On October 10th, as part of the national Faith & Blue Weekend, Steepletown helped to organize a community event that brought together local law enforcement personnel and community members. The purpose of the event was to build connections between law enforcement professionals and the communities they serve by working alongside each other. The event included a couple keynote speakers and a service project, which involved cleaning up the banks and surrounding areas of Indian Mill Creek. This cleanup project was done through guidance by the Lower Grand River Organization of Watersheds.
The morning began with a few words from Andrew Birge, U.S. Attorney, who spoke on the significance of the Faith & Blue Weekend. Approximately 30 attendees, many whom were GRPD Officers, broke into three groups that cleaned different sections of the creek. The cleanup lasted well over an hour, during which several bags of trash and other debris was collected, filling a large flatbed trailer. Participants were also provided lunch at the Long Road Distillery, made possible through support from 420 Canibus. During lunch additional comments were shared on how the work of bringing about more peaceful, less violent neighborhoods belongs to everyone.
Tom Bradley, Pastor of CrossWinds Westside, is a Master Chaplain with the International Conference of Police Chaplains, serving with the Walker Police Department. He shared that as a follower of the Gospel, he seeks to participate in the work of law enforcement to bring about peace: “peace in crises; peace in tension about law enforcement through social justice; peace to our neighborhoods; peace to officers who see trauma and violence on a regular basis, who often deal with people on the worst day they may have possibly ever had; peace to our city as we all work together to bring equity, justice and grace to every corner.” His comments were echoed by GR Deputy Police Chief Scott Rifenberg who shared that he is motivated by his faith to be a community servant.
The event demonstrated that we can do much more together to build a community where all people are valued, respected, and kept safe. National Faith & Blue Weekend is an extension of the One Congregation One Precinct initiative (OneCOP), a program of MovementForward, Inc., which is a solutions-focused human and civil rights organization based in Atlanta, Georgia.