RIO GRANDE VALLEY, Texas – While it may seem like we’re in dark days, community leaders are thinking of ways to bridge the gap between racial disparity here in the RGV.
Throughout history the black church has been a sacred place for people to recharge and find hope.
“During slavery or any other time, when I come to church the holy spirit kicks in and God gives me strength through him to let me know everything is going to be alright,” said Pastor Michael Smith.
Throughout the country massive protests are shedding light on police brutality and systemic racism. A lot of pain built up over centuries.
Here in the Valley, Hispanics make up the majority of the population, however, there’s still a percentage of black people calling the Valley home. Michael Smith is the bishop-elect and chairmen on the Juneteenth board.
KVEO’S Jeremiah Wilcox sat down for a one on one at his church in McAllen to discuss where do we go from here.
“I just had a meeting at the mayor’s office as a matter of fact and one thing we discussed is we feel like there should be some education. We need to educate others about our history and we need to be taught their history and we should be able to come together and celebrate our history along with others,” he said.
The key is communication. Smith is dedicating his time to bring the community closer.
“Sometimes you have to go through some things to tear the walls down. I believe what we’re going through now the walls are going to be torn down,” he said.
UTRGV head basketball coach Lew Hill tells me shining a spotlight on the issue of disparity is one step in the right direction.
“You got to talk you have to listen to the youth especially and feel their anger and hear their pain and then you have to talk to people that’s not like you,” he said.
He posted on social media coaches and staff at the school are having conversations with students to use this tragedy as a teachable moment.
“We have had some change right, we’re ever to do more now than we ever could do before but we still have a long way to go.,” said Hill.
Bishop elect smith said the Juneteenth celebration theme this year is perfecting unity.