WINSTON-SALEM, NC— The recent deaths of several Black citizens while in police custody—and the national protests that followed—make it clear that communication between law enforcement agencies and the communities they serve is vitally important.
In Winston-Salem, such an effort has been underway since 2011 in the form of the Trust Talks program. Womble Bond Dickinson attorney Sonny Haynes has been a leader and facilitator in these events and on June 26, she served as a panelist on the first virtual Trust Talks discussion. The event explored local racial inequality and social injustice issues, and included a number of community leaders, law enforcement officials and elected representatives.
“Tension between law enforcement and members of the community is nothing new, and certainly not limited to Winston-Salem. But the only way to improve things is to have an honest dialogue, even if those conversations aren’t always comfortable,” Haynes said.
Haynes has been a member of the City of Winston-Salem Human Relations Commission since 2013. The Human Relations Commission and the city’s Human Relations Department facilitate the Trust Talks discussions.