Leaders, activist address 'Where we go from here?'

Leaders, activist address 'Where we go from here?'

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - After a month full of turmoil and chaos, the question of "where do we go from here?" lingers above Baton Rouge.

The answer will not come easily, but some are trying to take the first step towards it.

"A few good men and women coming together, that's where we start," said Martin Luther King III.

King was among many good men and women who gathered for a frank conversation about how Baton Rouge can emerge stronger and more united. King, Louisiana State Police superintendent Col. Mike Edmonson, activist Tonja Miles, state Rep. Ted James and advocate Sister Judith Brun all headlined a panel hosted by WAFB.

They guided the talk among community and advocate groups by fielding questions. One of the first points made was that the city's biggest obstacle could be what many people call a tale of two cities, a Baton Rouge divided north and south.

"If I'm having a problem with my knee, it's going to affect my whole body and I'm going to limp," Miles said. We've been limping for a minute."

Brun agreed and added that when residents never venture outside their neighborhood or comfort zone, they miss the full story of Baton Rouge.

"Take time to travel a different path, to sit and talk to people, to see the different neighborhoods," Brun suggested.

James pointed to a lack of interaction among residents, especially youth, with people of different backgrounds. The representative credits his experiences growing up in diverse schools and programs as part of his success in adulthood.

"As we've continued to segregate our school system, I think we have a whole generation of students who don't know the importance of interacting with people who don't look like you," James explained.

The questions raised ranged from how can youth programs help bridge the gap between communities to thoughts on the rallying calls of "black lives matter" and "blue lives matter."

No matter the question or the response, the panelists found one area of common ground moving forward, saying over and over that we all need to listen to each other.

"We have far more in common than we realize," King noted. "The reality is we have allowed society to divide us."

Among the more touching moments, Trenisha Jackson, the wife of fallen officer Montrell Jackson, was in the audience and was given a standing ovation.

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