I just left the most productive community meeting I have ever had with young African Americans and Hispanics from urban communities we serve. I learned something. We will never make real changes meeting with professional activists. We have to meet with the every day community member. The gang member, the single mother with three kids and two jobs, the parolee, the homeless, and the high school student who goes to school in a violent community. That’s who we need to connect with. These men we are meeting with are more open minded than any I’ve met. They told us their concerns. They were honest and we were able to explain without a shouting match or hearing someone’s rehearsed statement.
For the first time ever I felt a real connection with community members, who were concerned about police contacts with them. This is how we should proceed. I’m proud of my fellow officers for showing up and listening to these young men today. I am so grateful to these young men for hearing us. They were so understanding.
They all admitted that the media, music and social media was the driving force behind their negative view. I want more of this kind of dialogue. I’m begging for it.