CORNING – Several communities around the country are discussing if and how they’ll undergo reform with their local law enforcement agencies in the wake of the murder of African American George Floyd in Minneapolis last month.
History, like the Crusades and the uprising of ISIS, suggests that racism will still exist even after police experience change because an idea can’t be completely eradicated from a person’s mind. WNYNewsNow brought that very point up Tuesday with Congressman Tom Reed during his weekly conference call with reporters.
Reed explains that the best way to combat the racial divide is for leaders and citizens to talk to each other and listen to what everyone is feeling and experiencing.
“You do what I think true leaders have been doing and continue to do and do what Martin Luther King inspired,” Reed said. “We have all races come together, that we force some of the dialogue.”
Reed says the Problem Solvers Caucus recently met with the Congressional Black Caucus to hold what he says is the “most passionate” conversation he’s participated in while serving in Congress.
“We each come from these issues, from our own perspective,” Reed said. “We don’t walk in other people’s shoes, other people have a view and an experience that is unique to them. But what we can try to do is, each and every day, challenge ourselves by truly listening and trying to walk in another person’s shoes, knowing we’ll never be able to walk in their footsteps, but we can do the best we can to try to understand that perspective and where that is coming from.”
Reed adds he attended a protest in Elmira last week. He says between 30-40 people in attendance were against “what I am supposedly am as an elected official.”
“Because I stood and had the conversation with them, I think it hopefully set the tone, especially with one young man from SUNY Binghamton, that, you know what, you don’t have to prejudge each and every person,” Reed stated. “Take the time to actually listen and talk to each other. That’s going to take 24/7, 365 commitment from leaders that are going to bring people together and really try to understand that each of us comes to this from a different perspective.”
“Once you start acknowledging those shortcomings, as well as the positive things you can bring to the conversation, the stronger we will be, and the sooner that this divide will be healed and we will be unified as a country.”