Local leaders and community members are reflecting on what has changed since the death of George Floyd one year ago. A virtual community conversation was held Tuesday to have a deeper discussion among the Forsyth County community.
The event called "Black, White & Blue: Building Better Communities Through Conversations" was streamed on Facebook.
The panel included law enforcement, activists, clergy, and more. They talked about police reform, an increase in violent crime, and race.
Forsyth County Sheriff Bobby Kimbrough says like many agencies, there's been an emphasis on de-escalation training and body camera usage. He says most officers are out there doing the best job possible. He hopes the conversation will spark more efforts to address poverty and other concerns.
“There are so many social issues that we have yet to address that contribute to the violence. The police is not going to save the community. The sheriff isn't going to save the community," says Kimbrough. "The police and the sheriffs are just responding to the situation.”
Local Activist Frankie Gist says law enforcement needs to be held accountable and so does the community to make real change. He's concerned about recent crimes involving youth. He wants to see more local partnerships and investments in creating more job opportunities and other programs.
“Do you know how many times my team has planned peace gathering after peace gathering, lighting every candle that I can get from Dollar General or Family Dollar, releasing every balloon that I can get, you don't know how many times?" says Gist. "And the reason why we are having these killings, I had to sit back and identify it because there's nothing for them to do. Yes, the city of Winston-Salem can bring some more things back to get the kids, mind you, but we have to remember as a community, we have to build our own things as well.”
The community conversation also included Commander Scott Gerlicher. He recently retired and worked for the Minneapolis Police Department during the George Floyd incident.
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