A collective meeting of mindful men

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I recently participated in a “Safety & Security Professional Development Workshop” at Hope College Prep.

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I recently participated in a “Safety & Security Professional Development Workshop” at Hope College Prep.

The agenda included a spray of topics relative to the safety and security of our youth and communities, and the speakers included majority men from all backgrounds, including Hope’s principal Michael W. Durr; Akil Khalfani, operations manager at Hope and member of the Nation of Islam; Ricardo Isom, management support director for Chicago Public Schools; Chicago Police Department’s Assistant Superintendent of Operations James Jackson; Anthony Muhammad, national trainer for the N.O.I.; and myself.

We all had the same goal in mind: finding way to solve the social, educational and familial ills that have beset our community, primarily our children.

Isom presented “Culture of Calm” initiatives that are incorporated in several school; Khalfani talked about “Know Your School Climate/Culture;” “Signs of Concerns In Your Youth” was my area and I also discussed how the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategies (CAPS) has and is integrated into the community through youth and student outreach programs such as the Junior Police Explorers and city-wide sports programs in every CPD district, to name a few. I also encouraged parents to bring their school-aged children to CAPS beat meetings.

“The Proper Way of Handling People” was presented by Muhammad. He discussed and demonstrated defensive tactics without the inclination of ever having to use a firearm to resolve conflict to achieve compliance. I called it “verbal judo.”

Jackson discussed “The Role of Full-Time and Part-Time Officers Stationed in Schools.” He also highlighted that a school’s administration and parents are the first responders to school-related disturbances of which the police rely on for designing a proactive and reactive strategy with their resources throughout the school district.

The sparse but spirited group of mindful men stressed that to drive down the historical problems of youth violence festering in problematic locations was contingent upon parental participation and their consistent involvement in being the eyes, ears and ever-present image in their communities that speaks to the title of the James Brown song “Papa Don’t Take No Mess.”

As we continue to move toward corrective measures and solutions for safety and security in our communities, lets not forget two men lost recently who –– in their own way –– provided safe havens and made a difference in the lives of many.

Melvin Burnside, owner of the popular South Side bar “Reese’s” was killed during the home invasion in his south suburban home. Melvin was known throughout Chicago by many city workers.

Bishop Arthur M. Brazier, who succumbed to prostate cancer, was a civil rights giant in Chicago who led one of the most dominant and respected churches in Chicago. He was influential in providing safe haven and safe passage for the Rev. Martin Luther King’s travels to Chicago in the 60’s during the height of the Civil Rights Movement.

Copyright 2010 Chicago Defender

Ronald M. Holt, a veteran Chicago police officer, is the Director of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS) Implementation Office. He’s also a founding member of the Purpose Over Pain organization. http://www.purposeoverpain.org.

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