DALLAS -- It's not uncommon today to witness a war of words on our streets, but when it boils over into a barrage of bullets the obvious question is: how can the city move forward?
"This is just unfortunate that we find ourselves in this situation, but it is reflective of what is going on in our country," Toni Brinker Pickens said.
In Dallas, our wake up call may have come with Thursday night's ambush, but for Pickens it came two years ago in New York City.
"I heard something on the streets and moved over toward the window and heard, 'What do you want?' 'Dead cops!' 'When do you want it?' 'Right now!'" she said, remembering the protest marches following the death of Florida teen Trayvon Martin.
At that time, Pickens decided the gap between Police and the public needed to be bridged. Shortly after, Operation Blue Shield was born.
"I'm aware there are issues from the citizens' perspective and aware there are issues from law enforcement perspective," she said. "We work to create progressive change, trust, and unity."
The group doesn't just exist for crises. In fact, that's not even the main point. Operation Blue Shield uses its presence in both the Police community and the Public sector to join the two sides together. It also aims to unite communities of different colors to show them that at the core we're truly all the same.
When Operation Blue Shield does go into communities, they take the money that's donated and put it in foundations that directly affect the people who are involved.
Everything about the group is deliberate, all the way down to the blue and yellow ribbons they use. The yellow represents the public, and the blue surrounding it on both sides are our first responders.
She knows that if we're all in, that blue and yellow can come together again.
"We need to show as Dallasites and Texans how this should be handled," Pickens said. "Donate to Operation Blue Shield. 100% of the proceeds go back into the community."
And the community starts on the path of healing 100%.