CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. -- A local pastor responded to a week of violence, police-involved shootings and protests with a prayer with a group of Chesterfield County police officers.
Travis Jones is an associate pastor at the Cornerstone Assembly of God Church in North Chesterfield.
The pastor said after a tough week for the African American community and police he wanted to do something to make a difference.
He said he was inspired to pray with the officers after seeing the reaction to police-involved shooting in Tulsa and Charlotte on social media.
“I said to myself… I don’t want to just be somebody to just post something about it and be angry about it,” he said. “I want my heartbreak to lead towards action.”
His first action was calling a Chesterfield Police officer who attends his church.
“I asked him could we do something together to bridge this gap between the African American population and the police department.”
So that’s what they did.
Wednesday, Jones prayed with a group of Chesterfield officers. He prayed for their safety, their families, and their service to the community.
Jones said he believes the prayer was an important step to bridge the gap between the African American community and police departments.
“Have we had a conversation with a cop? Do we see what they go through? Has a cop had a conversation with an African American young man?” asked Jones. “I think if a conversation can start on both sides, maybe we can make some steps towards progress.”
He said he believes another step would be having more minorities on the Chesterfield Police force, which is predominantly white.
“I believe that part of the solution is inviting people from other nationalities… African Americans, Hispanics, and I believe and I know Chesterfield County is open to that idea,” he added.
Jones said everyone must come together as a community and create a better dialog; Change must start at the local level, inside our communities.
“We can’t control what happened in Tulsa, we can’t control what happened in Charlotte, but we can control what happens on our street, in our schools, and in our community.”
He also has a message to young people who are growing up through this time of turmoil.
“Have conversations with cops and community leaders,” he said. “Be a part of the change and not the complaining that we hear all the time.”