This week the Office of Youth and Community held our 2nd event of our Series titled “Bridging the Gap: Youth, Community and Police” The objective of the event was to educate our youth and community members on how to rebuild and improve relationships with police, and allow them a safe space to interact with and get to know one another on a person level. With many of the unfortunate current events involving police happening this follow up event came at a great time to have these hard discussions.
The room was filled with over 15 officers who came ready and eager to interact with everyone from our local precincts (72, 76 and PSA1) . Staff and Students from Summit Academy, South Brooklyn Community High School, Youth Court members, staff and participants from the Miccio Community Center, Parents, NYPD Youth Explorers, Justice Center staff, Americorps members, Peacemakers and a few of our DA’s were all in attendance.
Like our last event using a circle process, everyone had a chance to ask questions, voice their own opinion and share stories. It was a very powerful event and gave everyone a chance to break down stereo-types. Many of the officers talked about their personal experiences on and off the job and related with attendees in many ways. To close the event we all gathered in one large circle and had a discussion which included ideas for future events, and overall feedback.
One of the best things taken from this was that many of the participants commented that such a series is necessary and were happy to meet and get to know local officers. Additionally, many of the officers were and are enthusiastic about being a part of more events like this. We have begun initiating the steps to improve relationships and contributing to the much needed change and we will continue to do so.
Stay tuned for future events like this!