When a Black Lives Matter group in Kansas tried hosting a barbecue, the local police responded in the most shocking way.
In the last two weeks, police have been targeted and ambushed by skilled gunmen in Dallas and Baton Rouge, resulting in a total of 8 assassinations.
Police everywhere are fearing for their lives more than ever now due to the rise in anti-police rhetoric from the Black Lives Matter movement, but one police department in Kansas just restored our hope for America in the most admirable way.
At a time when parts of our nation is more divided than ever, the community of Wichita, Kansas is teaching Americans the beauty of community, with their police department and the local Black Lives Matter group standing strongly united.
When Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay learned a Black Lives Matter had planned a protest for Sunday, he decided to have an in-depth meeting with activist A.J. Bohannon and other members of the local Black Lives Matter movement. After a lengthy discussion, the local Black Lives Matter group and police department united to coordinate a community cookout — instead of the protest.
Although it had only been hours after the police shootings in Baton Rouge, members of the Wichita, Kansas police department spent their Sunday afternoon eating and talking with people from the community at the cookout they planned with the local Black Lives Matter group.
According to NPR, the event was called the First Steps Community Cookout — a reference to its goal of bridging the gap between police and the community they serve. The cookout gained even more importance as news of the Baton Rouge police shooting kept unfolding during the First Steps Community Cookout.
“We can get on the same page and say those things that are in Baton Rouge don’t trickle over into Wichita, Kansas. 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,” Black Lives Matter activist A.J. Bohannon said.
Photos, videos, and stories from the cookout have already gone viral. In the midst of all the sadness surrounding our nation lately, it truly restores our hope to see uniformed police officers — many of them wearing radios and other gear they use on patrol — talking with smiling residents, dancing and playing basketball at the community cookout.
“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,” The Wichita Eagle reported.
After the event, Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay thanked those who attended — and issued a challenge to other police departments to hold similar barbecues.
“It takes two parties to make a healthy relationship,” Chief Ramsay said.
The First Steps Community Cookout vividly illustrates a valuable life lesson many of us struggle with daily: embracing the beauty in community by pursuing the unity of diversities.
The Wichita Police Department had every odd stacked against them — they could’ve easily played into the established script that could’ve lead to a conflict between protesters and police. However, both sides departed from the script we’ve all grown far too comfortable with, and instead, produced unity through community.
God bless the Wichita Police Department and the community of Wichita, Kansas for coming together and restoring our hope in the future of America. Their humility, dignity, and respect is truly an inspiration to us all.
— Akeam Ashford (@KWCHAkeam) July 18, 2016
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“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:24-25