'Being Black Wearing Blue' panel addresses police reform, systemic racism

ByAshley Johnson via WPVI logo
Thursday, October 15, 2020
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Black law enforcement professionals provided insight around the attitudes, perceptions and impacts of the current social climate on their professional and personal lives during a "Being Black Wearing Blue" virtual panel.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Major Kristal Turner-Childs is a changemaker serving with the Pennsylvania State Police for 22 years. She says that wearing the badge and being Black carries a heavy weight especially at a time when police brutality and systemic racism continue to rock our country.

"It also means that it is our responsibility that if we're standing next to someone that is not holding up that oath that we hold them accountable," said Turner-Childs said.

The major was one of a handful of panelists participating in a panel at Community College of Philadelphia about what it means to be Black while wearing blue.

Many say the murder of George Floyd has been a wake-up call to the country for reform.

"You heard the call from the mother and you heard the gentleman say, 'Hey just let him up, all of us were there wanting to help,'" Turner-Childs said.

"Today, we are such visual people and that exacerbated the trauma the Black community had been suffering and it called to the carpet the culture of law enforcement," said Criminal Justice Diversity Fellow Malika Rahman.

Many agree the key to change is trust.

"A community should feel like you serve them. You can't just show up with Black and brown skin and think that's enough," said Cambridge Police Commissioner Dr. Branville Bard.

When asked why would you tell a young person to still consider law enforcement as a profession, Turner-Childs said, "You cannot affect this change and make change unless you're within."