In my recent column The Courage and the Will to Change, I asked to hear from concerned citizens and community leaders who share my belief that we have the ability to build a better community for everyone. The article focused on some of the responses I received and conversations that I had following an even earlier column on the need to change the “us versus them” dynamic between the police and the community.
After that post I had many more conversations including one with Corey Jackson who runs a mentorship program in Moreno Valley, as well as serves as mentorship program chair for the newly founded Inland Empire chapter of the 100 Black Men. We have begun to strategize, along with a few other readers, with Chief Sergio Diaz of the Riverside Police Department on providing a platform for positive engagement through mentorship.
I also heard from a reader in Fontana who asked that we not forget other young men of color, in particular the Native American community. “Please include the American Indians in your rants and raves for better treatment from the various police departments,” she implored. And then last week, I received this note from Lisa Broomfield of the Moreno Valley Unified School District:
I wanted to share with you my response to your blog The Courage and Will to Change…to Build a Better Community. During our recent monthly district level African American Advisory Council (AAAC) we shared your article and discussed what we could do to build positive relationships with the police. We had a great discussion with parents, teachers, administrators and community members. We discussed strategies to become more involved with the police as a community.
We actually determined to invite them to participate in not only our HOPE conference, but in a variety of events on our school campuses and within the community.
To our surprise, in the next couple of days we saw advertised, “Coffee with a Cop”. I couldn’t attend because of a scheduled meeting, however, Kim Hendricks, Director of Accountability and Assessment and Patty Rucker, Coordinator of Student Services attended. There may have been more as we sent the flyer out to all of our members as a great way to start, “Building a Better Community”.
Thank you for the work that you are doing…It’s making a difference. We are now working to have them as our guests at our next AAAC Meeting.
Lisa C. Broomfield
Coordinator of Categorical Programs & GATE
Moreno Valley Unified School District
Like Lisa and her colleagues at the Moreno Valley School District we can all do something to make positive change in our community. What can you do? Be like Lisa…and just do it.