With the St. Louis County grand jury decision not to indict Officer Darren Wilson in the shooting death of unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo., the American Conference on Diversity supports reforms that would help end unnecessary police shootings from occurring in the future.

The organization would like this tragic incident to increase public attention on the broader issues of racial profiling, systemic bias, and the importance of STANDING TALL to shift the paradigm of mistrust between law enforcement and Black communities. ACOD urges several reforms. These include:

►Recruiting police officers and law-enforcement leaders who mirror the racial and ethnic demographics of communities;

►Requiring police officers to attend anti-bias training;

►Conducting ongoing civic-engagement events in order for law enforcement to interact with and understand the challenges residents face.

It will take an unprecedented effort by both leaders and citizens to foster trust so there’s greater appreciation for the role law police officers have to protect and serve. Now is the time to STAND TALL to take action, learn, and lead — especially when witnessing a pattern of discrimination. Now is the time to channel energies fueled by anger and disbelief to re-calibrate the social-justice scales for people who are unnecessarily murdered. Ferguson’s Michael Brown, Sanford’s Trayvon Martin, Staten Island’s Eric Garner, and Brooklyn’s Akai Gurley are no longer here to defend themselves. We need to STAND TALL in their honor and support the work of the American Conference on Diversity to bridge the gap of mistrust throughout New Jersey communities