Finding the Courage for Collaboration during Divisive Times
1. Have a deeper understanding for the important of collaboration for promoting improved community safety, resilience and well-being
2. Learn key techniques for fostering empathy through courageous conversations that may be applied to your own change efforts
3. Reflect on how you may find the courage for collaboration in your own work
Multi-sectoral partnerships are critically important for creating more resilient, equitable, and healthy communities for all. Yet, collaboration can be challenging during the present divisive climate that blankets our nation in a dark cloud. In this presentation, I will reflect on what it means to find the courage for collaboration during divisive times and will share strategies and lessons learned for fostering effective partnerships that drive community transformation. Throughout the presentation, I will weave in my own personal story of tragedy and hope. On September 30th, 2015, my life was forever changed when my husband, Officer Gregory Alia with the Forest Acres Police Department, was killed in the line of duty. Widowed at 28 and left alone to care for our 6-month old son, I was propelled into the eye of the storm of one of our country’s most tense challenges: the relationship between police and marginalized communities. Within hours of my husband’s death, I took action to promote a humanizing message in an effort to combat divisiveness and promote healing. That initial response has since grown into a movement for change under the nonprofit Serve & Connect which seeks to build community resilience and well-being through transformative police and community partnerships. We work with police departments and community organizations statewide to foster effective partnerships based on empathy, trust and shared goals that increase access to resources for people in need. Using examples from Serve & Connect and my background in community psychology and community health promotion, I will share strategies that may help foster collaboration during divisive times.