East St. Louis to stress public involvement at National Night Out

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EAST ST. LOUIS (KPLR) A planned neighborhood event will address violence happening across the country.

In East St. Louis, organizers of National Night Out will incorporate food, music, and fun as in years past. But in the wake of shootings in Baton Rouge, Dallas, Kansas City and elsewhere, organizers will re-emphasize the importance of positive police-community relations.

Terrance Taylor, one of the organizers of the East St. Louis National Night Out, said that topic remains relevant in the metropolitan area.

“It was sensitive last year for the aftermath of Ferguson,” Taylor said.

This year, the event will incorporate a variety of discussions.

“Relationships, structural racism, and the school to prison pipeline,” he said.

Stephanie Bush, another driving force behind the event, said last year’s National Night Out in East St. Louis introduced police officers to many of the residents who live on “high-crime” blocks. That move, she said, has yielded positive results one year later.

“Police were blowing their horns. Waving at citizens. Citizens were going, ‘Oh, I thought I was in trouble,’” she said. “But the difference is there’s a bonding that’s taking place. And we’re looking to move that forward, this year.”

The East St. Louis National Night Out will take place August 2 at the Orr Weathers Court at 1400 Missouri Avenue from 5-7 p.m. It will feature free food, vendors, music and guest speakers.