In Joplin, as in many other cities across the nation, the reaction continues to the death of George Floyd while in police restraint in Minneapolis last week.
In Joplin on Saturday, members and supporters of the group “Joplin for Justice” gathered in Ewert Park to express their feelings about the tragedy.
“We are still developing as a group,” said Dola Flake, who helps lead the effort. “We are hearing and talking with our community. Our efforts are going to be related to policy and training when it comes to diversity. We are specifically interested in our local police department and our local school system,” she stated.
She says she wants to make diversity a group effort in Joplin.
“We are inviting them to come on board and teach our community how to be more inclusive, how to be more self-aware and recognize our own biases so we can do better,” she states.
Flake, who is from Joplin but works in Springfield as a diversity coordinator at Missouri State University, says she became involved after a recent gathering at 7th and Range Line.
Joplin Police Chief Sloan Rowland spoke to the local residents who turned out. He says Joplin has not experienced the problems between the races seen in some other cities.
“From the police department side, we see very few racially-motivated complaints in Joplin come through,” Rowland commented. “We don’t have a lot of bad interactions in our community. It’s a great community, a great place to live.”