PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A national event aimed at improving community relations between police and the neighborhoods they patrol spread out across Philadelphia on Saturday. This comes after a former city police officer was brought up on first degree murder in the 2017 killing of an unarmed Black man.
A national movement came to a city in need of intervention as violence in Philadelphia reaches record peaks. A police community outreach program touched 43 states on Saturday, four of them across gun-ravaged Philadelphia organized by National Faith and Blue.
It included a food drive in West Philly and a peace march down Hunting Park Avenue in North Philly, anchored by the community, cops, and local clergy.
East Division Inspector Mike Cram has been around this beat for 12 years.
“You have to have faith, you have to stick together, and you have to make sure your voice is heard,” “That’s the most important thing is your voice of the people in our neighborhood. If your voice isn’t heard, then that’s a problem.”
“We have to stick together. You have to have faith. You have to stick together, and you have to make sure your voice is heard,” Cram said. “That’s the most important thing here. If your voice, if the people in our neighborhoods, if their voice isn’t heard, then that’s a problem.”
The march mapped out specific spots to stop and pray for specific things.
“One was for peace, one was for love, one was for reconciliation,” Pastor Jamie Centeno said. “We know those are the biggest things right now that are causing us to be divided.”
At the Cathedral Basilica of Saints Peter and Paul, founder of National Faith and Blue Rev. Markel Hutchins says the best way to change relationships between law enforcement and communities is face to face.
“The most pressing challenge that we face in America will not be solved by legislation,” Hutchins said. “It won’t be solved by executive order or policy and procedures manual. They will not be printed in ink. They will be imprinted in the hearts and minds of every law enforcement professional and every community member.”
“It’s not about legislation, it’s not about policy, and it’s not about arguing,” Hutchins added, “It’s about getting to know one another’s humanity, being able to see there’s more that unites us together than there is that divides us. That’s the answer.”