From the Editors

Local transformations

Last month, police in the north Dallas suburb of McKinney were called to a pool party involving white and black youths. In a video of the scene that went viral, a white police officer is shown shoving a 14-year-old black girl to the ground, using his knees to pin her there, and then pointing his gun at and cursing other youths. It seemed like a movie shown too many times before—one in which white police officers use excessive force on unarmed people of color.

 Lethal incidents in Ferguson, Baltimore, Staten Island, and elsewhere have prompted a national conversation on race and policing—but more is needed than a conversation. What’s needed is a spiritual and political transformation. That transformation is most likely to come from local efforts rather than national strategies.

In the wake of the incident in McKinney, a local network of pastors known as the McKinney Shepherds quickly went to work to connect educators, police, and government officials. The group, which already had been talking about issues of race, organized prayer sessions and meetings with people of all races. Pastors met with the mayor and police chief to express their frustrations, and officials promised a candid investigation of the incident. About 100 pastors met at the McKinney Police Department to pray for their community and the police.