African American leaders, teens, police join together in wake of - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

African American leaders, teens, police join together in wake of Robinson shooting

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SUN PRAIRIE (WKOW)-- Friday marks a week since 19-year-old Tony Robinson was shot and killed by a Madison police officer, and in Sun Prairie, the community gathered to grieve and to talk about how to move forward.

Teens, African American community leaders and Madison Police Chief Mike Koval joined hands and prayed. At the forefront of everyone's mind, the tragedy of last Friday's shooting and how it has intensified conversations about race.

Bishop Harold Rayford, the president of the African American Council of Churches of Greater Madison, says it's important for young people to express how they're feeling.

“We need them to be engaged in the process,” Bishop Harold said. “We need them to march.”

But Bishop Rayford says the forum was also to push forward conversations about racial disparities and find ways to increase opportunity for young African Americans.

“If we start to work together, I think that's the only way we're going to see a difference.”

Madison Police Chief Mike Koval also spoke to the crowd.

“The message is thank you for giving us an opportunity to begin the difficult role of healing and reconciliation,” Chief Koval said.

Organizations, like the NAACP, Big Brothers, Big Sisters and the Urban league, pledge to work together.

“I think the key is collaboration,” Bishop Harold said. “In the past, we've had boots on the ground but everybody has been working in their own trench.” .

And though healing may be a long process, Bishop Harold says he hopes people have faith.

“I want hearts to feel hope,” he said. “I don't want people to feel like this is hopeless battle.”

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