FREE BBQ, hotdogs, burgers and recreational entertainment such as bounce houses, horses, live music and fire trucks will be a part of The Baptist Minister Alliance of Greater Rochester annual Bridging the Gap event at Helping Hand Missionary Baptist Church at 703 Joseph Avenue, on September 12, 2020.
It is enough room for social distancing; however, attendees are asked to wear their mask.
The event, which is held on the second Saturday of September, brings members of law enforcement from all over Monroe County together with community members in the City of Rochester for food and fellowship.
“It is about learning and getting to know one another,” said Rev. Donald Stevens, Pastor of Helping Hand Missionary Baptist Church and president of The Baptist Minister Alliance of Greater Rochester. "If I can use an analogy,” Pastor Stevens continued. “When you are sitting outside of the house, you can see it clearly, but it is not until someone invites you inside the house, you will never know completely what the home looks like. Bridging the Gap allows the community and law enforcement officials to see each other from a different side, a different point of view. When you break bread together, some people have the tendency to let their guards down. At the event, you are encouraged to sit down and talk with the officials and if you want, express some of your concerns. Everyone will be all ears,” he said.
In this tough time there is no one institution that can handle the complex problems that our communities are facing. What we need is a partnership.
“It is not a black and white thing, it is a good and evil, right versus wrong,” Pastor Stevens explained. “We live in an imperfect world and there is imperfection in all walks of life. You got pastors that just want to look out for themselves, just as you got some bad apples in police departments. But you do not smear the entire law enforcement institution because those few bad apples.”
“We cannot let this chance to come together pass because what happened to George Floyd was just pure evil,” he strongly suggested. “It should upset every human being that has a conscious and a moral compass. That is why we cannot let this chance pass. We must change the thinking and direction in this country. If we let this pass, shame on us.”
Bridging the Gap event at Helping Hand Missionary Baptist Church at 703 Joseph Avenue, on September 12, 2020.
Article by Rodney Brown, executive director of Brown Publishing LLC and Southwest Tribune Newspaper