We took the family to a parade today. When we arrived, it was colder than we thought so I took Liliana to the car to add more layers. We were parked around the corner from our house, so Milton drove home to get my coat and a blanket for Maximus. Maximus and Nana stayed and watched the parade. While I waited for him to return, I decided to chat with the police officer that was directing traffic.
I’ll admit, I’ve had very little interactions with police officers. I’ve had one speeding ticket and that’s really about all.
But, with all that is happening right now with black men being killed (i.e. Eric Garner and Mike Brown) I figured there was no time like today to talk to one.
As I walked up to him, he made a funny comment about Liliana’s legs in her baby carrier. I told him I had a question to ask him. I said, “What are your feelings with everything happening in today’s society with the police?” His expression was priceless. I listened to him give his viewpoint on everything, including how to start change. It wasn’t a time for me to agree or disagree with him (which I did both), but a time to hear his view from his experiences. He didn’t sugar coat his answers and you could tell he was still uncertain about some things.
Our conversation ended toward the time Milton pulled back up in his car. At the end of the parade when Nana, Maximus and everyone was were walking back to the car, I introduced him to the family. He gave Nana a hug and Maximus a high five and a sticker.
I know I didn’t solve all of the world’s problems with that one interaction. However, I do know that I took one step toward improving relationships. I know that I started exposing my toddler son to the police. I know my mother-in-law who screams at the tv while watching CNN appreciated his small gesture. I know that many police officers are friendly and approachable.
Change starts one person, one conversation at a time.