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Newport News pastor: George Floyd's death demands justice

As protests grow, so do concerns about how the country can heal.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — In the aftermath of weekend demonstrations filled with passion, protesting and pleas, people wonder, where do we go from here.

Pastor Kevin Swann from Ivy Baptist Church in Newport News said solutions don't come easy but some things are clear. He said first of all, everyone needs to recognize that George Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis Police was wrong. 

"It's not just for African Americans to say that this is wrong, it has to be for everyone who watched that video to say that's not how you go about policing because that changes the narrative about how people think about all police officers and we know that not all police officers are bad people or do bad things."

Swann is the co-founder of the Virginia Unity Project and has spent the last several years working to help police bridge the gap between officers and the community. 

The Virginia Unity Project is a group of faith leaders and community members that addresses ways to achieve racial reconciliation. Part of the equation is having tough and uncomfortable conversations as a way to build a foundation of understanding.

"Not just conversations with people we're comfortable having conversations with, but from people who don't look like us."

Swann said the African-American community needs justice as it waits to see if the other officers present while Floyd died will be charged. So far, former officer, Derek Chauvin is charged with third-degree murder after placing his knee on Floyd's neck during an arrest for nine minutes.

"The fact that in many cases the officers are either not charged or not convicted for what we considered for what we consider to be crimes, Pastor Swann said.

VUP Discussion on race, America and the church

If you missed it, here is the panel discussion on race, America and the church with Pastor Telvin Howe, Pastor Fred Michaux, Pastor Freddy Villarreal and Pastor Kevin Swann at Emmaus Church HRVA. A MUCH needed conversation! The VA Unity Project plans to have more honest discussions like these in the future. Stay tuned!

Posted by VA Unity Project on Sunday, May 31, 2020

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