ITHACA, N.Y. — The Ithaca Police Department is hosting its second annual community barbecue from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at the Southside Community Center.

Police Chief John Barber said the event began to be planned for this summer since at least 100 people attended the first barbecue last October.

“We’ve been planning that for months,” he said. “By far, this is one of the best events for us to get to know the community better and engage the community.”

The event is sponsored by a grant and businesses who are providing burgers, hot dogs, snacks, a bounce house and other activities for children, as well as door prizes.

The barbecue is happening eight days after more than 500 people flooded the streets of Ithaca to protest police brutality and racism in the community, sparked by the shooting death of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana last week.

During the rally and march, organizers called for the defunding of IPD and alternatives to traditional policing. 

Barber, who attended the rally, said he invites people concerned about community relationships with police to come to the event and meet himself and other officers.

Barber said. “Break bread with us. That’s a great way to build a relationship.”

Jolene Almendarez

Jolene Almendarez is Managing Editor at The Ithaca Voice. She can be reached at jalmendarez@ithacavoice.com; you can learn more about her at the links in the top right of this box.