"Institutional and structural racism undermines good people and good intentions." That's according to Reverend Clark Olson Smith, and other faith leaders in the Quad Cities, who announced yesterday they're joining together to help end racial inequality in law enforcement.
Smith is a pastor at All Saints Lutheran Church in Davenport, and the Caucus Chair for Quad Cities Interfaith, which has formed a coalition of 33 clergy and faith leaders from different religions. Yesterday, they sent a statement to local police departments, naming specific ways to fix racial profiling.
Smith says the Faith Leaders Caucus is focusing on five things: prioritizing community policing, ending racial profiling, requiring racial bias training, recruiting officers of color, and creating independent civilian boards, to review complaints about police conduct.
He hopes local police will join the Quad Cities Interfaith coalition, which includes leaders from Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Unitarian faiths, and members of the NAACP.
The Faith Leaders Caucus held its first press conference yesterday at United Neighbors in Davenport. Later in the evening, the Boots on the Ground Coalition held its second meeting.