SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCBD) – The Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy is working to bridge the Summerville community and it’s police department together through conversation and collaboration.
The organization presented its grass-roots project to the community on Wednesday in an effort to ‘encourage honest respectful conversation on various community-police themes relevant to Summerville residents.’
According to a press release from the organization, the project will include four collaborative initiatives that will team together community members with police officers.
“The purpose is to start with deep conversations to not just listen but learn the needs of the community and then out of that have initiatives that foster a dedicated collaboration for progress in the community,” said the Executive Director of the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy, Rich Robinson.
He says the idea came after the protest in Summerville over the summer.
“In talking with the chief, we asked what can we do to involve the community, what can we do to hear what people are thinking and feeling and what they’re desiring,” said Robinson.
Chief Jon Rogers with the Summerville Police Department said he’s grateful for the city’s chaplains and is looking forward to making the community ‘better tomorrow than it is today.’
“We as an organization are not perfect. I am not perfect,” said Chief Rogers. “But, hopefully bringing everybody together with a common goal of making our organization and our community better will make our community better.”
Robinson elaborates further on the goal of the Dignity Project:
“Our community needs our police. The Summerville community is seeking to build upon the strong relational foundation it has with its police. How do we define our community justice progress and police participation? For some of us, peace means safety, at the expense of another’s dignity. For others, peace means dignity at the expense of another’s safety,” said Robinson. “Our goal is to promote a collaborative dignity and safety for our community and police. We can only do this together through hard conversations and deep collaboration.”
The release states that participants on the project teams will include: members of the Summerville community, the Summerville Police Department Summerville town council member (Aaron Brown – Public Safety Chair), faith community representatives, criminal justice-involved community member, social justice representative, local nonprofit representative, business community representative, young adult, and facilitators from the Coastal Crisis Chaplaincy. Representation includes: African-American, Hispanic, Male, Female, Christian, Muslim, youth.
Wednesday’s press event began at 11 a.m. at Hutchinson Square in Summerville.
To learn more about the organization’s efforts, click here.