SILVER SPRING, Md. (WDVM) – County officials and local residents gathered for a discussion about violence, hate and community relations in Montgomery County.
Some of those who came out to the discussion think it happened at the right time, bringing up the hate-fueled mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. Montgomery County Acting Police Chief Marcus Jones was on the panel and explained why it’s important to have law enforcement present at these discussions.
“Over the course of this past weekend, for example, our presence here gives us the ability to share with the audience, and answer questions that they have about these types of incidents. What do we do? How do we investigate these types of incidents if they were to happen in our area?” Jones said.
The discussion’s theme was “Remembering the Past to Protect the Future.” Local residents echoed that sentiment when talking about their hopes for Montgomery County.
“I think it’s really important that we recognize what’s going on and name it and see our history, and then you can move forward. If you keep ignoring it and pretending like you’re not racist, we’re never gonna be able to move forward. You have to admit what’s happening and move forward,” said Shayne Dizard.
County Executive Marc Elrich says it’s not just about race relations, it’s about challenging and changing misconceptions about people who may be different than you.
The discussion was put on by the local anti-violence committees, MCPD, and human rights organizations.