Kinston seeks to improve community relations on MLK Day of Service


KINSTON, N.C. (WNCT) – Bridging the gap between the community and the police is one of the new initiatives put forward by the city of Kinston’s community relations team.

Different agencies across the city including the Kinston Police Department and the NAACP attended the forum in hopes to focus on building both a better relationship and communication with law enforcement.

The organization decided to host the event on the birthday of civil rights icon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In Dr. King’s speech ‘What Is Your Life’s Blueprint’ he says,”If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward,” and that’s exactly what the city of Kinston plans to do.

“Dr. King had such a great vision for our country and for his people, and we felt like this would be a great door opener to start our events,” said Council Woman Kristal Suggs.

It’s the beginning of many forums for Kinston Community Relations Team.

Tiffani Koonce of the NAACP along with Council Woman Kristal Suggs came up with the idea.

The goal is to create a conversation between law enforcement and the community.

“It’s important for us to come together so that we can have a conversation about civic accountability and we have to hold each other responsible,” said Kinston community relations advocate Tiffani Koonce  “We have to hold each other responsible, and those of us that have the information, have a responsibility to bring it to those that do not.”

Kristal Suggs says providing information for the public is key for a community to thrive.

“Giving people a greater knowledge  is definitely the key to success and it’s going to make a big difference and have a big impact.”

NAACP member Quinton Baker said the forum is an opportunity to learn from each other and looks forward to returning to the next one.

“The idea of this forum is great,” said Baker. “I feel like these forums move our city in a more positive direction because sometimes a lot of light is shed more on negativity than positivity “

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