Crowd packs middle school in Lexington to talk about racial issues
LEXINGTON, Va. (WSET) -- Around 150 people packed the Lylburn Downing Middle School in Lexington to talk about race and their community Wednesday night.
The Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia, Micheal Curry, is asking his faith leaders to bring people together for a racial discussions.
He's talking about creating a beloved community; pulling from Dr. Martin Luther King Junior's vision.
"A lot of people talking about flags, large flags in their communities, statues," Bishop Mark Bourlakas of Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia said.
Those things are much more urgent and on peoples minds since the events in Charlottesville.
The meeting centered mostly on institutional racism, according to Bourlakas,
"We started talking about civil discourse on race, we started talking about community policing and the use of police force, the confederate flags and monuments," he said.
Mohamed Kamara explained why he wanted to attend the meeting.
"As member of the diverse community, we have diverse elements right, living within the same community and whatever... we can learn from one another and live together in that community in peace and harmony," Kamara said.
There wasn't a specific question about the R. E. Lee Memorial Church in Lexington possibly changing its name, but Bourlakas did comment on it.
"We're apart of that struggle obviously because of the name of the church," he said.
We learned at the meeting there may be a vote soon on a name change.
"We'll continue to do that work my concern for them is they find a way to rebuild the community and love and harmony from within that church so they can be about their mission of the gospel," Bourlakas said.
The Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia plans to host other community discussion meetings throughout the next few months, like the one on Wednesday night.
There will be two more meetings the diocese plans on hosting. The next one will be in Roanoke on October 25th from 6:00-7:30 p.m. at the Northwest Community Center.
Another one will be held at Wytheville Community College on November 8 from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
For more details you can visit the Episcopal Diocese of Southwestern Virginia website.