Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids

 

Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids is an innovative police-community relations model program run by the All Stars Project in partnership with the New York Police Department. The program uses performance, improvisation and conversation to help teenagers and police officers in New York City's low income neighborhoods build respect and improve their relationship. 

Cops & Kids began in 2006, at a moment when the relationship between inner-city youth and the police, while never easy, was especially tense following the shooting of Sean Bell, a young Black man in Queens. The program was founded by Dr. Lenora Fulani, a developmental psychologist, community activist and co-founder of the All Stars

Project, who was eager to change the culture of mistrust between young people in our communities and the officers who police those communities. As she explains, "The two hardest things to be in this city are being a police officer and being a Black and Latino kid.  My interest is in helping each to see each other as a human being. That might be useful in the middle of a tense situation one day." Cops & Kids uses the ASP's innovative performance approach to create a new relationship between police officers and young people of color from New York's poor communities, a relationship that is all too often filled with mutual distrust, animosity and stereotypical attitudes about the 'other'.

Since the program's inception, Dr. Fulani has led over 100 workshops involving thousands of youth and police officers. During the workshops, cops and kids play theatre games and create improvisational performances together, thereby creating an environment for having honest (and difficult) dialogues. In addition, thousands more community members and police officers have participated in Demonstration Workshop performances all over the city which have broadened and deepened the impact of Cops & Kids in the NYPD and across New York City communities. 

Click here to watch footage of a demonstration workshop, featuring remarks by NYPD Commissioner William Bratton.

 

Impact

A survey of program participants conducted in 2013 showed:

  • 88% of young people and 66% of police officers said that they learned something new about the other in the workshop
  • 100% of young people and 93% of police officers said that the workshops played a positive role in promoting communication between police and youth
  • 84% of all respondents said that the experience would positively affect how they would interact in the future
  • 89% agreed that the Cops and Kids workshop was a step in establishing positive communication and promoting positive interactions between police and young people

 

Press

7/22/2015

 

 

7/19/2015

 

 

7/18/2015

 

 

7/17/2015

 

 

 

12/24/2014

Voices of New York

Here and Now - ABCTV interview with Dr. Lenora Fulani

[Click here to watch]

 

Reuters

 

Christian Science Monitor

 

Fox 5 News - coverage of Christmas Eve Unity Gathering

[Click here to watch]

 

 

CBS Local News - coverage of Christmas Eve Unity Gathering

[Click here to watch]

 

 

WPix 11 News - coverage of Christmas Eve Unity Gathering

[Click here to watch]

 

8/28/2014

The Amsterdam News

Graduating Police Officers Join Community Members at Operation Conversation

 

8/01/2012 

Newsday

Cop, Crime and Kids

 

12/09/2011   

Black Gives Back

All Stars Project Hosts Tenth Annual Benefit Luncheon Raising $450,000 for Innovative Afterschool Programs - Salutes "Operation Conversation", Joint Effort With NYPD to Foster Positive Relationships Between Cops and Kids


 
  • Read a first-person report from ASP president and CEO Gabrielle L. Kurlander, who observed a workshop.
  • To see a clip from a Demonstration Workshop, click on this link.

 

Save the date!  Cops & Kids is expecting to have its next Demonstration Workshop in July 2016. Contact Elsa Dial at edial@allstars.org to request an invitation.

 

For more information

To learn more about Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids, call Senior Program Manager Lisa Linnen at 212-356-8448.

Transforming Lives. Building Community.

In her monthly blog, President and CEO Gabrielle Kurlander shares her thoughts, reflections and insights as the All Stars Project continues to build the field of Afterschool Development as a new way of engaging poverty.  Read her full blog here.

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Operation Conversation: Cops & Kids