Fostering Intentional Dialogue to Rebuild Community Relationships with Police
by Trent Day Hall
Hello fellow star children, my name is Trent Day Hall and I hope this message finds you in happy, healthy, and high spirits.
Today I wanted to take some time to give a bit more context around a dialogue I had the honor of facilitating at the beginning of June;
Context is necessary because of the conversation’s inherent relevance to our nation's current climate and to highlight the need/benefit for trained facilitation and effective communication skills.
The murder of George Floyd shook me to the core of my being…a reminder of America’s true and unadulterated treatment of black bodies since the days of its original sins…8 minutes & 46 seconds…a blaring representation of 400 years of cultivated and curated dehumanization of those who look like me distilled for your viewing horror.
I wasn’t ok but had to move forward…after engaging in and helping to organize peaceful youth protests I was asked to facilitate a dialogue between community members and black officers. The intention was to provide a space where ownership, healing, and accountability was the focus. It was heavy; we discussed the harsh realities America has created for my people and how the police & criminal justice system are foundational pillars in the exploitation and subjugation of my people.
The black officers spoke to the duality of being black and attempting to change the system from the inside while having to battle with the realities of an inherently racist system. Examples of this dynamic were discussed in the realm of hiring/recruitment practices and the correlation it has to representation/cultural intelligence in predominantly black communities.
Lastly, we ended by discussing ways the community can alter/influence policing practices in their communities and ways to get genuine representation to build empathy and understanding in the police force.
One specific ask was to continue to cultivate the communication and transparency that we created in the dialogue between black community members and black officers.
As a black male that is inherently/intergenerationally connected to this subject matter, I recognize that without the facilitation skill set and command of effective communications skills it’s impossible for us to critically examine the personal, cultural, and structural causes of racism.
Let's dismantle and rebuild with intentionality.
For the past 8 years Trent Hall has been facilitating conversations on contentious topics as a Penn State Facilitator and Trainer. With an audience of wide demographics primarily made of young adults, conversations during Trent’s experience facilitating are centered in the realm of identity with a special focus on race, culture, and gender dynamics. The time spent during these trainings focus on learning and teaching conflict management, empathy, socratic inquiry, and active listening.