- Associated Press - Sunday, December 14, 2014

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) - Members of a western Michigan church have been urged to begin a community dialogue on race relations amid nationwide demonstrations about disparities in the criminal justice system.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports (https://bit.ly/1xilpHD ) that Mt. Zion Church of God in Christ in Muskegon took part in “Black Lives Matter Sunday.”

Many predominantly black churches across the country were to hold special services on the theme “black lives matter.” The movement is a response to grand jury decisions not to prosecute white police officers in the August shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and the July chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York City.

The Rev. Duane Bennett of Mt. Zion Church of God in Christ told about 70 people Sunday that the issues should be addressed, but without the violence that have marred demonstrations in Ferguson and other cities.

“You have to talk about it and talking about it does not mean you’re perpetuating a negative scenario, but there’s a situation that needs to be addressed,” he said. “If it’s never addressed, it can never be helped and it can never be corrected.”

Thousands of demonstrators marched Saturday on the U.S. Capitol in Washington where they were urged to keep pressing for changes to the criminal justice system.

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Information from: The Muskegon Chronicle, https://www.mlive.com/muskegon

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