In Wichita, Kansas, police met with Black Lives Matter activists in an event met to foster community togetherness, a barbecue gathering on Sunday of nearly a thousand people called the “First Steps Cookout.”
The event, which saw activists enjoying free food and conversation with members of the police force, took place instead of a planned protest, and people on both sides said that it was a solid step forward in repairing community relations.
“Very good vibe. Very good vibe. It’s everything I was hoping for,” said Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay of the “First Steps Cookout.”
Ramsay went on to say that the department was committed to taking more steps to foster a better, deeper relationship with the community.
“This isn’t something we’re going to change overnight or tonight,” he said. “It’s just going to take continual effort on everybody’s part. And work on policy changes, relationships. And that’s what’s going to get to the heart of the issues.”
“Especially after what happened in Baton Rouge today, just makes it all the more painful. But I just feel very proud of my city that there’s so many people here,” said Margaret at the ‘First Steps Cookout.’ “It’s wonderful.”