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Orlando Police And Residents To Break Ice During Interactive Workshop

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Photo: Valencia College Peace & Justice Institute.

Photo: Valencia College Peace & Justice Institute.

Orlando police and Pine Hills residents will sit across from each other Wednesday night in an effort to break the ice and build up the community. It is part of the fifth Orlando Speaks, an interactive workshop that brings together trained facilitators, citizens, and officers from the Orlando Police Department.

The workshops came from an idea that emerged within Valencia College’s Peace & Justice Institute ten years ago. The program officially began in June 2015 and for coordinator Rachel Allen, its key mission has been to create a safe space for everyone.

“Safe not in the sense that we’re not going to stay safe and not say the difficult thing, but safe in the that there’s going to be space to say the thing that is, perhaps, difficult to say,” she said.

Participants have shared personal experiences and talked about larger issues such as bias, systemic racism, and privilege which, Allen added go beyond relations between the police and the community.

“It’s really just saying. We all have this. We’re human. We all stereotype. We all profile. We do it to protect ourselves. But then, on some level, we do it in such a way that’s kind of damaging to our community,” she said.

Orlando Speaks takes place every three to four months.

Since then Hillsborough County has adopted the model.

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About Renata Sago

Renata Sago