All Stars Project co-founder Dr. Lenora B. Fulani directed a performance ensemble of six NYPD officers and six inner-city young people at the Operation Conversation: Cops and Kids Demonstration Workshop for an audience of 1,000 new officers and several hundred community members on Monday, Jan. 27 at the Christian Cultural Center in Brooklyn.
Members of the recent graduating class of the New York City Police Academy and members of New York City’s diverse communities observed performances of relationship-building skits and conversations between young people and police officers, the fourth such event since July 2012.
“In my opinion, the two hardest things to be in this city are being a police officer and being a Black and Latino teenager,” Fulani said. “The impact of the workshop is to help them create performances together … That might be useful in the middle of a tense situation one day.”
Operation Conversation: Cops and Kids is a partnership program of the NYPD and the nonprofit All Stars Project designed to foster positive interactions between the police and inner-city young people. It features workshops that use performance, improvisation and conversation to help teenagers and police officers build mutual respect and to develop and improve their relationship.
The program was created by developmental psychologist Fulani, who has led 85 workshops with 898 police officers and 1,149 young people in community and Police Activity League centers, churches and schools since December 2006. A survey conducted last spring shows both young people and police officers overwhelmingly agree that the workshops play a positive role in promoting communication between police and youth and positively affect future interactions.