Over 300 leaders of Together Baton Rouge called for both law enforcement and economic reforms at a luncheon meeting held at St. Paul the Apostle Catholic Church. The call to action occurred after breakout sessions in which leaders substantively listened to each other. Said Rev. Lee Wesley, "It is not our goal to return to where we were before Alton Sterling was shot. It is not our goal to get back to business as usual. It is our goal to move forward."
Leaders were invited to share their reactions to the recent shooting of Alton Sterling and public demonstrations local papers say have resulted in military-style policing. TBR leader Danielle Cunningham shared her frustration with how to prepare her black 11-year old son for interactions with police. A white resident shared how she was appalled by recent violence between police and demonstrators. After the house meetings, people from all backgrounds, black and white, pledged to address both policing reforms and the racial divide in Baton Rouge.
Dallas Area Interfaith leader Rev. Jonathon Morrison touched on the similarities between Dallas and Baton Rouge, expressing hope in the collective capacity of institutions to make change. "Our walls have been torn down, but we believe we can come together to rebuild them."
Residents Express Frustration, Fear and Hope at Alton Sterling Event, The Advocate
Together Baton Rouge Brings Hundreds Together to Chart Path Moving Forward, Greater Baton Rouge Business Report
Together Baton Rouge Wants Political Change After Alton Sterling Shooting, WBRZ
Church Leaders, Community Look for Improvement Following Alton Sterling Shooting, WAFB
Troubled Souls: BR Looking Inward, The Advertiser
Baton Rouge, How Is it With Your Soul?, WRKF
Alton Sterling's Death Highlights Economic Segregation in Baton Rouge, BuzzFeed News