“We really need to talk about race relations and bias.”
“We need to take this Sanctuary City thing very seriously; lives are at stake.”
“What I want to ask is what it’s like for you, with a badge, with a gun.”
The Peace Center on Sepulveda was the site on Thursday, July 26, for a community discussion on the future of policing, and listening to the room was both heartening and sobering. With officers attending from both LAPD and CCPD, the community members who came were seated at tables with the police, and each table chose what they felt was the most important point of discussion. Sponsored by the Center for Non-Violence, these events have taken place throughout LA County over the last decade, with the goal of opening up a space for community members with concerns to speak directly to police officers, and engage in dialogue that will help to create change.
Each one of ten tables chose a topic, and the police at each table got to listen and respond to community concerns. Two of the most discussed topics – Driving While Black and Undocumented Status – were problems that the officers present had sympathy for, but no way to offer accountability for the actions of other officers. While many community members aired their frustrations and fears, several just sat and listened, reflecting on the input. While there’s no way to know how much the exchange created more ideas for how to respond in difficult situations, most seemed satisfied with the evening.
Culver City Mayor Thomas small and City Council member Daniel Lee were also in attendance.
For upcoming events, go to www.commonpeace.org.