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Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Posted on: July 27, 2021

“Uncomfortable Conversations with Black Men” Discussion Series Continues to Build Relationships

Groups of men sit in chairs and discuss with each other

On Tuesday, July 27, 2021, the Mill Valley Police Department hosted the second meeting of the “Uncomfortable Conversations with Black Men” series. This discussion was part of a series of conversations presented by the Phoenix Project of Marin (a program of Performing Stars), Marin City Ministerial Alliance, and facilitated by Dr. Frank J. Omowale Satterwhite of Leadership Incorporated. The participants consisted of twenty law enforcement administrators and officers and twenty Black men and leaders who live in or are affiliated with and support Marin City.

The meeting was a continuation of the discussion initiated earlier in May, which included breakout sessions aimed at understanding the culture between the two groups. Participants continued their discussion around the history between black men and law enforcement, its history of strife, mistrust, and conflict over fundamental issues. The group worked on identifying actions items going forward.

“We focused on building a dialogue of understanding,” Mill Valley Police Chief Ignacio R. Navarro said. “The sessions centered on looking for progressive changes to work towards solutions for social justice.”

In attendance were Black men who live in Marin City, members of the clergy, Rev. Dr. Rondall Leggett of the First Missionary Baptist Church, Rev. Floyd Tompkins of St. Andrew Presbyterian Church, and Bishop Johnathan Logan Sr. of the Cornerstone Church of God in Christ. The gathering also included Sausalito Marin City School Superintendent Itoco Garcia. Law enforcement attendees included personnel from Mill Valley, Tiburon, and Belvedere Police Departments. Also in attendance was representatives from the California Highway Patrol, the Marin County Sheriff’s Department, the Marin County District Attorney’s Office, Marin County Public Defender’s Office, and Marin County Probation.

The event took place at the Mill Valley Community Center, where Mill Valley Councilmember Urban Carmel provided opening remarks welcoming the participates along with Police Chief Navarro.

“We look forward to many more productive conversations to come,” Navarro said, “and we are grateful to all the event organizers and participants for addressing the issues head on in open and constructive dialogue.”

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