Community members in York discuss how to stop violence

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YORK, Pa. -- Recent shootings across the country have triggered the need for a community forum in York.

Dozens of people came out to Shiloh Baptist Church to talk about race relations and how to make the city safer.

Pastor Dr. Larry Walthour said, 47 years ago, York had its own period of racial unrest.

"Black blood and white blood was shed here in York. Lillie Belle Allen and Officer Henry Schaad both killed here in York. The aftermath of that made York the epicenter of racial and social unrest in this country," Walthour said.

Members of the community don't want it to happen again.

"In spite of that we wanted to call attention to what is happening here in York so what we hear happening nationally won't take place here," he said.

The forum was open for people to ask questions about racism to panelists.

Guy Carter, who lives in York, said, "I would like to listen to the perspectives that people bring here especially leaders in this community and I would like to bring some hope."

Panelists provided suggestions, like teaching kids about race at an early age, to help stop the violence in York. However, they know just discussing the suggestions doesn't mean things will change.

Erec Reed, a professor with York College, said, "Not enough people listen. They listen to wait for somebody to stop talking so they can talk or they listen to find the weaknesses in other people's arguments so that they can win. Nobody's really listening to find out what the other person says."

But community members do think talking about how to do that is a start.

"There are a lot of different dynamics to what we're seeing but we've got to have this conversation about race," Walthour said.

City police were not at the meeting, but Walthour plans to meet with them separately to discuss what changes can be made to make the city safer.