A Facebook post by an Arkansas woman challenging people to reach out to police officers and have an honest conversation has gone viral.
Tiffany Sharell Block was in the gym one morning when she says God told her to talk to a police officer and “extend love,” Today reported.
Block, who is African-American, admitted she was reluctant at first. Tensions were at an all-time high as the moment came shortly after the tragic shooting of five Dallas police officers.
But when Block came across a parked police patrol vehicle in the parking lot of a grocery store, she felt compelled to follow her instincts.
Block took to Facebook to write about her encounter with Officer Heath Edens. She wrote:
While at the gym this morning the Lord spoke some powerful words to me and gave me a challenge. Yes black lives matter, yes all lives matter but the Lord said the one thing that trumps it all is love. Let’s start a #lovemattersmovement. God told me to go and talk with a police officer and extend love. I didn’t want to do this. It required me to get out of my comfort zone. So, I told God that if there was an opportunity that I would but I wasn’t going to go look for it. Well, I pulled into the grocery store parking lot and guess who was sitting in their vehicle??? So I did what God told me to do and a 30 minute conversation ensued with Officer Eden. He told me all about his career and some daily challenges. We got to know each other. I told him how my children were now afraid of the police. So, he talked with them and gave them badges. We must start the conversation, to build relationships, to break down walls.. Let’s have the hard conversations guys…. with our friends of different ethnicities, our city leaders/officials, the pastors in our communities. Tear these walls down! Let’s extend love. Challenge yourself…. Move out of your comfort zone. Let’s make this trend…. #lovematters
Block’s post quickly went viral, being shared more than 35,000 times.
Edens spoke with Today about his time with Block. He said he gave her daughters junior police badges, and called their conversation “an overall positive experience.”
“I think us just standing there and talking and learning about each other is exactly what needs to happen,” Edens said. “Especially in this world we’re living in today.”
Block now hopes the “#lovemattersmovement” will continue to spread.
“This isn’t something that takes a whole lot of effort,” Block said. “It’s about that person you see in the grocery store who looks different than you — say hey, how are you doing today?”