Area resident Brian Tarbox attended the recent Black Lives Matter rally here in Westford and now he’s hoping to start a dialogue that can bring together varying opinions in a respectful forum.
He and others have put together an event at the Littleton First Church Unitarian on Wednesday to give people an opportunity to talk about the issue in a way that is different than what some folks have been hearing recently on the news.
“I think there’s room for all kinds of events, there’s room for rallies and vigils and protests and you can talk about the pros and cons of them,” says Tarbox. “The event on Wednesday is a conversation. It’s a whole different kind of event.”
The idea for the event came to Tarbox after seeing the announcement that a grand jury will not indict Staten Island police officer Daniel Pantaleo following the choking death of Eric Garner.
After difficult discussions with his own son’s questions about the role of police in society, Tarbox thought it was a good idea to provide others with an outlet to talk about the issue of race and police.
“There are some people who have interactions that go well and there are some people who have actions that don’t go well,” says Tarbox. “And given what has happened in Ferguson and Staten Island, I think it’s time we look at those interactions and what happened to those people.”
Tarbox understands that the issue is different here than in other parts of the country and praises work done by local police, but he thinks work is still needed to maintain that communication.
“Just as there are bad members of any profession, it’d be crazy to say there aren’t bad members of the police, (but) I think our local police forces are great and the best way to prevent that in the future is to build bridges ahead of time,” he said. “These are tense times and we should especially strengthening good relationships we have with departments by giving a chance for people with differing opinions to share their viewpoints.”
Organizers of the event have invited police chiefs from several area towns, including Westford.
The event will take place at 7 p.m. More information is available at www.fculittle.org/happenings