A new group has formed combining the minds of nine local organizations. Community Coalition Group (CCG) began meeting around August of this year, said NAACP President John Douglas and Alonzo Allen. The goal of the coalition is for Georgetown and Scott County to work and create an environment of inclusion, diversity and equality for all citizens.
“After the march in Georgetown—one of the race relations march(es)—John and I got together to talk about what was next,” Allen said. “We didn’t see a whole lot on the horizon that clearly showed what were some of the next steps.”
With a lot of social groups around Georgetown, CCG sought to organize the energy and form a collective focus, he said.
“We want it to be a positive example of people wanting to come together, respectfully listening, communicating, and continuing improving our community and world,” Allen said.
The social groups that have been around Georgetown for some time, and the ones that have recently formed all have individual focuses, he said. CCG pulled representatives from each group, allowing for those to be informed of the events around town and take information back to their individual organizations.
“The Community Coalition team played a key role as they collected feedback regarding community issues and concerns,” Allen said. “Then they shared those topics with the Community Coalition team. So, we pulled this group together and just said, ‘OK. What are you guys seeing? What are you feeling? What are you seeing here in Georgetown?’
“We just let everybody put everything on the table. All concerns, comments, everything. Once we got all those comments, we went through and we sub-divided those comments, we found that there were three common good themes. Law enforcement issues. City and county government issues. And education issues.”
Subcommittees within CCG take the information gathered in meetings and study trends, history, policies and practices with ‘subject matter experts.’
Subject matter experts include individuals within each of the common identified themes such as: Georgetown Police Chief Michael Bosse, Scott County Sheriff Tony Hampton, Georgetown Mayor Tom Prather, Scott County Judge-Executive Joe Pat Covington and Scott County Schools Superintendent Kevin Hub.
“The purpose here was to work through these items and subcommittees, come up with improvement plans, and go back to this coalition team with the improvement plan and recommendations,” he said. “And then from there the coalition team, once we identified the recommendations, got those thing implemented, the coalition team was to create feedback looped to their own groups to keep that group informed. That’s how we tried to spread what we were doing throughout the community, kind of keep the community informed of our activity.”
Building strong community relationships is important to CCG, while having a longterm goal of staying engaged, Allen said.
So far, the group has met with Prather and Covington to talk about city and county government, Douglas said.
Both men have been a part of every meeting the coalition has had, Allen said.
“We’ve made them a part of this process,” Allen said. “They have been extremely supportive.”
The group is also working on ways to improve the relationship with the community and law enforcement.
Douglas provided the example of a ‘routine traffic stop.’
“What’s expected from the police when he’s getting out of his car,” he asked. “What’s expected from the person being stopped? Sometimes those are wide apart when it should be kind of general in nature. So, by knowing what this person expects, it makes that conversation a lot easier.”
In meeting with the police department, CCG was able to participate in a decision-based simulation program, which opened a needed dialogue, Allen said.
“From (the simulation) we’ve seen that we can work together,” he said. “Officer Christopher and Officer Hill have been very open to working together with us, as well as chief of police and the sheriff.”
Having law enforcement work with the community is important, Allen said.
CCG plans to meet with Superintendent Hub and his staff in the coming weeks to discuss education. The group has sent over talking points to Hub so that the conversation may be on the same line and preparation can be made.
“We did that because we didn’t want to get into an area where we’re bringing people in (and) they felt like it was gotcha questions,” Allen said. “We’re looking for good dialogue and that is what we’ve gotten so far.”
James Scogin can be reached at email@example.com.