Peace walk moves town forward

Published 1:19 pm Thursday, September 8, 2016

Last week’s Peace March down Main Street and panel discussion at the Moton Museum were steps in the right direction for this community.

Karima ElMadany and Hakeem Croom’s proactive response to a concern that is both national and close to home shows an initiative that is needed across the country.

The program, titled “Am I Next: Debunking Stereotypes,” was meant to be challenging, thought-provoking and a conversation starter. It was all of those things. Across town the next day, those who participated discussed the event and those who didn’t participate wanted to know what had happened.

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Though in many cases the history of this town shows division, that was not the case last Wednesday night. Local police departments, community members, college students, and faculty and staff from both Hampden-Sydney College and Longwood University joined together. People from all walks of life, of all ages and with a wide range of opinions spoke up and walked forward.

All the groups that came together to open up discussion should feel proud of their results. By no means was the discussion easy, but nonetheless it took place and with an audience made up of both civilians and law enforcement officers.

This event and Commonwealth Attorney Megan Clark’s community policing discussion earlier this summer are making strides in breaking down communication barriers and decreasing tensions.

We look forward to future events hosted by ElMadany and Croom and hope to see even more people involved with future discussions. As ElMadany said, “If we want to make a change, we have to start where we are.”