Letter to Editor | Skip Hickambottom: Dialogue Well-Attended, Allowed Community and Police to Speak Their (Often Different) Truths

Published : Tuesday, October 16, 2018 | 9:55 AM

On October 4, POP, along with the NAACP, the IMA (Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance) and CICOPP (Coalition for Increased Civilian Oversight of Pasadena Police) hosted the first of a continuing series of conversations aimed at fostering a better dialog between the community and frontline Pasadena Police officers. This broad coalition of police reform advocates has come together to try to find a balance between protecting individual liberties and maintaining public safety. The forum was held at the Alkebu-lan Cultural Center, was moderated by James Farr from “Conversation Live,” facilitated by Dr Eshelle Williams, and organized by Florence Annang premised on the notion that the best way to bridge the disconnect that too often exists between Pasadena residents and the Pasadena Police Department is to be willing to address it in an honest fashion. I would like to personally thank Officers Lt. Aguilar, Det. White and Officer Sailor for their participation.

The forum was well-attended and allowed both the Community and the police officers to speak their (often different) truths in the same room at the same time. Although there was tension in the room throughout the evening, James and Eshelle (once again) brilliantly performed their challenging roles of engaging the audience, framing questions, confronting divergent responses, and managing participation levels. There was no consensus of opinion other than the recognition of the need for more discussions with more voices heard. My personal take away for the evening is that it is much easier to form an opinion when you only listen to one side, but that does not necessarily make your opinion the right one. I look forward to the next forum at Alkebu-lan on November 8th, at which the documentary “Walking While Black” will be shown, followed by another conversation with Pasadena Police officers.






Skip Hickenbottom is a local civil rights attorney and activist.


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