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Seeking Transformative Healing: Young People lead NYPD Leadership in a Healing Circle

Recognizing how negative interactions between law enforcement and citizens in our community need to be met with reflection and healing, we partnered with the Brownsville Community Justice Center a project of the Center for Court Innovation to host a healing circle with students and members NYPD Leadership. 

Based on a Native American approach to restorative justice, the BCJC hosts peacemaking sessions that bring together those affected by a dispute or conflict, often along with their support systems, to seek healing and peace. According to the BCJC, the purpose is not only to resolve the immediate dispute, but also to heal the relationships among those involved and restore balance to the community.

Two young students from Brownsville lead NYPD Chief Maddrey, Captain St. Fort, and three NYPD officers from the 73rd precinct in a healing circle to help them understand the pain and frustration they felt as a result of police conflict, as well as their hopes for the future. Together, the group discussed ways they could find peaceful solutions to conflict that may arise.

The team at BCJC focuses on training community members to lead the peacemaking session so that they can be the driving force in finding solutions. It was incredibly powerful to witness young people leading the conversation to seek the healing they need. During the circle, NYPD leadership were trained on the ways this type of process can be used when intervening in conflicts that arise in schools. These skills will be hugely beneficial in helping the NYPD interact with all community stakeholders so that they feel valued and heard. 

In the face of conflict, it can feel daunting to know where to even begin to achieve trauma resolution. That’s why we’re grateful to the BCJC for giving us the skills and tools we need to push for the world in which we wish to live. Together, we will continue to strengthen our community by empowering each of us to lift up our voices in the interest of peace. 

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