The Rev. Kylon Middleton, senior pastor of Mount Zion AME Church, is taking the helm of Charleston’s Illumination Project as the effort to build trust between police and the community is being held up as a national model.
Consultant Margaret Seidler, who has facilitated the project since its 2015 inception with sponsorship from the Charleston Police Fund, handed over day-to-day responsibilities to Middleton but will remain involved.
At a news conference with Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg, Middleton said the Illumination Project remains intent on its goal of uniting the community and avoiding any slip back into “historical patterns of apathy.”
The project initially sought to build on the goodwill shown in the aftermath of the racially motivated massacre of nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church.
“We cannot just create a strategy … and put it on a shelf,” said Middleton, who was best friends with the Rev. Clementa Pinckney, one of those killed in the church shooting. “It must become a living, breathing part of what we do here in our city.”
The Illumination Project adopted 86 strategies for change following dozens of listening sessions on topics such as hidden biases and perspectives on policing. Around 80 of those are in some stage of implementation, Seidler said.
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SOURCE: Angie Jackson
The Post & Courier