Black Lives Matter and We Need the Police

Today I attended a forum, Saving Our Sons. I walked in the venue and there were all men except for the wife of the event host. I started to leave but she encouraged me to stay. I did and I am glad I did. What I heard was a lively discussion which included law enforcement, clergy, ex-offenders, young men and their fathers. The beauty of the discussion is that all parties were transparent. The police shared how they do their job and that at the end of the day their goal is to make it home to their families. No they are not looking for young black men to use for target practice. They told the young men best practices when interacting with the police. This was not a one way conversation. The young men shared their need for respect and the police acknowledged their concerns. One of the members of the clergy touched the third rail when he talked about black on black crime and the lack of parenting that is a very real problem within the community. The Freddie Gray death is a tragedy but how many families in that same community lost loved ones at the hands of someone who also lived in the community. The media have weaved together a narrative that brings in ratings: Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Walter Scott, Eric Harris and Freddie Gray. They all are black and they died at the hands of law enforcement and that’s what they share. Very different circumstances that have to be looked at individually. Black Lives Do Matter, but we need the police. Just let them take a day off and we will see just how much they matter too.

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