Wilmington mayor reacts to Ferguson decision during Thanksgiving event

 (Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

(Nichelle Polston/WHYY)

Some Delaware residents were in for a special treat thanks to a united group of community leaders who raised more than enough money to hand out 2,500 turkeys to families.

Norman Oliver who started the holiday tradition 32 years ago in Wilmington said this is the first time the food drive was spread statewide. That was made possible when representatives of Jefferson Awards Foundation, the Charter School of Wilmington Jefferson Council, the Farnan Law Firm, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. and other groups came together to raise funds for the event.

“I’m honored; it’s good to see people smiling. I really didn’t realize that the event was going to do well like this,” said Oliver of CEO of Nor Enterprises.

Mayor Dennis Williams greeted residents at Herlihy Apartments in Wilmington which was one of many stops where turkeys were delivered.

“It feels very good. We are our Brother’s keeper. Anytime you can help someone, it’s beneficial. That’s one of the reasons why I’m in public service….to help people,” Williams said.

Brown verdict felt at event

The event was a breath of fresh air for many in the black community who are disappointed in the Grand Jury verdict that lead to no indictment for Darren Wilson, a white police officer who shot and killed an unarmed African-American teenager, Michael Brown. However, Williams, a former police officer doesn’t believe the verdict will take away from plans to strengthen community policing in Wilmington.

“What people in Ferguson need to do is all get registered to vote, clean slate and turn the place around,” Williams added.

Early this year, a racial sensitivity training was conducted at the Wilmington Police Department since it tends to be tension in many urban communities that are heavily populated by Blacks and patrolled mostly by White police officers. In regards to the unrest in Ferguson, the mayor weighed in more on that situation.

“I think one of the biggest problems there is police and community relations and also the political relationship with the constituency,” Williams said.

In the meantime, while many including Williams can certainly understand the frustration in Ferguson, officials continue to work hard to build better community relations and the Turkey drive serves as an example of that in Delaware.

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