Rochester Community talks race, police and healing

Jaclyn Harold
Updated: August 28, 2020 11:28 PM
Created: August 28, 2020 06:19 PM

(ABC 6 News) - A little over three months ago we watched the world erupt with frustration and anger following the death of George Floyd.

Those same emotions are now taking over the streets of Kenosha Wisconsin.


"I try to shield my kids from the news like this," said Wale Elegbede, a Rochester father of three. 

As the world continues to confront the issues of racism and policing, some local parents are having a difficult time discussing these topics with their children.

"All cops are not racist. This profession is not racist," said Sergeant Paul Gronholz, with the Rochester Police Department. 

An officer-involved shooting in Kenosha is making headlines. In response, parents said they are exhausted from the continued violence they are seeing across the country and their children are also feeling the impacts.

"It breaks your heart when your kid, your seven-year-old kid says why do some white people hate us and why do they want to kill us," said Elegbede.

As difficult as it is for parents to hear these questions from their children, Sgt. Gronholz said it saddens him to know that children feel that way.

"What you see on TV is not indicative of every police officer," he said.

With videos and pictures so accessible, Clinical Psychologists Jessica Garcia said taking care of yourself is the key to helping and taking care of others.  

"If a parent is not even doing well enough to support themselves, they're not going to be able to effectively help their child," said Garcia. 

Sidney Frye II, a Rochester father of five said he focuses the conversation with his Black children around self-worth. He added that with the constant violence involving the Black community, he knows that conversation will possibly shift in the future. 

"Seeing these situations continually can kind of, it's a prompt really for me to like okay, we need to have that conversation," said Frye.

Officer Gronholz said he does believe that change is necessary and that when officers make mistakes they should be held accountable, but he also said each officer should be judged individually. 

"The general public doesn't necessarily know what officers go through every day, and social media has a lot to do with it too. People see this right away and officers don't even get a chance to try and explain what was going on," said Gronholz.

Dr. Garcia said seeing or hearing some of the traumatic issues circulating can have long term effects on everyone, and it is okay to take time to yourself to heal and move on from those feelings.


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