CLEVELAND - A new project is placing black men next to officers.
It’s called “Black and Blue, Side by Side.”
The project spearheaded by community member Al Wasco has been going on for a few months.
Tuesday night, the group decided to get together to host an event inviting members of the community and police officers to pose side by side.
The event was located at St. Paul’s Community Church on the west side of Cleveland.
While Wasco said the original plan was focused on getting black American men in photos with officers, anyone from the community was invited.
The police foundation is an official sponsor of the event and has invited Wasco’s organization to previous events.
Tuesday’s event was sponsored by the fledgling project.
In about a month and a half Wasco has had professional photographers taking pictures of police and citizens, several emotion-evoking images have emerged.
One such photo depicts the liaison to the police foundation pictured next to a young black boy.
Captain Keith Sulzer is accustomed to finding ways to connect community and police, but in this way the image of the connection will last forever.
The independent community building art project is expected to have an additional event in late October at the Cleveland School of the Arts.
A three-day workshop would teach students how to plan a photo shoot, take pictures and learn how to process and archive photos.
In this case, the students would be a part of the project by not only taking pictures, but hopefully by being the subjects of the photos with officers simultaneously.
Both Sulzer and Wasco say Tuesday’s event exceeded expectations with an estimated 100 attendees and approximately 60 photos taken.
In January, Wasco expects to open an exhibit somewhere in Cleveland, depicting at least 30 of the best pictures.
While ideas for soliciting opinions about how to actually ease community and police tensions are still in the works, Sulzer thinks community members and cops could write their thoughts on index cards and perhaps display them next to their photographs.