Tulsa Leaders: Accountability, Trust, Patience Key To Preventing Violence

Friday, July 8th 2016, 11:09 pm
By: News On 6

Local church and government leaders came together tonight, hoping to prevent the kind of violence that’s hit other cities.

Three main things were discussed at the meeting - accountability, trust, and patience. But getting everyone on the same page is still a long way off.

For Reverend Geoffrey Brewster, part of the solution is ending the negative assumptions we have of certain neighbors or people in general.

"How do we change that? We change that by being intentional about building relations and checking assumptions," he said.

For Tulsa Councilman Jack Henderson, it's knowing how to listen, and maybe relearning how to listen, that will make the difference for people on all sides of the issues.

Henderson said, "When we listen to each other, then we can learn. Until we agree that we need to listen, there is no learning."

But, while many area leaders praised the people of Tulsa for not responding with violent outbursts, for some, that doesn't mean our area is any better off.

"We have race issues in Tulsa. Tulsa has a history of race problems," Brewster said.

That’s why accountability is key. State senator Kevin Matthews said people have to know if police officers do wrong to them they can trust that the officer will have to answer for it.

"Because we know when individuals are wrong, they have to be accountable as well," he said.

Mayor-elect GT Bynum says trust is key, but the learning curve has to go both ways.

"Citizens need to know the types of things an officer deals with all day long," Bynum said. “An officer needs to be reminded of what it's like to be a citizen and have an encounter with a police officer."

After the emergency city council meeting, leaders went to Morning Star Baptist Church to pray and continue the process of unity to overcome the tremendous obstacle.

Henderson said, "Bringing people together to understand what other people face."

One thing both city leaders and pastors agreed on was the need to ensure a continuing dialog to discuss racial issues and police interactions.

Bynum said he plans to have routine community meetings once he takes office, next year, to keep the discussion going.