I know that I am not alone in saying that the last two weeks have been very tough for all of us. The loss of life in Minneapolis, Baton Rouge and Dallas has once again caused Americans to say where are we in finding solutions to stemming the loss of life.
There are many forms of action that need to occur in order for us to continue to make progress in improving the relationship between law enforcement and the African American community when it comes to policing. I don’t think that any single individual can take on all of those initiatives and action plans, but what I have seen over the past two weeks in Richmond is an increase in honest, open dialogue between communities and law enforcement, citizens of all races and backgrounds, civic and community leaders, the clergy and government leaders.
I have seen citizens from underserved communities express that they sincerely appreciate the work of law enforcement and that they want to work to see it continue to improve. It was refreshing to see that, during a community meeting at MLK Middle School, Richmond Police Chief Alfred Durham was greeted with applause for the success that he and the Richmond Police have achieved through engaged community policing.
I have seen amazing transformation when people from different backgrounds gather together in a common place to share their stories, experiences, fears, prejudices, misunderstandings and honestly discuss their true feelings, thoughts and emotions. Continuous dialogue, open minds, open hearts, empathy and understanding are the seeds for plans, execution and real change.
I hope we all make a decision to have those honest conversations.