Hundreds of people filed into the Greenwood Cultural Center on Tuesday to listen to a panel of seven people talk about issues of race and policing. Here are the thoughts of five of those attendees on the current climate between police and the communities they serve.

johnny1 Johnny Young, former teacher and coach
“I feel like the world’s gone crazy, I mean, it’s happening all over the world. But as far as Tulsa, I’ve lived here 30 years and Tulsa’s a pretty good place. We try to get along, and there’s some racial differences, but I don’t feel like they’re as strong as some other places. They talk about how conservative Oklahoma is, but black people got a pretty good chance here. People are beginning to understand we have to communicate to make things better. Just talk about it before something happens. If I can walk up to you and talk to you and you smile and talk back to me, that’s a start.”

andreya1 Andreya Williams, event organizer
“I currently think the state of our nation, there’s a level of fear that some of the people in the African-American community are identifying with, and that fear is continuing to incite all other types of issues, i.e. Dallas, i.e. Baton Rouge. I think that is distorting the message that we do want to come to a peaceful resolve, but in light of things that have happened, when people are fearful they become threatened. And that works on the other side, when police officers feel threatened, it’s based out of their fear. I think what I’d like for Tulsa is for all parties to come together. What’s helpful is when it’s not just black people, and it’s not just north Tulsa, but when all people come together.”

dean1 Dean Finley, former Tulsa police officer
“We need accountability and transparency from the police. We just had the sheriff, who is the leader of a major city, who withheld information, and that causes people to mistrust the organization. Our criminal justice system needs accountability, and that’s all people are asking for. They’re not anti-police, just because you ask for accountability doesn’t make you anti-police. In my opinion, if the police are not going to be accountable for what they do, then the citizens have to do it.”

peggy1 Peggy Pianalto, We The People Oklahoma member
“I hope to hear some positive solutions to the situation. They had an officer say that ‘We are at war,’ that is an extremely disturbing statement. I’m tired of talk, talk, talk, and prayers. That’s all they do in this town, talk and pray, talk and pray. Every time there’s an incident, everyone rushes to have a vigil, which is fine, but there needs to be some action along with it … I can’t tell you how many vigils I’ve been to … nothing changes. I want action.”

Fabuola 1 Fabuola Barthelus, Tulsa Talks attendee
“I just want to see what steps they’re going to take in bringing unity to the community. I know there are some situations and concerns for the black community. I want to see what they’re going to do to improve Tulsa as a whole and how they’ll be open to understanding our concerns and the situation that’s going on day-to-day for the black community.”