Forum held in Bridgeport to discuss violence across the nation

Sen. Richard Blumenthal held a roundtable discussion with community leaders in Bridgeport Friday to talk about recent violence across the nation.

Officials said the meeting was held to ease tensions between the police and people of color. A cross-section of community leaders came together in the basement of East End Baptist Tabernacle. The meeting brought together lawmakers, community leaders, police and clergy.

Community activist Kate Rivera said the goal of the meeting was to make neighborhoods safer, create job opportunities and promote a better understanding between people of different backgrounds.

"The movement is not about being anti-police and pro-Black Lives. These are not mutually exclusive ideas. We can do both," said Rivera.

Police Chief AJ Perez said he is looking forward to working hand in hand with members of the clergy and public to avoid crises in the future.

Blumenthal said he is seeking new federal funding to help train police. Blumenthal also said people have more in common than they have in conflict, and it will take everybody working together to overcome the obstacles that divide people.

The next class coming out of the Bridgeport Police Academy will be the most racially diverse in the city's history, according to Perez. He added that kind of diversity will help chip away at the distrust between communities and the police.

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