In a move that further solidifies my theory that food is the ultimate uniter of people, a community gathered together this past Sunday at McAdams Park in Wichita, Kansas to have one on one discussions with each other over burgers, hot dogs, and many other frowned upon yet undeniably delicious barbecue foods.
The 'First Steps Cookout' was an idea suggested by Wichita Police Chief Gordon Ramsay.
It was suggested at the conclusion of a Black Lives Matter protest earlier in the week, and was very well received by the community and organizers, who cancelled another scheduled protest for the cookout.
What no one planned for was that it would occur only hours after the targeted killings of three police officers in Baton Rogue.
And how did it go? "Very good vibe. Very good vibe. It's everything I was hoping for," said Police Chief Gordon Ramsay.
Police supplied the burgers and buns, and many residents brought in bags and trays filled with food to share.
The event was heavily praised among citizens as well, with over 400 RSVPs for the event and more than twice that in attendance after reports of the shootings in Baton Rogue.
Margaret, one of the residents that attended the cookout, had this to say:
The day was a resounding success, and pictures from the event were posted on the Wichita Police Department's official Facebook page
"This isn't something we're going to change overnight or tonight," said Police Chief Gordon Ramsay. "It's just going to take continual effort on everybody's part. And work on policy changes, relationships. And that's what's going to get to the heart of the issues."