Recently, the NYCID Conflict Management team created a safe space for our community to express themselves, process feelings, and find healing as our country continues to grapple with the racial prejudice and police violence. The circles were led by Randy Brown, Adria Gulizia, Brandon Baptiste, and Katie Cole, and their purpose was to ensure that everyone who wished to participate had the chance to have their voices heard.
When asked why he thought conducting the circle was important, Randy Brown said, “We felt it was important to have these circles in order to hold space for those directly or indirectly affected by the graphic images we see on TV, internet and newspapers in reference to homicides committed by police. Our goal is to create a safe space where members of the community can begin to heal the hurt within each other by having the support of one another without judgment. The ability to hear and be heard can be a very powerful force. This is what we hope to capture to build solid foundations of understanding within the community.“
Participants of all ages from the Staten Island community joined the Zoom call for a chance to speak their truth in a safe space where they would not be judged or harassed for their thoughts and opinions. It’s important to note that anything said in a circle is confidential in order to maintain full honesty and transparency. The circles wouldn’t work without this caveat. The circle was successful in bringing people together and shows how letting your feelings and experiences on the line can start to begin the healing process. The conversation was centered around people’s experiences with the police and how it made them feel.
The call lasted over two hours with everyone intently listening to each other and being respectful participants to each other. Our community needs to heal.
Adria Gulizia said she thought the circle was successful because of participants’ willingness to be fully present. “When CMS hosted a Circle around police violence this past week, it was a warm, emotional and thought-provoking period of sharing and reflection. Its richness came in part from the range of backgrounds and experiences of those who participated – different races and nationalities, different experiences with police officers, whether at home, at work or on the street. But even more, the richness stemmed from the willingness of each person to bring themselves and their experiences into the Circle – fully, vulnerably and authentically. When people come together to listen and share with open minds and open hearts, wonderful things can happen.”
It has been six years since Eric Garner was murdered by the NYPD in Staten Island. People are fed up with excuses and want answers to white supremacy and the police brutality that has derailed our nation. NYCID as an organization is committed to having these important conversations. It is how to begin the healing process as a community and take positive steps towards a brighter future.
If you are interested in conflict management training or would like to participate in a restorative circle in the future please contact ADR@NYCID.org