Bradley County community unites with compassion to help prevent - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Bradley County community unites with compassion to help prevent violence

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CLEVELAND, TN (WRCB) -

In light of recent events, people in the Bradley County community are taking action to improve relationships between law enforcement and citizens.

More than 100 people gathered on Tuesday night to discuss how to prevent violence that has hit other parts of the country.

The focus wasn't hate or anger. It was kindness, and a willingness to work together.

"The people of Cleveland really want change," said Frank Walker.

That desire to come together filled an entire gymnasium at College Hill Recreation Center in Cleveland.

With no concern for skin color, age, or uniform, more than 100 people shared their ideas to keep violence, hate, and fear out of the city.

Walker is a middle school teacher and basketball coach.

"I'm affected every day with kids and kids experiencing racism and different biases," Walker said.

Law enforcement and local leaders hope to bridge that gap by fostering more understanding relationships.

"Just because you might not sound like me, look like me, act like me; I believe that it's a real opportunity to erase and eradicate hate," said Walker.

It's a huge response.

Many people are upset by current events

"The community is willing to get together and to bond, to try to prevent some of those tragedies that have been happening, from happening here," said Erica Parker, who organized the forum with her husband, Reggie.

The couple wants citizens to build positive relationships with law enforcement.

"We, as adults, have to be models for our youth. We will not let someone just push us around. We're gonna make people respect us," said Parker. "But at the same time, to get respect, you have to give respect. If you're not willing to do that, it's very difficult on the back end to expect it."

"We're trying to stop this in advance," said Terry Ware.

Other residents, like Ware, are inspired by this willingness to work together.

"We want our youth to be protected, we want our officers to be protected, and we want our community to be protected," he said.

The group that hosted the forum is called "Unite Bradley County." Organizers plan to host more events in the future.

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