This month you can join in both a local and national conversation on public safety beginning with our monthly Community Commons. We will use the recently released “Safety & Justice” guide produced for this year’s “A Public Voice” effort to focus our dialogue. A Public Voice is a collaboration between the Kettering Foundation and National Issues Forums to engage citizens from across the country in deliberative forums on a current issue. It occurs annually, and insights from the forums are presented to policymakers in Washington, D.C.
In addition to our monthly Community Commons on April 18 from 7 to 9 pm, there will be an on-line dialogue on April 24 from 5 to 6 pm, and another in person dialogue using the “World Cafe” format at Battle High School on May 4 from 4 to 7 pm. Details of how to join those will appear in the Trib and on this blog. After each forum you also will have an opportunity to send your thoughts to the Foundation through an on-line survey.
This last Monday we had a diverse, inter-generational group participate in an on-line pilot dialogue using the Common Ground platform. Of the 15 actions listed in the guide, the group initially gravitated towards community policing as their top option. As the discussion unfolded, however, although community policing remained in the top 5, this group identified 4 other options where ultimately there was an even stronger consensus to act. These were
- limiting the use of traffic stops and “stop and frisk” by police officers and review other practices where racial profiling might come into play;
- increasing investment in mental health programs;
- reducing rates of arrest for minor drug and other nonviolent crimes, and address disparities in sentencing for people of color; and
- requiring implicit bias training for police and court officers.
These actions align with the themes of Addressing Inequities and Building Bridges identified in our community dialogue guide “Are We An Us?”.
How do we build a stronger community with safety and justice for all? Join us in one of the upcoming dialogues and share your views.
Tuesday, April 18, 7-9 pm
Enter the Tribune Training Room on Walnut Street, between 5th and Providence.
Sponsored by The Columbia Daily Tribune.
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