July is the month our nation celebrates independence. The historic beauty of our city with streets adorned with American flags, banners, the smell of cookouts and the joy of family gatherings, remind us the importance of why we celebrate our national freedom. We celebrate the freedom, as a sovereign nation that unites every citizen.
July brings several Unity in Community events. On July 1st, we hosted our second Barbershop Uncut series at Miracles Barbershop. The community event brings local law enforcement and the minority community together in a safe place to have “uncut” conversations in a barbershop. This particular meeting allowed us to address some concerns posted on social media about the police department’s recent procedural change releasing arrests in certain cases. In the week following the May Barbershop Uncut meeting, concerned citizens and leaders suggested the department stop posting arrest stories on social media and let traditional media (newspaper and TV media) release the story. With the support of city leaders, we made that change. When the arrest of Mr. Adler hit the news, some accused the department of racial bias in releasing arrest stories because the previous arrest story on the department’s Facebook page involved a young black male, yet we did not post the arrest of a white male. We reminded community members we applied the feedback asked by the community. Memorial Day weekend, I spoke with Avie Lester, President of Person County NAACP about amending our practice. He and I agree, post all on social media or post none. I thank Avie, community leaders and citizens who supported the right decision to post all or none.
The community is invited to attend the July 18 BASICs meeting beginning at 7 p.m. at Long Memorial. BASIC is a wonderful diverse group of citizens working to unite race relations in Person County. While my schedule of coaching youth sports and entering my final semesters of earning my Master’s Degree usually causes me to miss the meetings, I look forward to attending this month.
Lastly, I want to commend the Road Dawgs Motorcycle Club. They are hosting two community give back events in the coming months in partnership with Roxboro Housing Authority. The first event is Saturday, July 20 at 11 a.m. in the Weatherly Heights community.
These events and conversations are one of several ways we are bringing Unity in CommUNITY. I hope you will consider attending some of these opportunities to support positive relationships in Person County.
Have a blessed weekend.
Editor’s note: Roxboro Police Chief David Hess and The Courier-Times have partnered together to print a monthly Chief’s Column, which will be published the first Saturday of each month. Personians can submit questions to the chief to be answered in the next edition and the chief will provide updates on community policing initiatives, safety awareness and other happenings in the city.