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How Do We Move Forward As A Society In Wake Of The Violence?

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- As the George Floyd protests continue in the Tri-State Area and around the country, community leaders are determined to end the cycle of violence and make a solid plan for change.

They protest out of pain. Frustration is building because certain steps have seemingly lead nowhere.

"The message so far has been skewed by the violence that we have seen," Pastor Gil Monrose told CBS2's Hazel Sanchez on Monday.

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Monrose is founder of The God Squad, a group of faith leaders in East Flatbush that for more than a decade has been working to bring the community and police together. He said to move forward, those who are suffering from structural racism cannot be ignored.

"We need to have a national day of mourning to recognize the lives, so that people's hurt can be felt. People want to be felt by our government, to say that we feel your pain and we're going to respond," Monrose said, adding, "And when people's pain are being recognized, people are definitely going to respond differently."

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Leading civil rights leaders and members of Congress held a virtual press conference echoing the call for a national day of mourning, and demanding federal action on police reforms.

"There's no singular policy that will fix this whatsoever," New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker said.

Hazel Dukes is president of the New York chapter of the NAACP.

Sanchez asked her "what is going to make this time different?"

"I think what's going to make this time different is the legislations that are going to be in place and the policies," Dukes said.

The NAACP is pushing for several reforms:

  • It wants the United Nations to classify the mistreatment of black people in the U.S. by the police as a human rights violation.
  • Federal legislation penalizing and/or prosecuting police who kill unarmed, non-violent, and non-resistant individuals in an arrest.

Several families of New Yorkers killed by police are also asking for the repeal of the police secrecy law, including Valerie Bell, mother of Sean Bell, who was gunned down by police on the morning before his wedding.

"They should be able to open up and show the city they're misconducts, because what they've done in the past could help lead to the killing of our people now," Valerie Bell said.

"I think the time is right. Today is a new starting point for us to move forward," Dukes added.

And the hope is a focus on the message -- not the mayhem -- may finally lead to change.

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