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Raleigh community leader: We must stay positive

Posted July 8

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— The tragedy that struck Dallas Thursday night could have happened anywhere.

In February, large peaceful protests unfolded in Raleigh over the death of Akiel Denkins, a young black man shot and killed by a police officer.

Johnny Blaylock, a longtime southeast Raleigh resident, said he saw a sense of desperation in the Dallas shootings, something he hopes to never witness in his community.

"It's frustrating, but we don't want it to reach a road of no return. We must stay positive," he said.

Blaylock is the president of a grassroots group that works to create positive partnerships in the community, something he says is needed.

"The young black people are actually growing up to fear the police," Blaylock said.

Blaylock says in order to build bonds between minorities and law enforcement officers, there needs to be more face to face conversations and education,

"We have to go out of our ivory towers and comfortable homes, and get out here in the streets," he said.

Raleigh Mayor Nancy McFarlane agrees. She said no community is immune to the violence seen in Dallas.

"Our police chief really understands how important that communication and personal connection is. They have taken more officers out of cars, they have been doing more door-to-doors, knocking on doors, introducing themselves to neighbors, and people are really taking advantage of it," McFarlane said.

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