It has been more than a week since George Floyd’s death.
Mr. Floyd’s death was the result of a significant act of injustice. Police officers are sworn to serve and protect their communities. The acts of the four Minneapolis Police Officers were in direct violation of this oath.
Our action to direct change must be consistent and sustained. The death of Mr. Floyd is tragic for us all, yet exists within a broader context of pain and suffering for black and brown communities. Our country has a deep history of racism, which has led us to this space of anger and division.
We must set the bar higher than ever before to bring sustained change. Unprecedented collaboration and extraordinary effort is required in order to address the deep-rooted issues that brought us to this space. Police and communities must work together more than ever before to change the policies, practices, and behaviors that contribute to injustice. We must also work to acknowledge old wounds and transform our shared pain into visible healing.
Achieving these goals is only possible through opportunities for engagement and relationship building. This is the work of Serve & Connect. Our mission is to ignite positive change through police and community partnerships. We believe that at the end of the day, what we all want is more similar than it is different – for our communities to be safe, our families to be protected, and our children to thrive. Accomplishing these goals requires partnership grounded on trust, understanding, and shared action.
Serve & Connect has and will continue to be committed to these goals. We have developed strategies that use evidence-based practices so that our work is specifically tailored to fostering positive and sustainable change in communities. We focus on direct involvement, deep listening and learning while working with our partners in the communities we serve. We are proud of what we have accomplished, but recognize that there is much work left to be done.
In addition to our ongoing efforts, Serve & Connect will be accelerating our goals for 2020-2021 to meet the needs of our communities:
- Increase implementation and enhancement of community policing by expanding our Compassionate Acts Program statewide. This includes the expansion of Greg’s Groceries. We will also launch our Law Enforcement Community Connections Program, which will provide training and resources to support enhanced community policing initiatives.
- Focus on healing and reconciliation through expanding implementation of the Welcome Table, an evidence-based process for trust and reconciliation, throughout our partner communities in partnership with the South Carolina Collaborative for Race and Reconciliation. This will include offering a three-part youth Welcome Table series in Columbia’s 29203 zip-code.
- Initiate and invite local leadership opportunities to direct efforts that promote healing and address violence across communities. We will invest in community-driven public safety initiatives through a new program designed to offer funding and support to resident partners for achieving public safety goals.
We are encouraged to live in a state with outstanding law enforcement and community leaders, and are confident in our shared ability to make lasting change in South Carolina. We look forward to working alongside them as we write a new narrative of hope, together.
Forever, as always, we remain true in our belief that Together, We Are Better.