When the protests first began here in Newnan, I will admit that I was worried.
While, as an American, it is my job to listen to grievances my fellow citizens may have against their/my government, once people talk about destruction—well, you might as well count me out.
I did not know how the protests would go, I just knew that if destruction happened then I would have been out there first thing Saturday morning to clean up. So, I sat back and watched.
What unfolded before me was one of the best examples of democracy one can imagine. Newnan should be proud of those people who showed up downtown every night.
This is exactly what government of the people, by the people, and for the people is about. Over the course of twenty nights, Cowetans told their stories. I heard elders tell me how far we have come with their stories of segregated lunch counters and bathrooms right here in Newnan. I heard stories from young people about the fearful encounters they have had with police.
I have heard white mothers waking up for the first time, telling us that “when George Floyd called for his mother, it was a call to all mothers.” Fulfilling Doctor King’s Dream, I saw children of all colors played with one another while the adults, young, middle age, and old had deep conversations and made connections.
Out of the protests, a group of concerned citizens was formed. People from all walks of life who before now had not known of one another got down to work and presented some recommendations to our City Council. The recommendations that the Citizens for Positive Reform are important and should not be controversial.
These include Cultural Sensitivity and Diversity Training, making attempts to create a police force that looks more like the wider community (there are only seven African-American officers in our force of 85-90), more support for the Community Resource Officers.
There are only two in our entire police force, and although Sgt. Lee and Adam Griffith does a fantastic and important job, there are only two of them. They need our support.
"The Sunday after the City Council meeting, CPR invited the Newnan Police Department to come break bread with them at the Juneteenth Celebration. It was very inspiring to hear that they came, and that all involved had a good time. We are all part of the same community.
In the end, we are all brothers and sisters riding on this great big blue ball together. Doctor King once said or wrote that “we may all have come from different ships, but we are all in the same boat now.” I appreciate the people downtown doing it right. Newnan should be proud.