Police Brutality in America Teach-Out
Take Action in Your Own Context / Lesson 11 of 11
Community Guide: Facilitate a Conversation in Your Community
This is a facilitation guide to help those who are interested in facilitating real-time conversations with others in your community about police brutality. If that’s the case, we encourage you to use this guide as a starting point for these discussions. Ultimately, you know your community needs and your participants best; feel free to use the resources here that best meet your goals and needs. Full guide below the line.
Download the guide (PDF):
Access a Digital Copy: [Published] Facilitation Resources for Police Brutality in America Teach-Out
Facilitation Resources for Police Brutality in America Teach-Out
Teach-Outs bring together people from around the world to learn about and address important topics in society. They are free and open online learning events where you’ll learn from diverse experts, discuss and connect with other participants, and consider actions you can take in your own community. The Teach-Out series is inspired by historic Teach-Ins of the 1960s and 70s, where
people came to learn together and discuss important problems with the goal of creating change (more at teach-out.org).
Today, many Americans are coming together to learn, discuss, and create change around police brutality in America. The tragic deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery have sparked a wave of renewed protests against police brutality across the United States. While the calls of Black Lives Matter protesters to #DefundThePolice are being heard for the first time by many Americans, they are part of a longstanding effort by communities and activists to reinvest in communities rather than policing and prisons.
In the Policy Brutality in America Teach-Out, you will learn about the history of police violence in America, become aware of laws and policies that prevent accountability, understand the demands of protesters, and gain the knowledge and tools to fight for change locally. It includes the following modules:
Module One: Welcome to the Police Brutality in America Teach-Out
Module Two: History and Evolution of Policing in America
Module Three: Understanding the Impact of Police Violence
Module Four: The State of Modern Policing in America
Module Five: Police, Media, and Culture
Module Six: Responding to Police Brutality
Module Seven: Taking Action in Your Own Context
You can access the Policy Brutality in America Teach-Out on Coursera until July 31, 2020. To access the Teach-Out and join the global conversation online while it is live, you will need to create a Coursera account.
You may also be interested in facilitating real-time conversations with others in your community about police brutality. If that’s the case, we encourage you to use this guide as a starting point for these discussions. Ultimately, you know your community needs and your participants best; feel free to use the resources here that best meet your goals and needs.
The Center for Academic Innovation also plans to re-release the content of the Police Brutality in America Teach-Out in other venues after July 2020, as we hope to continue inspiring learning, discussion, and action long into the future. For more information, please visit Michigan Online.
How to Structure Your Conversations
If you are facilitating a group dialogue around the Police Brutality in America Teach-Out, consider having (at least) two discussion sessions spaced out over time to give participants time to process individually what they have been discussing and learning. We recommend facilitating a conversation after most participants have worked through Modules 1-3 and then another one after most participants have worked through Modules 4-7.
The Center for Academic Innovation has created several guides to support online communities and participatory meetings in online spaces. These guides can help you flesh out some of the overall structure of your conversations:
- Checklist for Learning Community Facilitation Guides
- Facilitation Guide for Participatory Sessions in Virtual Spaces
We encourage you to plan several discussion prompts in advance as well as adapt to the conversation on-the-fly according to the needs of your group. You can use the discussion prompts embedded in the Teach-Out as a starting point. We also recommend exploring the Race and Policing Dialogue Guide created by the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience, a network of museums, historic sites, and memory initiatives working to bridge the past with current movements for social justice. The International Coalition of Sites of Conscience uses a four-stage dialogue model that builds community, explores experiences, and then moves toward action.
Creating Space for Productive Conversations
This is hard, emotional work.
When facilitating a discussion on the Police Brutality in America Teach-Out, first and foremost check-in with yourself and with your participants. Make sure that you are engaging in self-care, and provide self-care resources for participants--especially for participants of color and/or from other marginalized groups. We encourage you to highlight these resources at the beginning of a session, throughout the conversation, and then as a follow-up email to participants.
We recommend the following self-care resources:
- Burn Out Prevention Workbook
- The Activists Guide to Self-Care
- Identifying Your Role and Practicing Self-Care as a Young Black Activist
- Liberate Meditation App - meditations crafted for BIPOC
- H.E.A.L. Resource list - living resource of mental health and wellness resources for BIPOC and allies.
- Black Lives Matter: Mental Health Resources For And By People of Color
- 44 Mental Health Resources for Black People Trying to Survive in This Country - includes mental health resources, tips for navigating therapy, and Black-led media related to health and wellness
Because these conversations are difficult, it’s also important that you establish and then actively maintain good practices for discussion with your group.
Make sure to establish group norms and guidelines for the conversation at the beginning of your session. We suggest that you seed a few ideas for guidelines and then co-create the guidelines together with your group. Given the content of the discussion, we encourage you to include a ground rule about accepting an individual’s experience as truth and not questioning how someone has processed or interpreted their own lived experience.
Additionally, we recommend that you provide opportunities for participants to have time to think individually before sharing their reflections or thoughts with the larger group, or having the option to “pass” if a participant does not want to share with the larger group at that time.
For more ideas about how to develop group guidelines that encourage productive conversations, we recommend the resource “Developing Community Guidelines” created by the Program on Intergroup Relations.