Church leaders, community look for improvement following Alton Sterling shooting

Church leaders, community look for improvement following Alton Sterling shooting

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - More than 300 people came together in Baton Rouge to try and find the best way for the city to move forward in light of the shooting death of Alton Sterling.

The event was held at St. Paul's Catholic Church and was organized by Together Baton Rouge. The idea was to put people into small groups, where they could discuss recent events, voice their concerns and talk about what they feel are the best solutions.

Reverend Joe Connelly of the Wesley United Methodist Church in Baton Rouge led the early part of the discussion. He said he felt discussing recent events this way would be more beneficial and believes the meeting is a step in the right direction.

"To come together, to dialogue, to listen to each other, and begin to get that sense of respect, and hopefulness into the hearts and minds of our people," he said. "A right relationship that leads to anger, which leads to action, which leads to change. And if we can get that and deal with the emotions of fear and respect, I think we can then have a better city."

Most of the groups consisted of church leaders and groups, but also some people from the community wanted to hear what others had to say.

"I wanted to join with other like-minded people, to possibly come up with some solutions to what's going on and possibly lay some groundwork to bring us back together as people," said Melanie Dawson-Walker, a participating of the discussion from Immaculate Conception Catholic Church.

The discussions centered around police reform, a better relationship between police and the community, and economic reform in poor neighborhoods.

At the end of the meeting, Together Baton Rouge said they would putting together a special team in the next few months that will meet with city leaders about police reform.

"Once we come up with specific things we want to work on, then we do our research and come up with specific ideas to try to address those particular concerns in the city," said Patti Snyder with Together Baton Rouge.

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