Portland leaders will hold a community gathering Tuesday evening at Green Memorial AME Zion Church to make a “commitment to peace” in response to last week’s police-involved shootings in Baton Rouge, Minnesota and Dallas.

The Rev. Kenneth Lewis, pastor of the African Methodist Episcopal congregation, will host the event, starting at 5:30 p.m. at 46 Sheridan St., with various municipal, community and religious leaders, according to a news release.

City officials anticipate an overflow crowd at the small church. Sheridan Street will be closed between Congress and Monument streets during the hourlong event. TV screens will be set up outdoors in case the church reaches capacity.

“Many people have come up to me to ask what do we do, where do we go, and how do we process this?” Lewis said in the release. “We are all in this together and we must come together to figure it out.”

Other speakers will include City Councilor Jill Duson, Police Chief Michael Sauschuck and Danielle Conway, dean of the University of Maine School of Law. Duson said she hopes Tuesday’s public demonstration of unity will trigger future community conversations.

“Portland is a strong community, and we must rely on that strength now so that we can have an open and heartfelt conversation in light of these events,” Duson said.

Sauschuck said members of his department are thankful for the support they’ve received from the public in the last week.

“We work each and every day to be a part of the solution for our community,” Sauschuck said Monday. “Tomorrow, it’s my hope that we will talk about a commitment to instilling hope, not hate, and to continued education and communication in our community.”

Bishop Steve Coleman, pastor at Williams Temple, Church of God in Christ, said “fear and anger has led to a lot of tension in our country, but if we come together and communicate regularly, then we can work to erase it.”

Police officers will allow local access to homes in the area. Neighborhood residents will be expected to adhere to emergency no-parking signs.

Kelley Bouchard can be contacted at 791-6328 or at:

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