KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When Derek Chauvin was found guilty of murdering George Floyd, the verdict brought mixed feelings for many in the Black community.
"We can pause and rejoice, but we have to keep our eye on the prize and say there's still more to be done," Rev. Gordon Glenn, the pastor at Grant Chapel AME Church in Wichita, said.
Glenn lives in Overland Park with his family. He's lived in the Kansas City area for more than two decades and has pastored all over the area. His wife is a pastor in Independence.
Glenn has had these conversations with his congregation.
"I'm involved in a historically Black church, African Methodist Episcopal church is what AME stands for," he said. "We've been around for a long time, and we've seen the arc of history, and I serve a congregation of members who have seen that long arc of history as well. They've been around for a long time and they see stuff and they're like 'Mm-hmm, I've seen that before, I know how this movie ends.'"
But Glenn brings a unique perspective to his church. He and other faith leaders took a use-of-force seminar with the Lenexa Police Department in February 2020, going through scenarios where they had to quickly decide whether to use deadly force.
"I try to caution to jump to any conclusions," Glenn said. "That's what I learned and I try to talk about is to say, 'There's two sides to this,' sometimes," Glenn said. "Other times, just like the prosecutor said in the Chauvin case, believe what your eyes showed you."
Glenn says he tries to foster open communication and listen to his congregation's anxieties, but he also tries to lead members to avenues for making a difference.
"Where you can direct people to different places where they can be involved for change, to be in situations where I'm fostering good relations between police officers and the public," Glenn said. "To be seen doing that goes a long way."
Armed with his new perspective and understanding, Glenn said police reform remains urgent and he continues to talk with police departments about how to root out racism in policing.
"What's next?" Glenn said. "There's still much much more work to be done."