A movement asserting the critical need for healthy relations — and, in some cases, healing — between police and the communities they serve arrived in Bucks County over the weekend.
The 5th annual “L.O.V.E. is the Answer” event was held outside the county administration building in Doylestown Sunday.
It provided lawn games, refreshments, free Kona Ice, snacks, and a friendly basketball competition all while connecting law enforcement with the community.
AJ Ali, the founder of “L.O.V.E. is the Answer,” opened the event radiating love and joy.
“There’s something here for everyone,” said Ali.
“L.O.V.E. is the Answer” is about putting four key ideas into action — learn, open, volunteer and empower. The focus is on “police-community relations, anti-basis training, corporate diversity and inclusion, and community reconciliation.”
Under the main tent, there sat a mural. At each “L.O.V.E. is the Answer” event, the community works on a mural together. The finished mural will be hung on the first floor of the county administration building.
There, law enforcement engaged in open conversations with community members about police brutality and how people have the power to change the system.
Ali recently created a documentary titled “Walking While Black” that focuses on discrimination and police brutality to shed light on the issue and change perceptions about law enforcement.
The discussion opened with the question: How did the film shape your thinking?
After watching the documentary, Falls Township Police Chief Nelson Whitney started the conversation.
“This is terrible, I need to dedicate my life to making it better,” said Whitney. “We want everyone to feel like the police are here; we’re safe. And there’s members of the community who don’t feel that.”
“We’re not just here for today, we want to build something,” said Whitney. “We can use our power for good.”
While the film was a main topic in the discussion, it led to other issues and concerns being voiced. Among them, “How do we spread this message?” and “How do we enact change?”
A facilitator from the anti-violence outreach movement, “Shooting 4 Peace,” responded that the organization uses participation in youth sports to teach teamwork and promotes “education through reading” and other peaceful activities.
The 45-minute discussion concluded the event. As for the documentary, it is being shown at events, schools, and screenings to help change the stigma and celebrate L.O.V.E.