Local church leaders hold rally to strengthen community relationships

WICHITA, Kansas –  When nine people died in July at a racially motivated shooting at an African American church in Charleston, South Carolina, church leaders in Wichita took notice.

A rally was held Sunday night in hopes changes could be in the community to move beyond tolerating one another.

The Move Beyond Tolerance Rally saw several hundred people pack into the Century II Exhibition Hall.

Bishop Wade Moore with the Greater Wichita Ministerial League served as co-chairman for the event.

“We really don’t know each other, we don’t accept each other, we tolerate each other,” said Moore.

Moore’s goal was to move beyond tolerance toward acceptance.

“We’re going to go beyond just tolerating each other, but really beginning to work with each other,” said Moore.

People of all ages and backgrounds came together in support of the movement.

Several local leaders, professors, students and many more took to the stage to make their pledge to move beyond tolerance.

“I pledge to move beyond tolerance by listening to our youth as well as our elders,” said Lynn Rogers, USD 259 Board Member.

“I pledge to move beyond tolerance by answering the question what makes me intolerant,” added Leah Barnhard, Presidet of the Mid-Kansas Jewish Federation.

Officer Mike Johnson with the Wichita Police Department spoke about the message he took away from the event.

“Wichita is a diverse city and we hope all can join in this effort to understand one another, respect one another, have trust and love for one another,” said Johnson.

It’s connecting those diverse people that organizers say will help move the city forward.

“You know that we’re doing something by reaching into every segment of society and trying not to leave anyone out,” said Moore.

Moore says he hopes to continue having the rally every year the week before Thanksgiving.

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