Paterson faith leaders affiliated with Faith in Passaic County, a local chapter of Faith in New Jersey (members of Faith in Action and LIVE FREE national networks) sent a letter to Mayor Andre Sayegh and the Paterson City Council urging immediate prioritization on care for the community through public safety and to support the demands of Najee Seabrooks’ family.
Mayor Andre Sayegh and the Paterson City Council,
The Paterson clergy community has been devastated by the loss of Najee Seabrooks, an important community leader with the Paterson Healing Collective in the effort to reduce gun violence in our neighborhoods and provide the necessary healing in our streets. We reviewed the video, released by the attorney general’s office, of the Paterson Police Department killing Najee Seabrooks. The use of force and escalation was unnecessary; there could have been multiple measures taken by police officers to save the life of Najee Seabrooks. No member of our community should die simply because they are going through a mental health crisis.
Each of you were elected by our community to ensure the Paterson government protects our constitutional rights, improves the quality of lives, and supports our human agency and dignity. Your silence in the midst of Najee Seabrooks’ killing is disturbing and further creates division in a community that has a history of rightfully distrusting law enforcement and feeling our elected officials prioritize their own interests over the interest of the people. As faith leaders, we are called to stand against injustice and be a prophetic voice to remind our public officials that they work for the community and have a responsibility to hear the cries of the people, especially the family of Najee Seabrooks.
We want your top priority to be the safety and care of the Paterson community and that is why we are in solidarity with the family of Najee Seabrooks’ demands for the establishment of a community-based non-carceral crisis response team staffed by unarmed civilians. We demand the establishment of a community civilian review board with disciplinary authority and call for the termination of all actors responsible for the careless killing of Najee Seabrooks. By taking action to advance these issues, you show the Paterson community you care about reducing violence and prioritizing the voices of our community demanding justice for Najee. It is important our community no longer feels neglected by your leadership.
In the following days, we will be reaching out to schedule a meeting to follow up on the demands of the Seabrooks family. As faith leaders in the Paterson community, it is our top priority to ensure that all of God’s people are cared for, treated with dignity, and able to thrive.
Rev. Della Capers, Victory Temple
Rev. Dr. Sean C. Evans, Sr., Second Baptist Church
Apostle Keith Carey, Deliverance Holy Tabernacle
Rev. Dr. Weldon McWilliams IV, Christ Temple Baptist Church
Elder Corey Teague, New Generation Healing & Deliverance Tabernacle Ministries
Rev. Beverly Pearson, Second Baptist Church
Rev. Dr. William Henry, Everlasting Life Foundation Ministry
Rev. Milena Eason, Grace of God Church
Rev. Dr. Thomas Patrick Farrar, Gilmore Tabernacle Look & Live Ministry
Rev. Anthony Capers, Victory Temple
Rev. Kevin Greenwood, Morning Star Baptist Church
I don’t understand why all of the Ministers in Paterson wouldn’t want to be a part of this we need all of the participation we can get so come together. We need unity not division.
My name is Mark Carter. Najee is my nephew. We really do need the church to be involved with keeping unity in our city. The church has always been the backbone of the black community
In the civil rights era the church was at the forefront of all civil unrest. Martin Luther King and the church was the first to bring the community together. What I’m saying is thank you .
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