Champaign County, the Coalition meeting, is the first time I’ve ever had an opportunity to share what’s going on within the police department with other police leaders. I think it’s a template that every other county should do. Community members are owed that. And I’m so happy to be a part of a team of leaders – the other police chiefs and the sheriff. Where we are very transparent. We tell the numbers. We pretty much tell the calls, and we ask how can we fix this? And we’re getting a lot of input from our community members on how we can be better public servants.
In partnership with the Community Coalition, I’ve been able to meet with high school students throughout the county and facilitate honest, structured discussions on the history of race in America and how to navigate increasingly polarizing racial divides. These discussions, entitled Youth Race Talks, have been very well-received by students, staff, and administrators.
The Community Coalition is one of the most powerful organizations in Champaign County. From its inception the Community Coalition has provided:
1. Unification: of community organizations and First Responders
2. Information: space for those who don’t have a voice a place to speak
3. Collaboration: The ability for multiple community organizations to break out of their silos to form one powerful community organizational movement with resources.