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Local community leader Reverend Darrell Cummings was in shock Thursday night as he watched the peaceful protest in Dallas turn violent.
Reverend Cummings said the bottom line is no matter the color of our skin, we are all Americans and deserve respect.
Cummings is a well-known community leader who gives back any chance he gets. He said in his over 20 years of living in the Ohio Valley, he has experienced racism himself.
“In my time we’ve had our sign broken into and changed from ‘morning worship’ to ‘nigger worship.’ My life has been threatened by signs put on our door by the KKK, saying that we were doing too much,” said Rev. Cummings. “We’ve had a building that was burned down mysteriously the KKK said they were going to burn it down and it did burn down. So these do happen, they are real, these are not fantasies of people this is not paranoia, it does happen. But we’re moving in the right direction there is hope, I think there’s good people both black and white that don’t want to see these things happen.”
Cummings said we don’t live in a perfect world in Wheeling or across our nation and biases exist, the challenge now is how our nation reacts. He believes the majority of policemen and women are good and should be honored for putting their lives on the line.
“I was in a meeting with our police chief here in Wheeling and he was talking this was before any of these incidents, but he was talking about more training is needed and more relationship with the community,” said Cummings.
With that relationship comes public reaction and Cummings said a violent one against the police, or anyone, is not the answer.
“All lives matter. Black included, White, Mexican, Chinese, everybody’s life matters and they deserve to be protected and they deserve to be honored and they deserve to be treated with respect,” said Cummings. “Let the call go out for peace. Non-violent action is what is needed, and I believe that we can make this happen.”