Over the course of the last decade, watching the news has required an increasing amount of courage from the American public in general and parents in specific. Between the school shootings that occur with frightening regularity and the violence perpetrated by some police officers on the populace they were supposed to protect, there seems to be no safe haven left to trust with the lives of our kids.
Combatting the fear and distrust with reasoned discussion and empathy is the nonprofit organization LiveKind. Claiming to provide a “facilitation process” for better understanding between communities and law enforcement agencies, they seek to bring these disparate groups together with kindness instead of body cameras. Further, the tools they provide can be employed by any type of school or youth program, as well as by the law enforcement agencies seeking to train better peacekeepers.
Livekind.org offers an array of tools to assist in their mission to “break down barriers” between citizens and police officers, the first being short videos with kids as the narrators. These serve to open the dialogue, a starting point on the journey.
Dialogue is the running theme of this organization, holding a place of prominence in every tool they offer. This is an obvious fact in their “Circle of Conversation”, which is a facilitated conversation between community members and law enforcement to discuss feelings of fear, distrust and helplessness. Also making use of an open dialogue in the maintenance activities set up for after the program ends. In these, the goal is to keep that conversation going, making the new relationship between cops and civilians a lasting one.
Some might scoff that simply talking has no hope to heal the wounds in existence here, but conversation actually serves quite well to develop the empathy needed to ensure a positive relationship develops. Anyone you share your history and feelings with becomes real in a way that a faceless stranger with no story or name does not. This personalization makes empathy develop naturally, bringing communities together with the police officers that protect them.