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Police and Communities Coming Together for a Cookout

Veteran News
Veteran News
July 19, 2016
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The Wichita, Kansas Police Department spent the better part of Sunday afternoon at a cookout eating with their community, after planning the event with a local Black Lives Matter group.Instead of shouting, these folks just shared some dinner.The event was called the First Steps Community Cookout, and was created in an effort to bridge the gap between community members and police officers. After Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay had a long meeting with activist A.J. Bohannon and other members of the local Black Lives Matter movement, they decided to hold the event in lieu of a protest that had been planned for that day.


Bohannon told KMUW, a local radio station, that news of the recent shootings in Baton Rouge helped to prompt the conversation, and the event itself."We can get on the same page and say those things that are in Baton Rouge don't trickle over into Wichita, Kan.," Bohannan said. "My heart goes out to the families, those officers in Baton Rouge, but I think the fact that that did happen makes this event more meaningful. I definitely think this is a start for this community, and I definitely want to keep it going."The event was a huge success, both in Wichita and on social media. One twitter user wrote, "A reminder of how everyone can get along in the best way. Gives me hope for humanity."The Wichita Eagle painted an amazing picture of the event:

"At one table, three men – a black man, a Hispanic man and a white man – sat down with burgers next to police Lt. Travis Rakestraw to share their ideas.It was the first time since 1992 that Jarvis Scott, the black man, said he’d sat down with a police officer, and the other two said it was their first time ever sitting down with an officer."

Kids, @WichitaPolice, deputies & elected officials dancing at the First Steps BBQ! #blacklivesmatter#thatsmywichitapic.twitter.com/gNidTj4lxy

— Akeam Ashford (@KWCHAkeam) July 18, 2016

Ramsay thanked people for coming at the end of the cookout, and issued a challenge to other communities."It takes two parties to make a healthy relationship," the police chief said.See more photos from the event below!

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