Workshop helps facilitate relationships between police and community

Local News

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) — The Savannah-Chatham Public School System (SCCPSS) has teamed up with local police officers to help fight police brutality.

Georgia Southern University’s National Youth-At-Risk Conference partnered with SCCPSS to offer a workshop for educators, students, administrators, and school resource officers.

The workshop, called L.O.V.E. Is The Answer, was led by A.J. Ali, the director and producer of “Walking While Black: Love is the Answer.” The event was a full-day personal development experience aimed at learning the principals in the film about racial profiling.

“There’s all this negative energy out there on police and community relations, right? What I’m seeing in these workshops, in these L.O.V.E. Is The Answer workshops, is people are having the chance to sit down with each other and dialogue in open, honest ways that they’ve never done before,” Ali said.

Ali says the acronym L.O.V.E. stands for:

  • Learn about the community and the people in it
  • Open your heart to the humanity of people in the community
  • Volunteer yourself to be part of the solution
  • Empower others to do the same.

“The climate throughout the country now, you can’t turn on the news without seeing some article that has a negative impact between law enforcement and the community,” Deputy Chief Aaron Graves of Savannah-Chatham County Board of Education Police Department said.

“So to have a program like this brought here today is so very important,” he added. “We understand that the superintendent has been clear, she understands the necessity for our police department to engage in the community and to have an understanding that way.”

The conference began with excerpts from the documentary and focused on facilitating relationships between community members, students, and police officers. Students had the opportunity to voice their concerns about the climate in the community and ask officers questions.

“They’re going to be talking about how we can better ourselves with relationships between students — not just students but black men in society with police and everything,” Savannah High School student Kquan Johnson said. “We learn more about each other, we’re open to each other, we can help each other in many different ways.”

One of the main goals for the workshop is that police and community members, including students, learn and grow together — not on separate islands.

Ali says the workshop will not only save lives but enhance them.

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