Mount Calvary Baptist Church is planning several events over the next week, including forums officials will discuss policing and criminal justice in the black community, and events to bring people together.
The first event is being held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 20, at the church at 507 Plum St. The event, “Uniting for Change with Law Enforcement,” will be a discussion about policing that will include officials from the Owensboro Police Department and Daviess County Sheriff’s Department.
“We are trying to do something that brings change,” said the Rev. Andre Bradley, pastor of Mount Calvary. “... We are just looking to have some conversations that create change.”
The event is the first of the “We Are The Change” events being held by the church. All of the events will be on the church’s lawn, weather permitting.
Demonstrators in Owensboro recently protested downtown against the killings of George Floyd in Minneapolis and Breonna Taylor in Louisville by police officers. A rally organized by the NAACP and other groups was also recently held downtown at Smother’s Park.
Saturday’s forum will be about policing in the law enforcement community and “how to build a better relationship” between the black community and law enforcement, Bradley said.
The event will be attended by Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain and the department’s chief deputy, Maj. Barry Smith. OPD will be represented by Maj. JD Winkler, a member of the department’s command staff, and potentially others.
“We plan on going and answering any questions the community has,” Smith said Friday afternoon.
Having conversations on issues is “what God wants us to do,” Bradley said.
“Every police officer is not a bad police officer, the same way everyone pulled over … shouldn’t be demonized,” he said.
On Saturday, June 27, the church will host “Uniting for Changes with Legal Professionals, beginning at 10 a.m. Bradley said officials from the County Attorney and Commonwealth’s Attorney’s offices, defense attorneys and other lawyers will be invited to participate.
The forums are open to the public. The church is also planning two additional events for the community at large.
On Friday, June 26, the church’s youth group will hold a “Fueling the Change Cook-Out” at the church and will provide free meals between 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.
On Sunday, June 28, the church will hold a “Praying for Change Walk,” a 1.1-mile walk that begins at the church at 11:30 a.m., after Sunday services.
“We are going to work to make some change, or at least start the conversation,” Bradley said. People need to talk about the issues of racism and discrimination for things to improve, he said.
“You can’t put a Band-Aid on a wound and expect it to heal,” he said. People don’t want to go back to the way things were before the nationwide and worldwide demonstrations prompted by Floyd’s and Taylor’s killings began, he said.
“Normal is broken. What was once ‘normal’ is broken, and was never normal,” Bradley said. “We are working to make equality for those who have been marginalized.”
James Mayse, 270-691-7303, firstname.lastname@example.org, Twitter: @JamesMayse