Members and friends of ADL’s Coalition for Mutual Respect met with Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner to talk about their concerns about the city and what’s going on in the world. More than 80 clergy attended the breakfast meeting at St. Paul’s United Methodist Church.
The Mayor spoke about what’s happening in the city and answered questions from clergy about issues that mattered to them, including social justice, feeding the hungry, and solving numerous city problems. Regarding social justice and the kind of city Mayor Turner wants Houston to be, he said we should achieve “justice for everyone, and not just for some.”
Mayor Turner sounded like a realistic cheerleader for the city. “This is a great city whose best days are ahead,” he said. “It is diverse and diversified. When you drive around you can see a growing, dynamic, vibrant, thriving city. “But we are not without our problems..We are diverse, but we need to be inclusive,” he added.
Regarding race relations, the Mayor was cautious. “The flashpoint can happen in any city,” he said. “What matters is what we do out ahead of the flashpoints. When they happen, if we are connected and we are working with people, they will know us and trust us. Police now have body cameras. We’re engaging in community policing and we need more training for our police. They need to understand the communities they serve.”
Addressing some of Houston’s homeless, under-served individuals and the LGBT community, Mayor Turner said, “We are all a part of this city, and we all have a right to be part of this city.” His calls for inclusiveness were met with nods and smiles.
ADL extends special thanks to St. Paul’s United Methodist Church and TRUTH, an organization that brings interfaith leaders together through travel and dialogue, for co-hosting the event with ADL’s Coalition for Mutual Respect, which unites diverse clergy in dialogue and action.