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South Bend voices on public safety and justice to be heard in the nation's capital

A diverse group of South Bend community members held honest talks Tuesday on topics ranging from community policing to race relations.

Students from Wabash College and the Kettering Foundation organized round table discussions at the Charles Martin Youth Center to brainstorm solutions for public safety and justice concerns.

“Different experiences and different perspectives, who don’t always agree but they can come to the table and hear each other’s voices,” said Anthony Douglas, the program’s facilitator.

From parents, to police, to council members, many voices had a seat at the table Tuesday.

They all shared opinions that would soon be shared with an audience in the nation’s capital.

“The report from these conversations will be taken to Washington D.C. on May 9th to share with congressional staffers and different agencies,” said Douglas.

South Bend was chosen as the first of a handful of Hoosier cities part of this conversation.

“The diversity of the table is indicative of our city, and what we’re hoping to do is get the power dynamic as diverse as our city,” said resident Antonius North.

And that diversity is what South Bend police encourage.

“You can’t get anything accomplished if everybody’s the same,” said South Bend Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski.

That was true Tuesday night as well, as those varying voices tackled tough but needed talks.

“What is the underlying issues that nobody wants to address, either afraid to or don’t care to, and I think this is a great stepping stone a great foundation to further even more in depth conversations,” said Chief Ruszkowski.

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