Kan. #BLM Group Breaks Bread With Cops
A Black Lives Matter group based in Wichita, Kansas originally planned a protest Sunday, but decided to have a cookout with police instead, USA Today reports.
Following two recent high profile officer-involved shootings and acts of violence, the Kansas sector of the movement wanted to voice concern. But after a long discussion with the Wichita Police Department, the group decided to cancel the Sunday protest and instead unite with officers for the First Steps Cookout.
The gathering, held at a local park, was aimed at taking the first step towards building a relationship between officers and community members.
During the Q&A portion of the cookout, Chief Gordon Ramsey took questions from the community about racial profiling, transparency and building relationships.
Officers served hamburgers and hot dogs and played basketball with community members. Kids jumped in bounce-houses and blew bubbles. Officers and members of the community even danced together.
But the event wasn’t about fun. It was a chance to have a very difficult and necessary conversation.
“I do want to challenge other police departments and communities to do the same things with first steps community cookout,” Ramsay said.
Jarvis Scott, a Black resident said it was the first time since 1992 he’d sat down with a police officer. Community members were quite forward when voicing their concerns. One of the first questions asked how a barbecue would help address racial profiling executed by police, and if the community was being bought off by food.
“It takes two parties to make a healthy relationship,” he said.