RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – All day Thursday at both Shaw University and North Carolina Central University, parents and students were busy unloading cars and carrying in bags and boxes into dorms. 

In a way it marked the beginning of the fall semester.

Cameron Emery is a junior at North Carolina Central and was a part of the move-in crew.

“Still, we are keeping it COVID safe by making sure everyone is checking in and still going at the times they are supposed to,” Emery said.

Emery is from Illinois and miles away from home. He said he always makes sure to keep his parents’ advice in mind.

Even the advice, and remembering, the difficult conversation his parents had with him as a young black man about interactions with law enforcement.

“We always knew that law enforcement is someone that you respect,” Emery said. “We always make sure that we respected them, and they gave us respect.”

It is a conversation that was the focus of a virtual town hall Thursday evening.

“I need you to get home so you can continue on to whatever you want to do with your life,” BJ Council said.

Council is a retired deputy police chief in Durham and founder of You and Five-O.

You and Five-O is an organization focused on community policing and safe interactions between law enforcement and communities.

Thursday evening Council, along with Kinston Police Captain Kevin Jenkins and Dr. Erin Moore, the Executive Director of the Center for Racial and Social Justice at Shaw University, came together for the virtual town hall.

The goal was to inform people, especially young black and brown people, about how to interact with law enforcement.

The session also focused on providing HBCU students going back to school with the tools to interact safely with law enforcement, too.

“Comply and then complain. We don’t need to hold court on the side of the road,” Capt. Jenkins said. “It’s not saying that you’re guilty. Not all police officers are bad. So, when a police officer comes to your car don’t immediately get defensive.”

While the town hall talked about solutions and scenarios, it also embraced the past.

“That difficult conversation that we all have to have, and we have to own the history of law enforcement,” Council said.