DEA St. Louis Division celebrates African-American Heritage
Involves local students, Girl Scouts, retired St. Louis police officer
ST. LOUIS – The Drug Enforcement Administration St. Louis Division hosted a Black History Month celebration event entitled “R.I.S.E. to the Occasion” today with St. Louis area high schools and Girl Scouts participating.
“R.I.S.E.,” which stands for Representation, Identity, Success, and Evolution, celebrates African-American history and heritage. The keynote speaker was retired police Captain Charles L. Alphin, Sr., a St. Louis native who served as a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department police officer for more than 26 years. He is now the director of the Global Nonviolence Conference Series and works in partnership with The King Center in Atlanta.
The Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Troop 196 opened the day’s event with posting of the colors. The troop is made up of girls whose mothers are incarcerated. Normandy, Maplewood Richmond Heights, and Ritenour High Schools presented artwork for the attendees.
Captain Alphin spoke about his time in St. Louis, where he became one of the first officers of African-American descent in 1965, comparing it with law enforcement today. “It’s tough being a police officer in 2020. It’s dangerous,” he said. He also talked about his current position, where he trains in Kingian Nonviolence. “People interpret the word nonviolence to be the opposite of violence. It’s the cure for violence,” he noted. “Nonviolence is loving the unlovable, giving people dignity who don’t deserve it.” He finished by commenting about the potential that St. Louis has to overcome its problems.
DEA St. Louis Division Special Agent in Charge William J. Callahan talked about the DEA’s strategy in combating drug trafficking by partnering with organizations in communities.
“In an effort to confront racial discrimination through greater understanding, we encourage our agents and task force officers, who are local police officers assigned to our division, to take part in community events,” said Special Agent in Charge Callahan. “At DEA, in particular here in the St. Louis metro, we seek to confront the past while addressing the needs and concerns of the African-American community today and into the future.”
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