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All Lives Matter Extravaganza scheduled

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The organizer of a the local All Lives Matter Extravaganza said the recent fatal shootings of two black men by police in Louisiana and Minnesota and the deadly attack on officers in Dallas underscores the need for this upcoming event.

The second annual All Lives Matter Extravaganza and school supply give-away is from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Ruston Civic Center. The event is free and open to the public.

“Everything that is negative going on in our state and country right now, we need to continue to build relationships. We have to peacefully get along,” Antarian Griffin, of Ruston, said.

The All Lives Matter Extravaganza aims to bring law enforcement officers and community members together for an evening of games, food, music and intentional ice breakers that pair officers and residents of various neighborhoods together.

More than 500 people attended last year’s first extravaganza.

Griffin calls the event one of “bridging gaps and building relationships.”

“We want to give people hope,” he said. “We have to show we are trying to bridge the gap.”

During the extravaganza, Ruston police will demonstrate how to properly respond to a traffic stop and parish Sheriff Mike Stone will answer questions from the audience.

Stone applauded Griffin for organizing the event.

“I appreciate his reaching out. I hope we have a big, big, big crowd,” Stone said.

He said law enforcement wants to get the message out that “we’re here to serve and protect and help. That’s what we want to do.”

Stone said he hopes attendees come “in the spirit of listening and communicating.”

“We need to be on the same page with officers and the community and just listen,” he said.

Griffin, a Union Parish native and dean of students at D’Arbonne Woods Charter School in Farmerville, said he hadn’t planned to do an event this year but changed his mind when people began asking for one.

“It’s definitely a need,” he said.

Griffin is seeking partnerships with area churches, civic groups and businesses to help with the event. He’s also seeking school supply donations.

Last year, he gave away more than 300 packets of supplies. This year, he wants to add Lincoln Parish School uniforms to the list.

“There are positive things going on in the world,” Griffin said.

He said he wants to the nation to see how in Lincoln Parish “black lives, blue lives, purple lives, all lives are all coming together.”

Anyone interested in helping with the event can contact Griffin at antariang@yahoo.com, through Facebook or by calling 318-278-3766.

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