After Chaotic Outburst, Rev. Delmar White of Topeka Urges Community to Come Together for Reconciliation

The Rev. Delmar White, a Topeka pastor, this week urged citizens, civic, religious and grassroots organizations to find common ground as they seek racial reconciliation and policy change in Topeka.
The Rev. Delmar White, a Topeka pastor, this week urged citizens, civic, religious and grassroots organizations to find common ground as they seek racial reconciliation and policy change in Topeka.

Rev. Delmar White: ‘At the end of the day, we miss that it’s not the issue of the color we call that gives validity as to which lives matter’

A Topeka pastor this week urged citizens, civic, religious and grassroots organizations to find common ground as they seek racial reconciliation and policy change in Topeka.

The Rev. Delmar White, pastor of New Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church, convened an event Friday at the church with the hope of creating a harmonious atmosphere in which concerned residents and local officials could come together for a conversation about racial tension prompted by police shootings in cities across the U.S.

Instead, the meeting ended abruptly as people from Lawrence who identified themselves as Black Lives Matter activists began yelling during remarks by Topeka Police Chief James Brown. Topeka ministers ended the meeting when order couldn’t be restored.

In retrospect, White said, he wished he had opened the event with remarks he had prepared about its purpose. He was instead scheduled to speak just before a planned question and answer session, which didn’t take place. White provided a reporter Tuesday with his prepared comments.

“At the end of the day, we miss that it’s not the issue of the color we call that gives validity as to which lives matter,” he said, referencing Black Lives Matter and Blue Lives Matter, its counterpart supporting law enforcement officers, “but rather we should look at the human condition that gets at the heart of the matter.”

Any time a life is devalued, White said, people must be willing to hear those who are crying out in pain and suffering injustice.

Not all law enforcement officers who have sworn to serve and protect violate that oath, nor are all citizens — particularly African-American citizens — criminals, White pointed out. He referenced the recent spate of shootings and homicides in the capital city, asking that the community also address the issue “that our sons and daughters are committing violent acts against one another right here in Topeka.”

Parents of homicide victims were among those attending Friday’s meeting, and White said he was troubled by some Black Lives Matter supporters arguing that those involved in the event weren’t recognizing the pain of those expressing their anger. That suggested others in the room weren’t also in pain, he said.

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Source: Topeka Capitol-Journal | Samantha Foster