Black Lives Matter forum aimed to get ahead of violence

Black Lives Matter forum aimed to get ahead of violence

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Ferguson and Baltimore may be hundreds of miles away from Charlotte, but some say it could come home to the Queen City in an instant.

Friday evening, The Exodus Foundation hosted a "Black Lives Matter" forum to discuss the faith community's role in fighting police brutality and the chaos that often comes along with it.

The panel included community leaders from across the country, including Reverend Starsky Wilson, co-chair of the Ferguson Commission.

"There are some folks that suggest that Ferguson may already be in Charlotte," Wilson said.

Wilson told WBTV he sees striking similarities between his hometown and Charlotte, along with countless others across the country.

"Some of the challenges are here, whether you're talking about relationships that need to be nurtured between the community and police. Whether you're talking about police involved shootings," Wilson said.

He's referring to the case of Jonathan Ferrell, who was shot and killed by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police officer Randall Kerrick two years ago.

In the same amount of months, Kerrick's trial will begin and a jury will decide whether to convict him of voluntary manslaughter, which is why Wilson says Charlotte needs to be on high alert.

"I think we can't be too confident about us having this under control," Wilson said.

Getting ahead of in the moment reactions is what Exodus Foundation President and Founder, Madeline Mcclenney-Saddler, says the forum is all about.

"We want to be proactive and talk about ways to respond to these issues that are sustainable," Mcclenney-Saddler said.

She says Charlotte's places of worship, no matter what religion, are key to keeping the peace.

"We need everyone. White, black, Latino, across racial and denominational lines,"Mcclenney-Saddler said.

The Exodus Foundation works to stop the flow of African-Americans going into prison.

The panel was apart of their Restoration, Redemption and Re-entry annual conference.

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