While the national dialogue regarding police and community relations remains tense, a one-day long event hopes to open more channels for conversation between the two groups.
The L.O.V.E. is the Answer Conference is a day-long event filled with workshops, speaker presentations, music and spoken word performances, and a screening of the film “Walking While Black: L.O.V.E is the Answer,” by director and producer A.J. Ali. While the conference will be hosted in several cities, the Syracuse event begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 21, at the Gathering Place at North Syracuse Baptist Church.
The film “Walking While Black,” which serves as inspiration for the whole event, explores “L.O.V.E.” as a four-part answer that can lead to reconciliation between the two opposing groups. The acronym L.O.V.E. stands for learning about your community, opening your heart to the people in it, volunteering to be part of the solution, and empowering others to do the same.
The workshops will feature conversations centered around these four principles by speakers in law enforcement and notable community members. Syracuse Police Chief Frank Fowler is scheduled to participate in a Q&A with filmmakers A.J. Ali and Errol Weber. Other appearances include Cheryl Dorsey, a retired LAPD Sergeant who has provided guest commentary for CNN, MSNBC, Dr. Drew, and other outlets and Major Neil Franklin, a 34-year veteran of the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department. Opening remarks at the event will also be made by Dr. Rochelle Ford, Professor and Chair of the Public Relations Department at the Newhouse School at Syracuse University.
The conference’s morning events are free and open to the public, but afternoon lunch and educational events require a ticket. More information on the film and an itinerary of the events can be found here.
— Preview by Jasmine Gomez, The Stand staff reporter