‘Walking While Black’ Starts Conversation with Police, Community

‘Walking While Black’ Starts Conversation with Police, Community

Rich Reynolds and know exactly that heart-pounding moment when the blue lights flash behind them and are forced to pull over. They also know the questions: Where are you going? Is this your car?

And that’s exactly why both leant their voices for A.J. Ali’s documentary “Walking While Black: L.O.V.E. is the Answer.”  The film will be part of the Maryland International Film Festival-Hagerstown’s lineup followed by a Q&A session lead by Kerry Cahill, “The Walking Dead” actress and Gold Star family member. It will be shown at 3:45 p.m. April 28, at The Maryland Theatre in downtown Hagerstown.

Reynolds grew up in Silver Spring, Md., where he experienced racial profiling when he was younger. Today, he’s a police officer and serves with the Community Engagement Division of Montgomery County Police Department in Gaithersburg, Md. It’s because of his involvement with the division that he became a part of the film.

‘Walking While Black’ Starts Conversation with Police, Community

Steve Fitzhugh

“I really enjoy the fact that it really gets people talking about overall issues in the community, and police involvement, police interactions, community interactions, racial interactions,” he said. “It really gets people thinking outside the box and gets people communicating.”

‘Walking While Black’ Starts Conversation with Police, Community

Kerry Cahill

Fitzhugh is a motivation speaker, author and former NFL player. He also makes an appearance in the film. He got involved when he was part of Shooting for Peace, which held 100 assemblies thought one week with police officers. Ali was in Baltimore filming when they met.

He said the problem can be fixed by opening communication.

“It is obviously a multifaceted issue in America, where a variety of response and a variety of perspectives and opinions gives them a catalyst to generate discussion and conversation,” he said. “There is no way we that we can begin to heal without building relationships, and relationships won’t happen if we’re not talking to one and another.”

Cahill said she’s honored to be part of the Q&A.

“We just need to start understanding each other so that we can get to common ground. I think it’s really important when you get a chance to be part of something like this to bridge a gap, or help people understand something more, you should take that chance,” she said.

Fitzhugh believes the cycle can be broken, pointing to the fact that “L.O.V.E.” is in the title.

“I think love is the solution and it is the answer,” he said.

To find out more about “Walking While Black,” go to http://walkingwhileblackthemovie.com. To find out more about MDIFF-H, go to http://marylandiff.net 

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