Last week, the members of Teen Empowerment, in conjunction with the Boston Police Department, hosted a community dialogue at Hibernian Hall called “Racism Talks, Together We Walk” aimed at engaging teens, BPD officers, and community members in open conversation about racism in Boston and how it effects the interaction between teens and police. Through spoken word, performances, conversation, and activities, the teens and officers were quickly able to break the ice, and plenty of laughing and smiling ensued. The small group conversations that followed allowed everyone in attendance to engage in a serious and respectful discussion about identifying the problems and proposing solutions. By the end of the night, there were handshakes, high-fiving, pounds, and even hugs between ALL of the participants.
Said Boston Police Deputy Superintendent Nora Baston, “I believe I can speak for every officer in the department when I say thank you to Teen Empowerment for hosting, setting the tone, and creating such an open, accepting atmosphere tonight. All of the officers and cadets loved it, and it was a true example of community policing. Together we are breaking down barriers and stereotypes, and opening the lines of communication in order to find constructive solutions. This is what we are all about!”
Added Boston Police Commissioner William Evans, “Our primary goal as a police department is to make Boston safer, and we do this not only by taking guns off the streets and fighting crime, but more importantly, by building relationships and trust with the communities and the people we serve. That starts with our young people. The youth in Teen Empowerment have shown us that they are not only willing to engage with officers, but they will take the initiative to do so. These kids are a shining example, and we appreciate them.”