Community Outreach Spotlight
National Faith and Blue Weekend
Submitted by Ryan Yarrell, program director of Faith and Blue.
With increased concerns about social justice and police reform and communities struggling with rising violence, positive law enforcement engagement with the public is needed more than ever. Officers must address crime and its underlying issues and change negative behavioral patterns more effectively.
One solution is to reinforce community relationships and build neighborhoods where everyone feels safe and included. The faith-based community is a unique, powerful partner in this effort because of its diversity and deep ties and trust in neighborhoods.
Creating a weekend for houses of worship and law enforcement to collaborate is a powerful way to enhance community policing. To this end, in 2020, a national social change organization partnered with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office of Community Oriented Policing Services to inaugurate the first National Faith and Blue Weekend.
In its first two years, Faith and Blue has become the largest, most consolidated police-community outreach initiative in history, reaching all 50 states; over 1,600 faith-based organizations; and 825 national, state, and local law enforcement agencies. Over 3,000 events have taken place.
Faith and Blue engagements are flexible and varied, including community service projects, meet and greets, picnics, parades, movie nights, and athletic events — almost anything that will create meaningful connections between people of all backgrounds and those who uphold the law. During the weekend, events are posted on an interactive map and actively promoted through social media where community members can find nearby activities.
Throughout 2022, quarterly “Days of Engagement” sessions on reconciliation, service, or unity will take place to create momentum and an opportunity for agencies and residents to increase their connections leading up to the annual event. Each session will have a national, virtual activity and local way to participate. Last year, there was an online discussion on use of force, race, officer safety, and crime reduction.
Faith and Blue is more than a weekend. It is about deepening engagements between officers and residents to transform communities. This country needs the leadership of all key stakeholders to reduce tensions, address biases, and create understanding between law enforcement and the public to create safer and more inclusive communities.
The next National Faith and Blue Weekend will be held October 7-10, 2022.
To learn more or receive a comprehensive planning toolkit with sample activities, please visit https://www.faithandblue.org or email email@example.com.