MLK TEEN PEACE AND JUSTICE SUMMIT TO HOST LOCAL PREMIERE OF FILM ON POLICE-COMMUNITY RELATIONS

In a unique partnership, local civic and religious groups have teamed up with law enforcement officials and an award-winning filmmaker to spark discussion in Bucks County about building stronger relationships between police and the communities they serve.

Part of the 7th Annual MLK Teen Peace and Justice Summit, this year’s summit Planning Committee has joined with the Police Chiefs’ Association of Bucks County, the Bucks County District Attorney’s Office and the Bensalem Police Department to bring the film "WALKING WHILE BLACK: L.O.V.E. is the Answer” to Bucks County for the first time. The film by director A.J. Ali shines a light on the importance of reconciliation and healing between police and other members of the community.

The summit, a yearly event held on the weekend honoring the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., is set to begin at 4:00 p.m. Jan. 19 with a showing of the film in the auditorium of Bensalem High School, 4319 Hulmeville Rd, Bensalem, PA 19020. Group discussions will follow, during which participants will be invited to share perspectives and their ideas for building a better understanding between law enforcement and the community.

The program is intended to reach high school-age students as well as mature 7th and 8th graders, and is also open to the public. The event includes a pizza dinner for all students. Those who plan to attend are asked to register at www.thepeacecenter.org.

“Bucks County’s police officers are collectively the fairest and best in the business. But we in law enforcement must always be sensitive to public perceptions of our officers, especially negative ones,” said District Attorney Matthew D. Weintraub. “By partnering with our county’s police chiefs to locally premier this film to students and police officers together at the MLK Teen Summit, we are proactively demonstrating our desire to talk about these critical police perception issues with the public they serve. By viewing this film together, our community-police relations will only grow stronger than they already are.”

WALKING WHILE BLACK: L.O.V.E. Is The Answer - Official Trailer

Featuring interviews with peace officers, faith leaders, educators, students, activists and others, “WALKING WHILE BLACK: L.O.V.E. Is the Answer” offers an inspiring blueprint to improved police-community relations as well as improving relations between people in the community overall.

The film presents proven action steps to bridge the painful gap existing between peace officers and the communities they serve. L.O.V.E. is an acronym for Learn about the community and the people in it, Open your heart to the humanity of people in the community, Volunteer yourself to be part of the solution in their lives, and Empower others to do the same.

 “I’m very excited about District Attorney Matthew Weintraub’s commitment to spreading peace, reconciliation, and love in Bucks County with the first ever Universal Lifetime License for any county in America,” said A.J. Ali, Director and Producer of the film. "I’m also excited about the enthusiastic support being given by Director of Public Safety Fred Harran and the Bensalem Police Department, the Police Chiefs’ Association of Bucks County, The Peace Center, and other groups. L.O.V.E. Is the Answer isn’t just a catch phrase. L.O.V.E. is a way of life that has transformative power to heal people and invigorate communities. I can’t wait to see what L.O.V.E. does in Bucks County."

The event is a partnership of civic and religious organizations, schools and include the following sponsors:  Bensalem, Bristol Township, Centennial, Central Bucks, Neshaminy, and Pennridge School Districts, the Bucks County Commissioners, Bucks County Intermediate Unit, Bucks County Jewish Coalition, Bucks Learning Cooperative, Jack and Jill Bucks County Chapter), The Peace Center, NAACP, Second Baptist Church of  Doylestown, Stark and Stark,  Stern and Eisenberg, Temple Judea of Bucks County, Rise Up Doylestown, The Neshaminy Federation of Teachers, The Links (Bucks County Chapter), Trinity Episcopal Church, Bucks County Human Relations Council and the YWCA Bucks County.

In the event of inclement weather on Jan. 19, the program will take place one week later on Sunday, Jan. 26.

MLK Summit Contacts: Barbara Simmons, Co-Chair, MLK Teen Summit, The Peace Center, 215.750.7220 or 215-833-7877, bsimmons@thepeacecenter.org; Jerel Wohl, Co-Chair, MLK Teen Summit, 215.219.9374, jerel.wohl@gmail.com

DAO Contact: James O’Malley, 215.348.6298, jtomalley@buckscounty.org