KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Pastor Darren Edwards woke up Wednesday morning able to breathe a sigh of relief.
The lead pastor at United Believers Community Church in Kansas City, Missouri, said he’s experienced so much pain, as have other Black Americans, during the year since George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis.
Tuesday’s guilty verdict began the healing process.
Edwards and others believe their work creating a just and equitable environment for Black Americans is only beginning.
Wednesday, Edwards and other faith and social leaders will meet with Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, police Chief Rick Smith and Jackson County, Missouri, Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker to discuss policy reforms.
Edwards’ group has previously advocated for an independent review board of complaints against officers, local control of KCPD, and the resignation of Chief Smith. The group also called for body cameras, which almost all officers now wear.
Thursday, Edwards says he will meet with the Fraternal Order of Police, the union which represents police officers in Kansas City and across the country.
“Really hammer down what police reform should look like, talk about the George Floyd Policing Act and how we can move that forward in Kansas City perhaps before it moves in Congress,” Edwards explained his goals for the meeting.
The pastor told 41 Action News he is optimistic moving forward.
“I have to carry hope,” he said. “One of the things I’ve learned from the George Floyd incident is our people, Black Americans, live off hope. Once we lose hope, we lose life. I just have to carry hope every day.”
Edwards and other pastors have created a group called “Getting to the Heart of the Matter” to build relationships between police and the community in order to reduce violence.