Wichita community meeting to discuss Ferguson shooting, police relations

08/21/2014 1:51 PM

08/21/2014 10:59 PM

It’s called #NoFergusonHere.

It is a community meeting for Wichitans to look at recent events in Ferguson, Mo., discuss them and make suggestions for improving community/police relations in Wichita.

The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 28, at East High School, 2301 E. Douglas. Event organizers want everyone to attend.

The meeting is co-sponsored by Dellrose United Methodist Church and St. Mark United Methodist Church.

“Let us be proactive instead of reactive,” said the Rev. Kevass Harding. “What happened in Ferguson can happen in Wichita.

“We can take the situation in Ferguson and use it as a training moment to discuss better police-community relationships so we don’t have a young man laying dead in the middle of the street.”

Michael Brown, a black teenager, was killed by a white police officer earlier this month in Ferguson. Several nights of civil unrest followed the shooting.

The Wichita event will feature a panel discussion that will include Mayor Carl Brewer; Wichita Deputy Police Chief Nelson Mosley; Kenya Cox, Wichita Branch NAACP president; Carlos Conteras, president of Kansas People’s Action; and the Rev. Reuben Eckels of Sunflower Community Action.

“The purpose of this forum is to shape police/community relations that create more positive interactions and to choose to change our circumstances rather than allowing circumstances to dictate our path,” Mark McCormick, director of the Kansas African American Museum, said in a news release. He is also one of the coordinators of the event.

Harding and the Rev. Junius Dotson, pastor of St. Mark United Methodist Church, will moderate the discussion.

“We want everybody to attend,” Harding said. “This is not a white issue or a black issue. It is a community issue. Every voice should be heard.”

Reach Beccy Tanner at 316-268-6336 or btanner@wichitaeagle.com. Follow her on Twitter: @beccytanner.

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