BINGHAMTON, NY – 49 clergy members from the Episcopal Diocese of Central New York have signed an open letter supporting an ongoing commitment to collaborative police reform.

The letter to the police chiefs and mayors of 8 Upstate cities, including Binghamton, also condemned police violence against communities of color.

One of the signatories, the Reverend Elizabeth Ewing of Christ Episcopal Church Binghamton, also testified earlier this month during a virtual steering committee meeting of the Binghamton Police Reform and Reinvention Committee.

Ewing believes a lack of trust and relationships leads to interactions based on fear and suspicion rather than mutual concern.

She says a key teaching of the church is to love our neighbors as ourselves.

“We also made our baptismal promises to seek and serve Christ in all persons, to respect the dignity of every human being and to seek justice and peace. So, on that level, I would like to make sure that when a police officer engages with anyone they feel the need to engage with, seeing first a fellow human being,” says Ewing.

In her testimony to the collaborative, Ewing drew a distinction between her experiences as rector of the downtown church and as a member of a multi-racial family.

She says the church has had positive experiences with law enforcement when they’ve sought their help.

However, she’s seen police treat her Black son with suspicion when out walking in the mostly white neighborhood where they live.