Humanities Lab programs ask participants to consider what would strengthen their communities.
HUMANITIES LAB

BLACK & BLUE TOGETHER

Black & Blue Together: Color, Perceptions, and Policing is an innovative humanities discussion program for law enforcement professionals and high school students that encourages both groups to better understand the living experiences of young people and police officers.


PROGRAM OVERVIEW

The Black & Blue Together seminar consists of five 2-hour sessions which take place one afternoon or evening per month for five months. Ten to fifteen young people and 2-5 police officers will participate so as to create an intimate conversation space. At each location, the seminar will be led by a humanities scholar trained in moderating difficult conversations.

Through facilitated discussions of social media, music, poetry, drama, art, fiction, and nonfiction that illuminate issues central to living and policing in communities of color, Black & Blue Together promotes empathy and understanding and provides police officers and young people with an opportunity to reflect on their lives, perceptions, actions, and relationships through the lens of the humanities. This can have a significant effect on the way young people and law enforcement professionals in communities of color understand and act towards each other through positive interactions between young people and law enforcement.

Black & Blue Together will serve as a pilot for further community conversation across New Jersey to engage audiences in meaningful conversation about the roles perceptions play in our lives as citizens of New Jersey, the United States, and the world.

PROGRAM GOALS

BUILDING POSITIVE RELATIONSHIPS

Using the humanities to confront and challenge perceptions based in stereotypes and misinformation, while building positive relationships between young people and law enforcement to overcome historically, negative interactions that have resulted in distrust, a lack of respect and violence on both sides.

OPPORTUNITIES TO CONNECT

Offering young people and law enforcement an opportunity to network, connect, and understand one another.

UNDERSTANDING

Improving young people’s and law enforcement’s understanding of how to handle encounters with one another.

PROGRAM SITES & FACILITATORS

NJCH is piloting Black & Blue Together in Newark, Bridgeton, and Paterson as a series of five discussion sessions over five months in each location.

NEWARK
  • Partners: The Urban League of Essex County and the Newark Police Department
  • Scholar/Facilitator: Cheryl Anne Kennedy, M.D., Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Rutgers Medical School; and Dr. Ronnie Boseman
PATERSON
  • Partners: The Bronze Shields of Passaic County; the Paterson Free Public Library; Youth Services Bureau of Paterson’s Department of Health and Human Services
  • Scholar/Facilitator: Mia Bay, Ph.D., Professor of History and Associate Director of the Center for Race and Ethnicity at Rutgers University New Brunswick
  • Program dates: September to January
BRIDGETON
  • Partners: Mayor Albert Kelly; Police Chief Michael Gaimari; the Gateway Community Action Partnership
  • Scholar/Facilitator: Donnetrice Allison, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Communication Studies and Africana Studies and coordinator for the Africana Studies Program at Stockton University
  • Program Dates: September to January

HUMANITIES LAB programs are often experimental and exploratory. Much like our Incubation Grant program, we bring the Humanities Lab concept into organization collaboratives to foster the development of programs that suit the needs of the particular community.

At NJCH, we believe that community members should influence and steer how public humanities programs unfold in their own communities. It's driven by what the community identifies as necessary and beneficial, which increases the likelihood of real impact.

PROGRAMS
Black & Blue Together
Comic Book Literacy

QUESTIONS
Jason Allen
Director of Community Engagement
jallen@njhumanities.org 
609.695.4838, ext 220