Monday, June 6, 2011

Recap: Can we talk?

On Thursday June 2, the US Attorney's Office hosted a faith based approach to criminal justice discussion. Ms. Geraldine Washington has a great recap of the event.
Last evening, my sister and I attended a very informative, engaging, and well-planned event at The Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church in Penn Branch that featured U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia Ronald C. Machen Jr. and staff. Sincere appreciation and thanks are extended to Rev. Kendrick Curry, Senior Pastor and First Lady Rev. Karen Curry who opened the doors of their church once again to enrich and educate residents on issues often neglected and left untouched by the faith community. Special acknowledgments also go to Court Services and Offender Supervision Agency, MPD, East of the River Clergy, Police, Community Partnership and East of the River Community.

The session, "Can We Talk?" gave presentations and insightful dialogue about the criminal justice system and what our role as citizens is in it. There was also a panel discussion with a bevy of dedicated law enforcement notables (US Atty Ron Machen, Asst. US Atty. Michelle Jackson, 6D Cpt. Regis Bryant, 7D Cmdr. Joel Maupin), faith leaders (Rev. Donald Isaac, Rev. Kendrick Curry), and our very own, Veronica Davis, of Fairfax Village who quite articulately shared with the audience her community's trials and triumphs of ridding her neighborhood of an alleged drug dealer.

I was especially moved by the testimonies given by Patsy Spier, Victim Outreach Specialist, Office of Justice for Victims of Overseas Terrorism, National Security Division and Julia Dunkins, founder of Survivors of Homicides. Each pricked my heart with their first-hand accounts of violence that claimed the lives of family members and how their resolve to "do something" transformed them into revered drum majors of citizen participation and activism in the efforts of law enforcement.

Bookending the event were spiritually uplifting musical selections by The Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church Choir and at the night's end, we all were collectively experiencing and enjoying a Kumbaya moment singing "Reach Out and Touch Somebody's Hand." And as many times as I reached out, somebody was touching me.

Oh, what a feeling!

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