I heard an amazing and inspiring story recently from fellow mediator Lisa Arora. She had just gotten back in April from the American Bar Association’s Dispute Resolution Spring Conference and shared a bit about a presentation she saw there.
It was a description of one City’s response to a terrible tragedy. On July 6, 2016, in an American city named Falcon Heights, an African American male named Philando Castile was shot and killed by a police officer after being pulled over. The shooting shocked and outraged the community and the City Council’s response was to establish a Task Force on Inclusion and Policing to
- articulate community values
- identify community needs
- recommend programming and policies that would make Falcon Heights a more inclusive and welcoming place for residents and guests.
In addition to Task Force meetings, what ensued was a series of five community conversations, attended by approximately 100 people a time, where community values were articulated, recommendations harvested and the possibility of healing and reconciliation arose.
According to the City of Falcon report, the community conversations covered the following topics:
- Conversation 1 – February 16, 2017: Conversations focused on personal and community values.
- Conversation 2 – March 2, 2017: Participants helped develop options for how the City can live out the Community’s values in its activities, policies, and policing policies and practices.
- Conversation 3 – April 3, 2017: Participants reviewed and provided feedback on draft policing recommendations.
- Conversation 4 – May 1, 2017: Participants shared their thoughts on what is needed for transformational change to begin and each made a personal commitment.
- Conversation 5 – June 19, 2017: This conversation will focus on commemoration on of the work accomplished and move towards next steps for the community.
This is an inspiring outcome for a very tragic event. Citizens gathered to share their values, what they want to aspire to, not who they’ve perhaps been and through that, started to identify what actions would allow their values to come to life.
This is also a great model for any of us wanting to create more sustainable communities, whether in our neighbourhoods, interest communities or at our teams at work.
Has your community co-created a statement of values? If you have, have you also identified how you want to operationalize those values? Has your team or group spoke about what your own personal commitment is to seeing those values in action?
I hope you find this story as transformational as I do. If you are interested in the City of Falcon Height’s summary report, you can find it here.