DALLAS – Dr. Brian Williams, a staff surgeon at Parkland Memorial Hospital, on Monday delivered a powerful and poignant diagnosis of the state of race relations in this country.
“I support you,” said Dr. Williams wearing scrubs and his white coat while addressing police relations with blacks. "I will defend you and I will care for you. That doesn’t mean I don’t fear you."
Williams made the remarks with fellow surgeons at Parkland Memorial Hospital as they recounted Thursday night’s horror and in the emergency room with frantic attempts to save the lives of police officers who were shot downtown.
“I think about it every day that I was unable to save those cops when they came here that night," he said. "It weighs on my mind constantly. I stand with the Dallas Police Department. I stand with law enforcement all over this country. This experience has been very personal for me.”
But with his voice quivering, Dr. Williams also offered shared a personal moment.
"This killing it has to stop,” he continued. “Black men dying and being forgotten and people retaliating against people sworn to defend us we have to come together and end all this."
"There are 51 states in the United States and the 51st state is the state of denial," said Rev. Frederick Haynes, Friendship West Baptist Church.
Law enforcement isn't the issue, both Dr. Williams and Rev. Haynes explained. The lack of open dialogue on race relations remains the root problem.
"The pain, the heartbreak, the grief that existed before Thursday - it's still here," Haynes said. "And the determination to do something about it is still here."
Sunday night after services, he gathered local leaders to look for answers.
"It's really sad that we can be so small to think that because I'm pro-Black Lives Matter that somehow I'm anti-Blue Lives Matter," the reverend said. "I'm not. I love everybody and I want all lives to matter."
But turning talk into action is always the hardest part. Rev. Haynes says it begins with economics, education, and listening to concern African-Americans are trying to express.
Among the problems, Dallas police have yet to clear Mark Hughes’ name, either privately or publicly. Police originally distributed an image of him as a suspect during the investigation Thursday night. They questioned him and released him but have yet to say he had nothing to do with the shooting death of five police officers.
There also remains a disparity in facilities, Haynes added. Dallas ISD said South Oak Cliff High School, an aging and deteriorating campus, didn't merit a new building while other schools in better condition and more affluent neighborhoods will get new buildings.
In addition, there remains little investment in minority neighborhoods, which among other things, create so-called food deserts where fresh items are scarce.
"If we really believe all lives matter and Blue Lives Matter, then next year at this time there ought to be some concrete changes Dallas can point to," Haynes said.
That's the challenge, he says, the city collectively faces.
President Obama is expected to set the tone on Tuesday when he, Vice President Joe Biden, and former President George W. Bush speak at an Interfaith Memorial Service at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas’ Arts District.