I attended the interfaith service July 8 at the State College Municipal Building.
We stood in a circle as several people offered prayers. Each of the prayers called for racial healing, acknowledging Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the officers in Dallas, and others slain by racial violence. The prayers did not mince words about the massive problem of structural racism in our country.
The concluding prayer, seen on the front page of July 9’s CDT, was a “laying of hands” on the police officers present. It was a prayer for them — as well as our community. I laid my hand in prayer on an officer’s shoulder — even as I strongly support the Black Lives Matter movement.
When I read the CDT’s coverage of the service, I was disappointed. Yes, we were praying for our police officers, but we were also praying for much more. We were praying for families, friends and communities of victims of racial violence, including those murdered at the hands of police officers. We were praying that we — in all communities and on all levels — might act swiftly to eliminate racism.
This problem is not black vs. blue. I charge the CDT and other media outlets to do a better job of reporting the nuance. I also charge consumers of media to read critically — and widely.
We won’t get very far in making positive change if we can’t understand the complexities of the situation.
Mark Kissling, State College