Wichita activists respond to backlash from Black Lives Matter chapter in DC

Posted: Updated:

Community activists in Wichita are catching heat from the Black Lives Matter chapter in Washington, D.C. for the First Steps Cookout, which replaced a protest on Sunday.

"This wasn't just a fanfare event. This was definitely something that we wanted to bring to everybody's attention. Now that we have their attention, we want to educate them on how to do those things. We want to be able to get everybody to vote," said AJ Bohannon, community activist.

Bohannon and Djuan Wash were among the community activists who helped to co-organize the First Steps Cookout with the Wichita Police Department.

"I think it was a right first step for our community to take, for the opportunity for the chief to come out and make public commitments. We've never had a Chief of Police that has come out and has been as accessible and as available as Chief Ramsay has been, so I think it was something that was good for our community," said Wash.

But on Wednesday, the Black Lives Matter DC group shared a viral video of the cookout in Wichita and tweeted, "THIS IS NOT AN OFFICIAL #BlackLivesMatter CHAPTER! THIS IS NOT IN LINE WITH OUR PRINCIPLES. @Blklivesmatter."

Tweets from the group on Friday explained further:

"Let us be clear. Our statement about BLM BBQ's with police was a direct response to the tons of people and orgs who were upset by the event." 

"First, we clarified it wasn't a BLM Network event. Second, we assured folks our principles were still focused on dismantling the system."

"We must resist the temptation to accept mere appearances of change that are not intentional about dismantling actual systems of oppression."

Two of the community activists in Wichita responded to the tweets.

"Of course we're in line with Black Lives Matter principles, because black lives matter," said Wash. "We want people to stop killing us and then getting away with it. We want accountability for folks' actions."

"I just want to put it on record that we are not affiliated with Black Lives Matter. We do share some of the same issues and some of the same concerns, but we are not officially affiliated with them," said Bohannon.

Wash and Bohnnaon said the next steps are to encourage people to vote and hold leaders accountable for promises that they have made to the community, such as an independent prosecutor to review officer involved shootings. 

  • Most Popular Stories

    • Drivers say contaminated diesel causing thousands of dollars in damage

      At least a dozen of you called KAKE News On Your Side Investigates, saying the fuel at one pump is costing them thousands and thousands of dollars in damage. 

    • Woman killed in shooting near Andover

      Deputies were called just after 10:30 p.m. Wednesday to a shooting in the 3200 block of North 159th Street East.

    • Police looking for man using stolen credit cards

      Police say he came in several times with different women, each time he used a stolen credit card to buy hundreds of dollars worth of items. 

    • Haysville motorcycle crash leaves two people in critical condition

      Ronnie Kondo has lived in the same, quiet, Haysville neighborhood for nearly 8 years now and he said accidents like this one happen all the time. “It’s a huge blind spot. If you’re speeding, there’s no time to react to anything,” Kondo said. 

    • Family of Ashley Meiss claim "foul play"

      National headlines continue to follow the disappearance of Kansas veteran Ashley Meiss. The mother of two was last seen in Ogden, Kansas on May 18th.  Initially, Ashley's family thought her on-going battle with PTSD, bouts of depression and pending divorce drove her to escape.  Now that doesn't look to be the story.

    • 2 critically hurt in crash in Haysville

      Dispatch confirms two people have suffered critical injuries in an accident that occurred near Timbercreek and Seneca, in Haysville. 

    • 911 caller told to put dog in truck; dog later found dead

      Police in Hutchinson, Kansas, say a dog died inside a sweltering animal control truck due to bad advice from a 911 dispatcher and lack of communication to animal control staff. 

    • Union says Spirit AeroSystems is overworking employees

      A local union says the city's largest employer, Spirit AeroSystems, is asking too much from its workers.

    • MGN Online

      Kansas priest defrocked after child sex abuse allegations

      Archbishop Joseph Naumann issued a decree in December removing the Rev. John Wisner from the clergy. 

    • Human remains found inside coffin at building being renovated in Derby

      Derby police are investigating after construction crews found what appear to be human remains inside an old coffin.