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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Hundreds of community members gathered Thursday morning at the Greater Mount Olive Baptist Church. 

They were all there for a “Breaking Bread Event” hosted by the Oklahoma Justice Circle, leaders with the OKC Thunder, and faith leaders from across the metro. 

The group aims to tackle tough conversations about race and Oklahoma’s criminal justice system. 

“We’re still all people who are made and created in the image of God!” said Pastor Dr. John Reed.

That message was a major theme of Thursday’s breakfast. 

Leaders touching on our criminal justice reform. 

“Since it’s as bad as it is around here, by a lot of different measurements, that means we have some things to really work on,” said Pastor Jon Middendorf of Oklahoma City First Church of the Nazarene. 

Thursday’s event was hosted to push important conversations about, and between, black and white communities here in the metro. 

“They’re going to learn they have a lot more in common than they thought and that commonality is what’s going to build relationships,” said Lt. Wayland Cubit of the Oklahoma City Police Department. 

“We are in full recognition that we can have changed laws and changed policies, but until we have changed hearts none of that’s going to matter,” added Pastor Middendorf. 

Leaders from metro churches and Clay Bennet with the Oklahoma City Thunder were in attendance. 

About ten people sat around each table, all with specific questions to chat with one another about race and criminal justice reform. 

The goal was to build intentional friendships. 

Friendships that will last outside of the church walls. 

“Today let’s hope is the first step in starting to get us to talk about the uncomfortable conversation and just get it out of the way and realize we have a shared history that we can just build on together,” said  Lt. Cubit. 

You can learn more about the Oklahoma Justice Circle on their Facebook.

United Voice mission statement: A coalition of Oklahoma’s media outlets, brought together in a united voice to promote a healthy dialogue on race.