The second annual National Faith & Blue Weekend is happening from Oct. 8-11 in cities across the state of Georgia and the nation.
National Faith & Blue Weekend is a collaborative initiative between law enforcement entities and faith-based organizations in local communities. Through outreach events hosted by local churches, they attempt to improve relationships and break down biases among law enforcement professionals and the communities they serve.
Law enforcement leaders from across the state joined Rev. Markel Hutchins, an Atlanta-based minister and CEO of MovementForward, to announce the kickoff of events in a press conference at the Georgia state Capitol earlier this week.
According to the Faith & Blue website, more than 200 events will take place in Georgia communities over the weekend, from food drives to block parties to a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. More than 2,000 events are expected to take place across the country in 46 states.
Hutchins said the purpose of this massive effort is to remove fear and enable local communities and law enforcement groups to experience one another’s humanity.
“Most of the law enforcement involved tragedies that we’ve seen over the last several years are based on fear,” he said. “Law enforcement professionals not knowing and, therefore, fearing the people that they’re protecting and serving — and oftentimes people and communities fearing law enforcement.”
Despite progressive calls for sweeping changes to policing, Hutchins said the majority of Americans want the same amount of police officers on the street, if not more. And with crime on the rise everywhere, he said, facilitating safer communities is imperative.
“As a native of Georgia, I can tell you that I’ve been a student of civil and human rights my whole life,” Hutchins said.
What made the civil rights movement successful, he said, was that its leaders, from Marin Luther King Jr. to Ralph David Abernathy to Joseph Lowery, were “not seeking to defeat their enemy.”
“They were seeking to transform their adversaries into allies,” Hutchins said. “That’s what our nation needs right now.”
The National Faith & Blue Weekend effort is organized by Hutchins’ MovementForward, Inc./OneCOP initiative, along with the Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police, the Georgia Sheriffs’ Association, and both national state law enforcement associations in other states.
This story comes to Fresh Take Georgia through a reporting partnership with GPB News, a nonprofit newsroom covering the state of Georgia.