March 20, 2018
Serving Up Connections
By: John A. Carlos II
Nestled between the empty shops of Richland Mall, Law enforcement personnel, political leaders, and supporters gathered on Monday morning, to hear the new vision for the future, of Heroes in Blue. The organization Heroes In Blue, was founded two years ago by Kassy Alia, after the tragic death of her husband Greg Alia a Forest Acres police officer was shot and killed on Sept. 30, 2015.
Mere steps away from the site “of the greatest tragedy and loss I could ever imagine" Kassy Alia took the stage for Monday's press conference. When she started Heroes In Blue, she created it "to highlight the outstanding acts of service (by police) that happen every day and sometimes went unnoticed," said Alia "But if we want to end divisiveness, it's going to take more than that."
To grow into something new the organization is changing its name to Serve & Connect to better reflect the message of the group moving forward, their focus for Serve & Connect will be to increase partnerships between the law enforcement, and the communities that they serve helping to foster a positive change in the community. "When police and the community work together, life is better," Alia said " I have seen glimmers of the world that I hope for. A world that is not divided, but connected over shared humanity."
Alia was joined at the event by Alana Simmons. Simmons formed the organization Hate Won't Win, after her grandfather, Rev. Danie Simmons, was one of nine parishioners killed at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston. "I understand better than most the heart it takes to do this kind of work daily," she said of Alia's efforts. "Hate is something that is very much still alive, and if we want to stop it, we have to deal with it," she said “It’s just amazing what can happen if you use your voice, and then use your heart behind your voice, and that’s why I’m so honored to be here today,”
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