JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Two weeks after protesters marched through the streets of Johnson City, and a police officer kneeled in front of and embraced a line of protesters, people gathered for an educational event Tuesday.
“Black History Hour” was organized by the New Generation Freedom Fighters. They focused on the Reconstruction Era in an effort to educate on the history of the black revolution.
“It’s deeper so you can understand why systematically historically black lives have never mattered that’s why this is important so that you can understand why we feel that way,” NGFF board member Andre Johnson said.
Johnson hosted the event at Founders Park, with the group that unified after the protests a couple weeks ago and elected a board last week.
Last Friday, those board members met with city leaders and the chief of police behind closed doors.
“I think it went very well it was a good conversation and we had good dialogue both ways,” Johnson City chief of police Karl Turner said.
Turner talked about that meeting with News Channel 11 for the first time tonight.
“A lot of what they’re interested in is already in our policies, it was a matter of showing that it’s in our policy,” Turner said.
Turner said the current police policy is under review.
“Some things we need to look at the language and make our directives a little more clear in the police department as well,” Turner said. “Some of the change in policy, it has to be reviewed by certain people in the city and then we’ll come back with our changes and then discuss those once we get it written into policy.”
Discussions are going to continue and this movement is evolving. Right now, this is a moment focused on educating the public about the past and striving for results in the future.
“We march, now we need them to understand why we’re marching so I feel like information is very pivotal to the movement going forward so you can articulate why we are so angry,” Johnson said.