PHOENIX (KSAZ) - A new billboard is popping up all across the valley that features a white police officer and a black male. It reads, "Hope, not hate. Respect, not racism."
A Phoenix activist says he hopes this message of peace will help stop the violence.
Reverend Jarrett Maupin is hoping to catch drivers' attention with the billboards featuring a Caucasian police officer and an young African American man. He says the billboards are meant to promote anti-racism and anti-violence.
Local billboard company Becker Boards is running Maupin's design pro bono. The boards will run in north and south Phoenix, the westside and east valley because according to Maupin, these areas have been hotbeds of conflict between the police and community members.
Local reaction to the boards is mixed. Is it an effective message?
"I think so. Yeah, there's been enough violence in this world to start with. It needs to stop," said one man.
Another man added, "A billboard's not gonna help the problem.. its gotta do more with just communities talking to each other."
"Hopefully, it will bring awareness that the policemen are doing what they need to do and that black people also need to be treated with respect," said a woman.
"I hope these billboards also save lives. If I can reach one cop or one black kid, then it was all worth it. If we can reach one person with this message and change their view, then this effort was not in vain," stated Maupin.
The billboards are already running near Interstate 10 and 27th Avenue, and on Interstate 17 and Bell Road. Maupin says about 15 total will be up and running by Friday.