In July 2016, HNMCP convened a group of nine local Boston citizens to discuss police-community relations since the charged events in Ferguson, Missouri in fall 2014.
Bringing together lawyers, parents, law enforcement officers, religious leaders, musicians, and executives, the conversation was facilitated by two alums of HNMCP, Toby Berkman ’10 and Danielle Bart ’13. The participants spoke from their personal experience, asked questions of each other, and reflected on how to move forward amongst the charged atmosphere around race and policing at this moment in history. While the conversation would have been difficult at any time, the issues in the dialogue were made even more “live” by the events of the previous week: having been planned and scheduled months in advance, in the days before the dialogue, two additional African-American men were shot in Baton Rouge and the suburbs of St. Paul, and five police officers were killed in Dallas.
The conversation was initiated as part of the HNMCP’s ongoing efforts to engage diverse groups in difficult conversations, with the help of skilled facilitators. HNMCP also hopes that this dialogue can be used as a teaching tool for instructors and facilitators. The dialogue was professionally filmed by Desta Tedros Reff ’13, with the consent of the participants and facilitators. In addition, HNMCP Director Bob Bordone conducted post-dialogue interviews with Toby and Danielle, also captured on film. Toby and Danielle shared their reflections on the experiences of facilitating the conversation, as well as their perspectives on specific moments in the dialogue and their responsive moves as facilitators. What emerges is a thoughtful conversation about the challenges and opportunities inherent in convening a dialogue, and how facilitation can provide the structure, support, and safety necessary for participants to honestly share their views and inquire about others’.
The full video will be available for purchase in early 2017, and available for pre-order in November 2016, from the Harvard Case Studies website.