The nation's oldest civil rights organization, the NAACP, and Illinois police officials announced Thursday an agreed upon resolution they say took years to hash out. The "affirmation of shared principles" was inspired in part by the death of Michael Brown, who was shot and killed by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri in 2014.
The resolution was presented at the Old State Capitol, the same place Abraham Lincoln made his "House Divided" speech. Springfield was home to the President known as "The Great Emancipator” - but it's also where the 1908 so-called "race riots" resulted in lynchings - which helped give birth to the NAACP.
Teresa Haley is the NAACP's Illinois chapter leader and said meetings with law enforcement are a step in the right direction. "We want to make sure that we are committed to de-escalation training, not only for police officers, but for members of our communities. We want you to know what's respectful and what's not respectful when you're stopped by a police officer," she said.
James Kruger, President of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, said input was gathered through meetings across the state. "What we learned, was that the more we worked together, the more we understand that we all want the very same thing - to live in safe communities where everyone can live out the American dream - and live up to their full potential," he told those in attendance, including police officers from across the state. Kruger says both police and residents need to broaden the scope of their relationships and work together to build "shared values."
There were ten principles listed in all, which include ideas like: "value the life of every person"; "reject discrimination"; and "build and rebuild trust." Haley says more town halls and meetings will be planned to keep the conversations between police and people of color, as well as other concerned parties, going. Read the resolution, here.