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“We Needed This Today. We Were Both Hurting”: White Cop & Black Man Walk Around Neighborhood Together in Solidarity

My second dispatched call of the day today was a phone call. I called the number and a man named Calvin answered. Calvin said that he was a health inspector and that he would be inspecting some neighborhood homes today. Calvin said, “I’m a big black man with dreads,” and he wanted to make sure that police were aware in case we got a call about him walking around the neighborhood. Calvin asked that I come out there to verify his employment so I could squash any calls before they became something bigger. I obliged and I apologized to him for this even being necessary, but I told him I understood. Anyway, I arrived and we exchanged pleasantries when I noticed he had an Omega Psi Phi bracelet on, which is a black fraternity known as “Q.” I told him my roommate in college was a Q, making the hand gestures, and that one of my officers now was a Q. Calvin smiled, I smiled, and all of a sudden the apprehension in the air immediately dissipated. He ended up knowing my college roommate pretty well, and we decided we would spend the next hour walking the neighborhood together. Calvin was about 15 years older than me, but we talked about how we both loved to travel and about our kids. We spoke about George Floyd and police brutality, and how it’s a different world for black men. We talked about the importance of getting to know people and how racism is borne of fear and ignorance. Calvin spoke and I listened.

This second picture is of me and Calvin.

At the end, we both said almost simultaneously how much we needed this today. We were both hurting and this was a small ray of light into a darkness that had covered us. We would have hugged but, being that we both believe in doctors and science, we elbow-bumped instead. We exchanged information and took this picture. An hour later my old college roommate texted me saying he heard I met Calvin and how happy that made him. Calvin then texted me a few hours after that saying that he believed things happened for a reason and that we would see each other again. I believe him. I’m not a religious guy and I mostly chalk things up to chance, but it really seemed that the universe was communicating today – at least to Calvin and me.

I’m not writing this to tell you that everything is going to be okay. I honestly don’t know if it will be. I have hope, otherwise everything I’m doing would lose meaning. I’m not telling people to not be angry or to not protest. Black people should be angry. White people should be angry. I’m angry. I’m just writing this to tell you that I love you all and that I’m here to listen to you, whenever you’re ready to talk. If you’re black and hurt and you don’t understand policing, I’m here to listen. If you’re white and you feel lost and you don’t know how to use your voice, I’m here to listen. I’ll answer what I can, and when I can’t we’ll work together to find the answers.

We need to listen to each other. We need to support each other. I’m only as good of a police officer as my community says I am. If my community doesn’t trust me, I need to listen. If my community fears me, I need to listen. I met Calvin today and I listened, and because of this I gained an ally and a friend. I know enough about change to know that you can’t tell people what to do, you need to listen to them and build change together. So please listen to me for this brief moment as I tell you this one thing: I’m here. Not for you, but with you. I am, have been, and will be a member of this team. Our team. I’m here. As both a police officer and as your friend. So speak. I’m listening.

Love,

Justin”

**This post was written by Justin Pletcher and originally appeared on his Facebook page

Toddler is Sick With Mystery Illness for 3 Months When Doctors Finally Discover What’s Lodged in Her Nose

A mom from the UK is sharing her story after her toddler suffered for three months with a mystery illness caused by an object unknowingly lodged in her nose.

Candace Cameron Bure’s Dreamy Family Vacation in Italy: ‘Take Me Back’

Candace Cameron Bure, loved for her roles on "Full House" and "Fuller House," recently took to Instagram to reminisce about her family's dream summer vacation in Italy.

Chip and Joanna Gaines: 11 Godly Secrets to an Epic Marriage and Family

Chip and Joanna Gaines are teaching us important lessons about marriage and family as they walk away from their HGTV show for the sake of their family.