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Black Lives Matter Tampa holds community meeting in wake of recent violence

Friday, July 8th at 7 PM, St. Paul Lutheran Church
Posted at 3:17 PM, Jul 08, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-08 18:39:51-04

In the wake of recent shootings of black men and the shooting deaths of five police officers in Dallas, BLM Tampa is holding a meeting to work to promote a community dialogue about how to stop further violence.

"We have become polarized now in a dangerous way," said Donna Davis, BLM Tampa Chapter Lead.

Davis said she is deeply shaken, not only by two recent shooting deaths of two black men by police, but also following an attack in Dallas in which five police officers were killed and seven others and two civilians were wounded. She said more violence is not the answer, one of the core concepts being discussed at Friday's meeting.

"Escalation does not achieve that," Davis said. "So we're in no way endorsing taking any delight in the tragedy in Dallas last night."

However she knows tensions across the country, and Tampa Bay area, are reaching a boiling point. Thursday night, ABC Action News captured tense moments as protesters blocked a street in Sarasota following the shooting deaths of two black men.

The community dialogue meeting is set to begin Friday, July 8 at 7 PM at St. Paul Lutheran ELCA, located at 5103 N. Central Avenue. More than 300 people are already RSVP'd on Facebook.

Other community leaders are hoping to spread a message of peace.

"Out of fear, people reach for hate," said  Reverend Doctor Russell Meyer of St. Paul Lutheran Church, where the community meeting is set to be held. "And we need to be very active in saying the rhetoric of hate has no place here."

Davis is now encouraging empathy for all of those hurting, and said all are welcomed in this space.
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