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The killing of George Floyd at the end of May at the knee of a police officer set in motion a round of protests at cities around the US.  Sadly, many of those protests saw an increase of senseless violence as the sun set and peaceful, right-minded protestors of police brutality gave way to the hordes of criminals who used the protests as an excuse to vandalize and loot businesses.  While it seems pretty clear that the night time activists were motivated by general greed and anger more than by outrage at the senseless killing, the large protests and rallies created an opportunity for these hoodlums to strike.

The US Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Community Relations Service (CRS) exists to help prevent events like this from happening.  This small department within DOJ offers facilitation, mediation, training, and consultation services that improve communities’ abilities to problem solve and build capacity to prevent and respond to conflict, tension, and hate crimes based on race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability.  By working with community leaders, it helps to find solutions that avoid exactly these types of incidents on both sides.  CRS operates in the background and does not publicize its mediation activities, so it is likely you have never heard of this group.  However, behind the scenes, it is doing a lot of good. 

Comprehensive Learning Solutions, in conjunction with McMenamin Consulting Group and LinkVisum Consulting Group, feels honored to have provided two years’ of advice and support for all aspects of CRS’ training programs: assessing existing programs, developing new courses,  training experts in general facilitation skills, and advising on training program management.

CRS realized that, in order to achieve its mission, its training needed to be more professional and engaging.  In the wake of increasing hate crimes and bias incidents in the US against Muslim and Sikhs, CRS asked Comprehensive Learning Solutions to completely overhaul their twin programs of Engaging and Building Partnerships with Muslim-Americans and Sikh-Americans

These two three-hour long trainings for police officers, first responders, and other government officials teach about cultural sensitivities, best practices on how to engage, and better methods of communication. The trainings increase awareness of issues Muslim Americans and Sikh Americans encounter (misconceptions, stereotypes, harassment) and participants’ understanding of Muslim Americans’ and Sikh Americans’ beliefs and religious practices. The training helps to promote understanding, cooperation, and active engagement between all involved parties. 

Karen Feeley was honored to present at the 2019 International Association of Chiefs of Police about these new programs.  Click here to watch a video explaining the benefits of these programs that help reduce tensions between communities and the governmental officials that are supposed to serve and protect them.

For more ideas on how to make your training more impactful, contact Comprehensive Learning Solutions.

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