WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - In Southeast D.C. on Saturday, a group of children caused a stir as they backed-up traffic along Southern Avenue.
It was all in an effort to prove that police and their communities can have positive relationships.
"Because they want to make me safe and the whole world safe,” said 7-year-old Sanryah.
Her mother called her daughter and several other Malcolm X Elementary students “leaders.”
"You're leading by example. You're giving an opportunity for others to become a part of it,” said Sanryah’s mother, Geneva Heyward.
On Saturday, the elementary school drum line and cheerleaders turned heads as they marched from the Southern Avenue Metro Station to Oxon Run Park. The students shook pom-pom’s and drummed down Southern Avenue with members of the D.C.’s, Metro Transit and Prince George's County Police Departments.
It’s called a Beyond Borders Walk to show neighbors that police and the youngsters can work together.
Some of the parents said they hoped to discuss concerns about police distrust surrounding high profile shootings of unarmed black men in the news. They're also concerned about the high volume of crime around the Southeast D.C.-Maryland border.
"Like anything else, police and civilians, there’s good and bad. We all human. You have bad apples,” Dave Williams said. “We've got to try to bring, try to get a better look at the community because the community is in a state of upheaval. Stuff happened that shouldn't happen and people are getting shot and civilians are getting shot and it seems like there's nothing being done about it.”
On the other side were some of the same concerns.
"A lot has changed, policing has changed that's why we're trying to make a change here,” said Cpl. Gonzalez with the Prince George’s County Police Department.
"We're also human. Everyone makes mistakes, every profession makes mistakes, but we're human and we're professional,” said Cpl. Mike Garner, also with PGPD. “We're out here to do a job and we're out here to serve and protect this community and we do it proudly.”
Both got to openly talk about it and see one another in somewhat of a different light, including D.C.'s Acting Police Chief, Peter Newsham, who was filmed on camera getting to know a Southeast community member.
“Hi Petey. My name's Petey too,” said Newsham, petting a four-legged Pete he had just met.
"What's going on in the country and the only person I can see really handling it is us. It starts here with our young ones with the positive thing,” said Ella Toon, a Parent Professional at Malcolm X Elementary School.
A small cook-out and softball game pitting MPD against PGPD followed the march.
Police-community leaders said they’ve been holding the march for years, even though there were a lot of parents and police participating for the first time.
While at the event, Newsham answered questions on the D.C. police-involved shooting of Terrance. He said he’ll make all of the case information public once the U.S. Attorney's Office makes a determination on the case.
He also said police work is 365-days of the year and that’s why he decided to join community members in their march and event Saturday.