Derrik Anderson, Director of Race Matters for Juvenile Justice, and Captain Dave Johnson of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department were only four months into Class 16 of CBI’s signature program, the Leadership Development Initiative (LDI) when they met in the midst of the uprising.
Knowing what was happening at that moment–and why–you would not expect to see the connection between two people who could be considered as representative of the conflict between the African American community and the police. Instead, they came together, with the relationship and skills that they were gaining in partnership through CBI’s LDI program. What their relationship allowed to happen–or even prevented from happening–may never be known or recorded.
As we approach the one-year anniversary of the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, the CBI team reached out to Anderson and Johnson to hear firsthand what this moment meant for them. Here are their responses:
Derrik Anderson (Director of Race Matters for Juvenile Justice):
Sometimes the Universe has a way of planning unforgettable and unexpected events and experiences that can be defining moments in our lives.
Captain Dave Johnson (CMPD):
On this night, I had already walked several miles through uptown, alongside and among the demonstrators. My job was to facilitate a safe environment for people to exercise their right to free speech while trying to engage people in constructive conversation. The first objective was proving much more easily attained than the second. The vitriolic chants being spewed about my city, my profession, my department and my brothers and sisters in blue were becoming increasingly difficult to process. When I saw Derrik’s familiar face (and beard) among the chaos, we exchanged smiles, handshakes, hugs, and sincere words of encouragement. That momentary encounter reminded me there were community members out on the streets with us that week working towards a common goal of bringing this whole episode to a safe, peaceful resolution. Refreshed and reenergized, I finished the night with several more miles of escorting the crowd, a clearer understanding of my purpose and a galvanized resolve to work towards making Charlotte a better place for everyone.