Black Lives Matter town hall creates dialogue between officials, community members
The Black Lives Matter movement is working to increase its presence in Wilmington.
The group held a town hall meeting Wednesday night March 24 at Hope Academy on Lancaster Avenue, hoping to foster a more active dialogue between government officials and community members.
Among those in attendance were friends and family members of the late Jeremy McDole, who was shot and killed by Wilmington police officers last fall. The case is still under investigation, and the McDole family is suing the city over Jeremy’s death.
Local Black Lives Matter co-organizer Hope Bellamy says he was surprised with the turnout of nearly 80 people.
“They got to ask questions and actually be heard this time. It was very surprising to me that they even entertained the questions from the family. Normally, like I said, they would be running away from the questions. But last night they came prepared, they answered the questions from the public, it was a good turnout and things went actually better than I had expected," Bellamy said.
The forum, which included New Castle County Executive Thomas Gordon and challenger Matthew Meyer, as well as Wilmington mayoral candidates Eugene Young and Kevin Kelley was meant to open a line of communication between the public and local government.
Bellamy says he’d like to see police officers receive more training on how to interact with the community when they get out of their cars, and stresses that an understanding of the legal and criminal justice systems is vital for elected officials.
“It was more like a marriage relationship between the community and elected officials from the state level down to the local level," Bellamy said. What is it we can do to move the city forward? What can the county do to assist in moving the city forward? How can we move forward together?”
The group plans to hold more town halls, but has year to set a date and time for the next one.