Brown, Coalition for Life Equality discuss Baltimore police incident

PHILADELPHIA, May 5 – State Rep. Vanessa Lowery Brown, D-Phila., and the Coalition for Life Equality held a news conference Monday at the Enterprise Center to discuss recent events in Baltimore surrounding the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. 


Brown was joined at the podium by state Reps. Ronald G. Waters, D-Phila./Delaware and Mark Cohen, D-Phila; state Sen. Anthony Williams, the Rev. Robert Shine, president of the Pennsylvania Statewide Coalition of Black Clergy, Paula Peebles, president of the National Action Network of Pennsylvania, Rochelle Bilal, president of the Guardian Civic League, attorney Michael Coard and Rev. Dr. Steve Avinger, senior pastor, Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church, Philadelphia.


"What we as a nation have come to clearly recognize following the days of Ferguson is that the level of trust between the community and police is virtually nonexistent or tenuous at best, particularly in communities of color," Brown said.


"However, the protests, fervor and collective frustration that we all witnessed last week in Baltimore is the byproduct of something deeper than just a lack of trust.


"What many in the city of Baltimore and other communities of color suffer from is an utter lack of investment and commitment by their local, statewide and federal governing bodies.


"If we take nothing else away from the death of the late Mr. Gray, it should be that we explore the prospect of making more hands-on investments in those communities classified as at-risk or disadvantaged. To do this, we need more people of color in elected positions as well as serving on other positions of power such as boards, commissions and panels.


"We are presented with an extraordinary opportunity to take this tragedy and have it serve as the springboard for positive and meaningful change in our nation. We owe it to Freddy to not allow it to pass us by."