March 1st was the launch of the first youth police conversation at Curie High School. Curie is one of two high schools who will be participating in this pilot program created by the Youth Safety Advisory Council (YSAC).
YSAC designed the conversations so that the first time police and youth met, they would be able to break the ice and get to know each other outside of their usual normal interactions. This will allow for deeper conversations to take place in the near future.
Youth and police shared a story of a time where they struggled to make a decision and they made the right or wrong one. The outcome of their story sharing was powerful in the way that both groups were able to humanize each other and relate through their stories. One student said, “I have friends who say cops are bad, but being here, humanizing police officers makes me feel comfortable.” One officer said, “this is a two-way street, I have to remember that you might have been going through something before interacting with me and you have to remember that I might have just been in a stressful situation before interacting with you.”
Overall, both groups seemed happy that they had taken part in the conversations. The school officers left with ideas that they want to implement to keep this work going with the rest of the student body. These conversations definitely show promise for big change between youth and police across the city of Chicago and we are happy to take part in this journey.