JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Two recent decisions by grand juries not to bring indictments against white police officers who have killed black men have angered people in our area. Those decisions have also sparked conversations about what people should do if they are stopped by police.
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown hosted the "Weekend of Hope" event in New Town at Eugene Butler Middle School Saturday.
The mayor and police officers spoke to teens about transforming the community.
"Only half of black males graduate from high school," said Brown.
Brown mentioning powerful statistics, saying change needs to be made in the African American community.
He also said homicide is the main killer of young black males.
At the event, young people asked what to do if they get pulled over by police.
Tips released by the Jacksonville Sheriff's Office say:
- Do not try to get out of your vehicle or approach the officer unless asked to do so.
- Keep your hands easily observable, preferably on the steering wheel where they easily can be seen.
- Avoid any sudden movements.
- If there are any weapons in your vehicle, inform the officer of its location, and don't attempt to reach or point to its location.
Police told the group that profiling is prohibited by officers.
Brown told young people, a whole community including churches and schools, must work together to make change.
"I think the key is education. Making sure we have opportunities for young people, making sure that we are doing everything we can to help them, but making sure they have a role to play in their future," said Brown.
Brown also said many people can be a mentor, even policeman and firefighters.
"I was actually blown away by [Mayor Brown's message]. I really didn't know what he was going to say," said Dwight James, a student volunteer.
And young people even want to be part of the change.
"He brings a powerful presence. It really made me want to get involved," said Brandon Winters. Winters said he plans to become a community volunteer.
Organizers also passed out pamphlets telling people what they should do if they are pulled over by police. Click HERE for a copy of the pamphlets.
In addition to the conversations about reducing violence in Jacksonville, vendors were at the New Town success zone event for its eighth annual Christmas Party.
Families enjoyed the festivities while learning about community safety tips, domestic violence prevention, workforce development and got free health screenings.