Community event hosts open dialogue between youth and officials on race and police

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GAITHERSBURG, Md (WDVM) – The city of Gaithersburg hosted an event this weekend to encourage dialogue with the young members of the community and local officials on race relations and policing.

Gaithersburg’s Council Vice President Laurie-Anne Sayles and 7-year-old Positivity Creator Cavanaugh Bell led the “Talk Walk Listen” Saturday morning at Griffith park as they were joined by several youth leaders looking to speak out about social justice.

We live in a system that, even one as progressive as Montgomery County, oppresses and marginalizes Black Americans, Black youth, Black women, Black parents,” Outgoing student member of the Board of Education Nate Tinbite said. “We live in a system that puts all of our voices down.”

The Gaithersburg police chief, local delegates, members of the County Council and County Executive Marc Elrich took part in the discussion on race relations and police procedures.

“I have zero tolerance for any form of police misconduct. Especially when it comes to discrimination or excessive use of force,” Chief of police Mark Sroka said. “Because I know one instance of excessive force erodes the public confidence and trust in all of us.”

“When you’re just looking for reasons to stop people and search them, which begins with the assumption if I stop these people I’m going to find a crime, that’s what we need to undo,” Executive Elrich said. “Which is why I’m committed to re-doing the training at our departments so our officers aren’t trained to do that.”

The event continued with a walk of unity around the park and people signing a black lives matter sign in solidarity for progress.

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