ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — National Faith & Blue Weekend is happening October 8-11, 2021, and it’s the largest police-community outreach event in U.S. history. A crowd of law enforcement agencies met at the State Capitol to share why they’re urging communities to join forces in bridging relationships.

With escalating crime and ongoing tensions between police and the community, organizers of National Faith & Blue Weekend say building trust and relationships is vital. “It’s the idea that the two pillars of the community: the faith community and law enforcement, when they work together, we have strong inclusive and safe neighborhoods,” said Jared Feuer, the executive director of National Faith & Blue Weekend. “As long as we have some people in one corner yelling, ‘Our lives matter,’ and a different group of Americans in difference corners yelling ‘Our lives matter,’ there’s very little good that we can achieve,” said Faith & Blue CEO and Founder Reverend Markel Hutchins. “There’s been too much loud noise about the problems and not enough loud voices about the solutions.”

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Hutchins said there are 200 National Faith & Blue weekends planned in Georgia and more than 2,000 across the country this weekend. He also indicated the movement has reached 46 out of the 50 states. It’s a large scale effort to address the mounting issues causing division, including excessive use of force cases. “This is an issue that cannot be left to just law enforcement to solve and likewise cannot be left to the community to solve, said Georgia Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Director Butch Ayers.

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Calls for accountability have resulted in calls to defund police. “The only way we can hold them accountable is we have to support them,” Hutchins said. “We embrace the fact that we need to be held accountable, and we want to do that and we’re listening to you. But we also need to know who’s coming to your mom’s house at two o’clock in the morning when she has a crisis,” said Covington Police Chief Stacey Cotton. “It’s not enough to simply protest and march and demonize and bastardize one another. We have to find a way to sit at tables of brotherhood and sisterhood,” said Hutchins.

They’re urging faith-based and community organizations to stand with law enforcement. “The more they understand your heartfelt thoughts, your heartfelt motivations, the more they begin the trust you when they know you’re in it for the right reasons,” said DeKalb County Police Chief Mirtha Ramos.

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For a list of National Faith & Blue Weekend events, click here.