What follows is a brief overview of the events of this week’s community dialogue titled, The Eric Garner Verdict: Analysis, Implications, and What Comes Next. First, we want to offer our thanks to the Teachers College Office of the Vice President of Diversity and Community Affairs, the Office of the Provost and Dean, Office of Facilities Management, and the Media and Social Change Lab (@masclab) for the additional support and funding they offered that made this event and these event and the resultant conversations possible.
It is perhaps fitting that the inaugural event of the Civic Participation Project was one that embodied CPP’s ethos of inclusion, democratic participation, and voice. Thursday night’s community dialogue that took place in the Cowin Center at Teachers College. This gathering was imagined as a response to the grand jury verdict on Eric Garner’s death provided an opportunity for members of the broader Teachers College and Columbia community to convene and commune in search of healing and action.
The conversation was moderated by Prof. Chris Emdin, who shared his own anger and hurt in response to the verdict and what such a moment in our legal system may come to signify if no action followed. Prof. Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz, through her invocation of “What if…?” as a framing sentiment for offering reflections and critiques, pushed the audience to imagine a world otherwise. Prof. Randolph McLaughlin offered historical perspectives on community policing that wove together his personal experiences with his professional work as a civil rights lawyer in New York City. Jamila Lyiscott, a poet/activist/PhD student, brought the panel to a close with a heartfelt and heartrending spoken word performance of a poem she had composed in the wake of events in the both Staten Island and Ferguson; her words called to action everyone listening.
Following the invitations and exhortations offered by the panelists, they and members of the audience continued the conversation in smaller groups.
Below is a sampling of the many tweets that were shared throughout the event. The whole twitter conversation for #WhatComesNextTC has been archived. And you can watch the full livestream of the panel below.
“If we refuse to indict each other on the absence of our humanity … We are as responsible as the offending officers ” #WhatComesNextTC
— DramaTherapyGuy (@mikelmoss) December 11, 2014
“What if we policed Wall Street the same way we police our communities?” – Professor Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz. #WhatComesNextTC — Tara L. Conley (@taralconley) December 12, 2014
“What if violence was always the last resort instead of the first option?” Dr YSR @TeachersCollege @ICPTC #WhatComesNextTC #BlackLivesMatter — Elizabeth Bishop (@DrBishopDigital) December 12, 2014
“The only tool that they give 2 police in this county–a gun, we need 2 give our officers tools other than deadly weapons” #WhatComesNextTC
— Francia N Brito, MPH (@FrancianB) December 12, 2014
Livestream of the #WhatComesNextTC panel: