Leader talks about the church’s role in racial reconciliation and injustice

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Leaders of faith are ready to step in to speak about racial reconciliation and racial injustice in the city of Memphis.

Faith leaders are riding the heels of the Black Lives Matter Movement and joining protestors. FOX13 spoke with one about their role in the fight for equality.

From the Civil Rights Era the church played an active role and now, we’re seeing more faith leaders speak up. Many say they are ready to work with people who may not have the same religious beliefs, but the same vision to end racist systems.

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“Put faith into action. Faith without work is dead,” Dr. Stacy Spencer, the President of the Memphis Interfaith Coalition for Action and Hope or MICHA told FOX13.

Spencer said there’s more to be done than just believing in change.

“We have to have uncomfortable discussions to the change,” he said.

Last week Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland met with a small group of activists and clergy members to discuss how to improve the police department’s policing tactics and treatment of African Americans.

“That’s a small number of people representing a large city,” said Spencer.

Spencer said MICAH was one of several organizations who originally asked to meet with Mayor Strickland but wasn’t included.

Although Spencer said he hasn’t heard from Strickland’s office, FOX13 has learned he was asked to join a meeting with the mayor this Wednesday.

Spencer said the church plays an integral role in the Black Lives Matter Movement.

“We will continue to talk to him about community policing. Police accountability. We want to have a wholesome discussion on how we change the narrative on police brutality and change it to community policing,” he said.

But to really crush the ugly head of inequality Spencer said we need to listen to voices of all faiths and ethnic backgrounds.

“Young blacks, young whites, young Latinos are putting their lives on the line and saying racism is enough. Enough with the racism, we need to do a new thing. We need to reform our criminal justice system. We need to make sure there is accountability in our police department,” he said.

Spencer said he is also meeting with MPD Director Rallings on Thursday on behalf of MICAH.