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As a response to the tragedies of July 5-6, 2016, on Thursday, July 7, Leslie N. Pollard, president of Oakwood University in Huntsville, Alabama, utilized Facebook in a live message to ask one question: What could be done to ensure the safety of our black men?
His question was a direct response to that week's report of two fatal shootings of African-American males, both occurring within 24 hours of each other. Pollard's heart was heavy with the weight of grief as he proposed a "call to action," which would ultimately be grounded in the faith perspectives of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and consistent with the aims of biblical passages such as Micah 6:6-8, Isaiah 58:1-14, Proverbs 31:8-9, and Revelation 14:6-12.
The Facebook Live "Call to Action" specifically invited Oakwood graduates, who are practicing law, to come together on aconference call and brainstorm on solutions of how to end the violence and be a redemptive force for justice. In addition to the 300 conference call participants, Facebook Live registered almost 6,800 viewers for the live feed, with an audience reach of 329,000 persons, according to Facebook analytics. Participants included alumni and friends who felt compelled to find out how they could help.
|Oakwood University President Leslie N. Pollard
Photo supplied by Oakwood University
Various topics were discussed. These included:
Education on how to interact with law enforcement
Sensitivity training/education for law enforcement
How to serve communities by engaging with the creation of public policy
Establishment of a core group of attorneys who can help students
Establishment of a national standard for reasonable force
Lobbying members of Congress for peace initiatives
Pollard and a selected team of advisors will continue to sift through the information, organize for action, and meet with this newly developed team. If you would like to participate, please send your contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org.