Tens of thousands of people have participated in demonstrations against racism and police brutality in the wake of George Floyd’s death in police custody, but the Trump campaign pointed out there may be a much more effective way to actually build bridges between law enforcement and the black community if true change is to occur—and it has nothing to do with marching.
Wanting to address recent officer-involved shootings in July of 2016, the Kansas Black Lives Matter group had planned a protest. After talking with the Wichita Police Department, however, they decided to ditch the demonstration and instead have a cookout that would bring the two sides together.
From 2016 but a good example of what we need more of:— Matt Wolking (Text TRUMP to 88022) (@MattWolking) June 15, 2020
Kansas Black Lives Matter holds picnic with police instead of protesthttps://t.co/1PN85oTeaa
Officers served hamburgers and hot dogs and played basketball with members of the community. Kids jumped in bounce-houses and blew bubbles. Officers and the community even danced together.
But, the tone wasn’t about food and fun. It was an opportunity to have difficult conversations aimed at change.
Jarvis Scott, a black man who sat at a table with a Hispanic man and a white man, next to Lt. Travis Rakestraw, told The The Wichita Eagle it was the first time since 1992 he’d sat down with a police officer. The other two said it was their first time sitting with an officer. (USA Today)
The police chief called on other police departments and communities to host a similar event.
“It takes two parties to make a healthy relationship,” Chief Gordon Ramsay said.