National Night Out is one of my favorite community events.
This year it has taken on a deeper meaning as neighborhoods across the country join local law enforcement and politicians in conveying a message of unity to promote safety and awareness as major crime fighters.
Considering the recent tumultuous events in Texas, Minnesota and Louisiana, one can easily become cynical and place little faith in the notion that communities and law enforcement officers charged with protecting them, are so far apart they will never come together.
In Philadelphia, however, National Night Out is both serious and festive as sheriff officers, and local and state police alike all participate in an evening of information sharing, shaking hands, music, food and genuinely enjoying the moment.
I expect to see the same on August 2nd as I and several of my officers go from one community event to another on narrow streets, parks, and recreation centers to celebrate and recognize that we are all in this together.
Dwight Eisenhower once said that: “This world of ours... must avoid becoming a community of dreadful fear and hate, and be, instead, a proud confederation of mutual trust and respect.”
As we all pause, and rightly so, to reflect on what is currently happening in our nation, let’s also not forget the struggles and challenges we’ve overcome as a people to get to this point.
No, I don’t expect a tsunami of warmth and forgiveness to flow over the country on August 2nd, but I do anticipate the purpose, dedication, and focus hat comes with National Night Out to be a buttress for the hope and optimism that is the essence of the event.
So, please join me in volunteering some of your time on August 2nd to sit with your neighbors, mingle with local law enforcement, and have conversations that bring us all forward with understanding and patience.