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A Call to Step into One Another’s Shoes

Ben McBride, founder of the Empower Initiative in Oakland, California

Shoes.

“I don’t know what it feels like to walk in your shoes. I don’t know what it feels like to wake up every morning and kiss the people you love, knowing that your job can put you in grave danger. I don’t know what it feels like to be tasked with making split-second decisions that can change or end a person’s life.

“But I know what it feels like to walk in my shoes. And my hope is that I can talk to you about my shoes, and, in exchange, maybe you trust me to talk about your shoes; and we will find a way to come together on a journey that will connect us on a trusting path.”

This is the opening statement I’ve shared with more than a thousand police officers in my work to bridge the gap between law enforcement and communities of color. It hasn’t been easy; cynicism is high on both sides.

Editor's Note: This article originally appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle. Read the full text here.

Ben McBride is the founder of Oakland's Empower Initiative. He spoke about community/police relations at the 2016 LISC Leadership Conference. See his LISC Talk here.

Posted in Community Safety

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