Shoals organization looks to overcome stigma between law enforcement & Black community through youth outreach


SHEFFIELD, Ala. — From Darkness to Light is the name of a community youth outreach event that will take place at the Sterling Boulevard Church of Christ on Halloween.

Event organizer Chris Garner said the purpose of the event is to allow people with differing views to come together and learn from one another.

“I think everybody has a shrewd comment about people because people want to use their own comments, but this is giving everybody a chance to have a voice,” Garner said. “If everybody gets to see a lot of different perspectives, everybody gets to gain a different perspective for themselves.”

One partnering organization with the event is the Kaiden Garner Project, founded in honor of the Florence toddler whose life was tragically taken in 2020.

Organization vice president Eartis Bridges said the founders, one of whom worked with the late Sergeant Nick Risner at the Sheffield Police Department, are wanting to use Sunday’s event and Sergeant Risner’s service and example to reach out to the area’s minority youth to help overcome stigma between law enforcement and the Black community.

“I felt it necessary that we take advantage of the opportunity, the Darkness to Light event that we’re getting ready to put on, that it’s ok to wear a uniform because, in the Black community, that’s a big stigma. Our kids not wanting to be law enforcement agents,” Bridges said. “In order to bridge the gap, we got to stop waiting on other people to do something that we could do for ourselves.”

Bridges said when you invest in the youth, you can help correct mistakes in the community and keep history from repeating itself.

The event begins Sunday afternoon at 3 p.m. Organizers said to expect an exciting day with food, games, live music, and a trunk-or-treat.

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