How Art Built Bridges Between Police and Community
By Cassaundra Sampson, a writer with Rudd Resources
This is an excerpt of a post from The Chicago Fund for Safe and Peaceful Communities blog.
For 45 years, the Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center has provided Afro-Latin arts and culture to a neighborhood surrounded by gang activity and crime. In 2017, Executive Director Omar Torres applied for a grant from the Fund for Safe & Peaceful Communities to extend the stay of artists in residence through the MacArthur International Connections program, Y No Había Luz, a leading masks and theater group from Puerto Rico.
“We got amazing news late that May that we were getting this grant, so we extended the stay of these professional artists to a point that they could present at the Puerto Rican parade,” says Torres.
In addition to a summer filled with puppet-making workshops for the community hosted by Y No Había Luz, the extension also fostered a partnership with the 25th district of the Chicago Police Department. The collaboration included a series of meetings between the center and the district’s community relations staff. Officers even participated in the puppet-making workshops.
“This gave me an opportunity to meet the police and have them get involved.They really didn’t know what we were doing so that was really awesome, and they’re always looking for activities for the youth and they were unaware of how much we were doing,” says Omar Torres, Segundo Ruiz Belvis Cultural Center.
Read the full post.
This is a story about the Promote Community Safety and Peace strategy of the Partnership for Safe and Peaceful Communities.