Twelve Steps To Promote Understanding and Healing - Things you can do!
1. Exegete or know your community – the demographics, crime data, substance abuse prevalence rates in neighborhoods.
2. Reach out to community based organizations and their leaders. Get to know them and allow them to get to know you. Attend their meetings, host their meetings – create a presence.
3. Attend city council and school board meetings. Go with the purpose of listening and creating a presence.
4. Meet with neighborhood and city police leadership. Seek to understand the culture of policing and their challenges. Attend citizen academies if they exist.
5. Volunteer to chaplain and or support police volunteer activities.
6. Make your facilities available for community meetings, recreational activities, tutoring and create a “safe place” for diverse populations.
7. Connect your congregation to mentoring programs such as Big Brothers/Big Sisters and Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
8. Organize prayer and peace vigils that promote understanding and reconciliation in communities in conflict. Be proactive and don’t wait for the crisis – but in a crisis be prepared to lead.
9. Understand and share with your congregations the issues around “implicit bias” and how it plays out in our attitudes and behavior.
10. Promote religious understanding and tolerance – let them know you by your love and grace.
11. Never miss an opportunity to show mercy and do justice.
12. Facilitate community and police recognition events in your congregation. Recognize and celebrate community police officers in your congregation.
By James E. Copple
Class of ‘74