the country, Ferguson, Missouri, has become identified with tension between police and citizens, especially minorities. A gathering at the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office didn’t follow that script.
“Tonight as you saw incredible people from various denominations came together to have a conversation and that’s what we need more of,” said Salt Lake County Sheriff Jim Winder.
Winder and several members of his staff stood alongside a group of local pastors from various denominations.
“My hope is for this time today that what we will begin is an opportunity for us to start conversation,” said Rev. Jerrod Lowry from the Community of Grace Presbyterian Church in Sandy.
The crowd and speakers, which included children, spent four minutes in silence, following the request of Michael Brown’s family after the announcement that Ferguson officer Darren Wilson would not face charges in Brown’s death.
The speeches focused on trying to bridge the gap between citizens and police.
“In the three short years I have been here, I have seen countless examples of persons with diverse interests and understanding reaching beyond the familiar to accomplish the incredible,” said Rev. Vinnetta Golphin-Wilkerson from the Granger Christian Church in West Valley City.
“I am holding my faith in the people behind me that they will begin to allow the people in this community to come together to heal and communicate and I promise here today as I stand that I will be here with them, this is not the end of the conversation. This is the beginning of the conversation,” Winder said.
The call for civility and unity was organized by local pastors from various denominations with help from the Salt Lake County Sheriff’s Office.