WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – A Black Lives Matter organization in Washington, D.C. is taking a shot at Wichita’s First Step Community Cook Out that took place last Sunday.
A tweet sent out by the Washington organization said, “This is not in line with our principles.”
KSN sat down with two of the community leaders who helped organize Wichita event with the Wichita Police Department to find out their thoughts about what the national organization is saying and why it is upset.
The voice and dance moves of Wichita Police Officer Aaron Moses has amassed more than 17 million views and more than 94,000 shares on Facebook so far.
But, the lighthearted video has come with quite a bit of backlash.
“For us, it’s been a really good week, and a really bad week at the same time,” said Djuan Wash with Kansas Appleseed. His organization took a leadership role in setting up the event.
Wash and A.J. Bohannon are among community organizers with the Wichita alliance who have received a whirlwind of comments over the past several days from the viral video taken at the First Step Cook Out. Those have been mixed with both praise and hate.
“A lot of the message was lost in the fray,” said Wash
That message was meant to be a first step toward a policy change in Wichita.
KSN asked the question, “What do you want the nation to know? What do you want them to see what you guys are doing here in Wichita?”
Wash said, “What I want the nation to know is that organizing and activism works.”
Both activists explain the event that took place Sunday was not a part of the Black Lives Matter movement. Rather, it was a way to be proactive with the Wichita Police Department.
“Everybody thinks we’re out there just having this grand ol’ time, but really we were addressing some of the issues that have been plugging this community for quite sometime,” said Bohannon
Wash says before the fun and games took place, difficult questions were asked of Wichita’s police chief.
“The chief made some concrete commitments to address an issue with the cultural competency and diversity training with the citizens review board, and for lobbying with legislation to investigate his own officers,” Wash said.
Meanwhile, Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay says communication is important.
“Bringing in community leaders is critical for our success, not only for the police department, but for the city as a whole,” said Ramsay.
Regardless of the backlash from Washington, both men feel Sunday’s cook out was a step in the right direction.
“We need more police chiefs like Chief Ramsay to be willing to have these tough conversations with people in the community, but also put words to action,” Wash said.