About the 2017 Summit Theme
We aim to create a program where students make sense of current policing structures and practices and how they impact communities of color, particularly black communities. Students will examine policing from a “systems” perspective in order to understand the history and context surrounding it and explore the roles they might play to affect change. We want students to consider the type of leadership required to transform how police engage with communities of color.
The relationship between police and communities of color has a longstanding history of tension and division in the United States, more recently heightened by ongoing incidents of police killings of black people, police brutality and lack of police accountability, on top of continued racial profiling and racial inequity in the United States criminal justice system. Protest and uprising have birthed the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, an ideological and political intervention that broadens the conversation around state violence toward Black people (blacklivesmatter.com). Responses to the BLM movement are incredibly polarized and some have gone as far as to create countermovements. In addition, the election of Donald Trump as 45th president of the United States following a largely anti-immigrant campaign, poses new concerns over the impact of policing practices on Muslim communities and undocumented immigrants. Evidently, the challenges of our time are neither new nor simple, and they require new approaches to leadership to achieve justice.
How do we lead towards justice and for transformation in situations where there is such a large divide? This is the central question behind our Summit theme this year.
These growing national incidents have generated attention at NYU, John Jay, and campuses across the country and challenges the core values we seek to uphold in our communities: safety, fairness, justice, inclusiveness, diversity and equity. As we seek to lead towards justice, how do we act in alignment with these core values?
We believe this work begins with raising awareness and consciousness around these issues through a systems approach, accounting for the history and context that has led us to this place. We must then cultivate meaningful relationships across difference in order to build coalitions and rethink leadership as a process of working inclusively with others toward a shared vision, aligning actions towards shared goals and achieving impact for the greater good.