By Ayana Archie
In light of the three mass shootings that occurred over a one-week span, in Gilroy, California, El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, some convention-goers have said they fear they may be a target for such crimes.
Blakely said he would like to see more changes to the nation’s gun laws, but he is relying on his own safety precautions now more than ever: staying aware of his surroundings and walking with others, never alone.
“I feel worried about it,” said Sherrod Blakely, an NBA reporter for NBC Boston. “I’ve been doing it for more than 20 years, so for me, it really isn’t something that I gave a whole lot of thought to.
“But obviously, in the climate that we live in today, you’d certainly think more about safety than you have in past years,” he added.
Local and federal law enforcement have been meeting frequently with NABJ’s leadership to develop a detailed and cohesive security plan in preparation for the five-day event, which includes the addition of the local police force and undercover officers as well as increased hotel security.
A mobile police unit that patrols from high areas and an FBI anti-terrorism unit also are present this week. The collaboration is ongoing, but attendees have been strongly advised by NABJ Executive Director Drew Berry to always wear a badge at the host and overflow hotels.
“The security plans have been put in place by people who know what they’re doing,” Berry said.
The emergency plan for this week’s convention can be found in the official convention app on EventPilot.
In 2015, a gunman killed nine black churchgoers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina. In 2018, a gunman killed five journalists in the Capital Gazette newsroom in Annapolis, Maryland. For the thousands of people attending the convention, they represent a cross-section of both populations.