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Community leaders and residents gather for Communicating for a Change forum

(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)
(Source KSWO) (Source KSWO)

LAWTON, OK (KSWO)- Lawton community leaders and residents came together to discuss some of the issues currently facing our society in a forum called communicating for a Change.


With the recent police shootings happening across the U.S. and unarmed black men being shot by police, members from the community wanted to know what they should do and how to prepare their kids if they were ever in a serious similar situation. City councilwomen Gay McGahee says growing up her parents always taught her and her siblings certain precautions.

"You put your hands on the steering wheel. You don't move, you don't budge. Because there is some danger in you being stopped”, said McGahee.

McGahee says time has changed and no one should have to prepare their son to go out just because of their skin color.

"It ought to be okay for me to be able to exercise my right by saying by saying Why did you stop me, but those are some of the things don't ask any questions that we as African Americans tell our son”, said McGahee.

Cameron University professor Rick Lowe has a background with law enforcement training and says he always remembered the "shoot, don't shoot" scenario.

"We you get out on the street you don't have do-over's and so officers they are unfortunately having to place that in the back of their mind. But they are very much of aware of what's happening nationwide”, said Lowe.

Lowe says with the recent cop shooting people need to be careful where they place their hands and don't do anything until the officer tells you too.

"Officers are trained more on body movement and bodily cues rather than they are most anything else. And so it's simply what is that is going to escalate their alertness or their concern. It's sad that we live in a day of age where we have to think like that”, said Lowe.

Racism was also a hot topic discussed by the panel. Cameron University student Ashley Smith says it's sad that racism is still alive but the only way to solve it is for the community to unite as one.

"If you were to cut him, he is going to bleed the same as if you were to cut me I'm going to bleed, we are the same exact person. For some reason we can't get over that barrier but no one has an answer for it but we can try and come together”, said Smith.

Lawton police chief James Smith says we have to acknowledge and  learn from racism.

"Wrap our arms around it and accept diversity because that is the only way we are going to be able to handle it”, said James Smith.

Ashley Smith says in order for these issues to be resolved everyone has to come together as one.

"We live here, this is important to be involved and the things that are happening in the community you are not going to be able to change them if you don't have a voice and you’re not involved”, said Smith.

Copyright 2016 KSWO. All rights reserved.
 

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