The Ontario County Justice Coalition held its first annual dinner. Members of law enforcement met with Geneva community leaders to discuss the stressors between law enforcement and the community.

GENEVA — The Ontario County Justice Coalition (OCJC) held their first annual dinner to honor United Christian Leadership Ministry President, Reverend Lewis W. Stewart III.

The event was emceed by Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church Reverend Donald Golden as interfaith and law enforcement leaders from across region the county joined together.

“I think it went exceptionally well,” said Ontario County Justice Coalition President Juanita Aiken. “Without everybody coming to the table and having their voices heard we wouldn’t stand a chance. We need everyone together for a positive impact.”

Ontario County Sheriff Kevin Henderson met with members of the Ontario County Justice Coalition last year during the campaign trail, and continues to follow up with the non-profit organization.

“We’re working and discussing some concerns and differences," said Sheriff Henderson. "This shows that we live in a great community.”

One of the issues that the OCJC is lobbying for is equal treatment from law enforcement between local Genevans and college students.

“We’re trying to understand why kids from Hobart are treated different then local kids from Geneva. Local Genevans are not regarded as persons of value by police if they stay local," said Aikens. "What I’m learning and what everyone is experiencing is that children that stay in Geneva ultimately find themselves involved with the criminal justice system.”

Aikens started OCJC in Feb 2018 and plans to attend court proceedings with hopes to meet with State Supreme Court Justice Craig Doran.

Henderson along with Canandaigua Police Chief Stephen Hedworth and City of Geneva Police Chief Michael Passalacqua were presented plaques that included a quote by Reverend Stewart that read: "All men and women desire freedom and justice. If there is no remedy, and there are denied then the only alternative is rebellion. God is our carpenter in the struggle for freedom, justice and human rights."

“What we in law enforcement are trying to do is get folks together in a room and focus on the future,” said Henderson. “We’re working and discussing some concerns and differences. We are trying to bring it to the forefront.”

OCJC meets on the first Saturday of every month at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church and all are welcome to attend. Check the OCJC Facebook page for details.