COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - This has been another emotionally charged week. We cried together as President Obama eulogized five Dallas police officers who were senselessly killed as they served and protected others. That was followed by a series of heart wrenching funerals. All happening against the backdrop of continuing questions and outrage over fatal officer-involved shootings in Minnesota and Louisiana.
Demonstrations continue across the country calling for an end to the violence. One such rally took place in Columbia just this past Sunday that spilled onto I-126. More events are planned this weekend.
The serious issues being raised go all the way to Capitol Hill. In a moving speech, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott said he himself had repeatedly been targeted by racial profiling, even being stopped by capitol police. He asked others to imagine his frustration.
"Recognize that just because you do not feel the pain, the anguish of another, does not mean it does not exist," U.S. Senator Tim Scott. "To ignore their struggles, our struggles, does not make them disappear."
Our local leaders realize a lot of work needs to be done. Wednesday, a new group affiliated with "Black Lives Matter" met behind closed doors with law enforcement. The big takeaway is that minorities and police want many of the same things.
"We definitely came to common ground on both sides," Patrick Tate, United We Stand organizer said. "We heard their full viewpoints. They heard all of our viewpoints. This is not going to be the only meeting."
"I think it elevated the degree of trust, and it's encouraging to know that we can move productively forward," Police Chief Skip Holbrook said.
Those present also denounced any acts of violence.
There were also questions of gang members joining in the peaceful protests. Leaders don't want outside elements corrupting the "Black Lives Matter" message and, in turn, breeding more negative feelings and hostility.
Dallas Police Chief David Brown perhaps summed it up best when he said this…
"We're asking cops to do too much in this country," said Brown. "We are. We're just asking us to do too much. Every societal failure, we put it off to the cops to solve. We're hiring. Get off that protest line and put an application in. And we'll put you in your neighborhood and we will help you resolve some of the problems you're protesting about."
This is a problem that won't be easily fixed. But both sides should be commended for expanding the dialogue. It is only through unity, and not violence, that we will see positive change.
That's My Take, What's yours?