Truth & Reconciliation Project on Policing | Vanderbilt Divinity School

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Vanderbilt Divinity School is partnering with Gideon’s Army for a series of public truth and reconciliation hearings on community members’ experiences of policing in Nashville. The first hearing is March 28, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Vanderbilt Divinity School. More information about the hearings (dates, times, locations) can be found below. As we have said before, “The first step in fixing a problem is acknowledging that it exists.” These hearings are one way of continuing to help the entire Nashville community acknowledge that a problem exists, and to better understand that problem.

To prepare for the public hearings, Vanderbilt Divinity School is asking community members to submit testimonies detailing experiences with policing in Nashville. Gideon’s Army encourages community members to submit their testimonies in order to further build up the public record of experiences of policing in our community. Visit this website to submit your testimony. Please share this information in your networks and encourage Nashville community organizations working with residents affected by policing to share this testimony submission form throughout their networks.

Learn more about the Truth and Reconciliation Project on Policing at the Vanderbilt Divinity School website. Here are the basics, copied from their website:

The Scope

Vanderbilt Divinity School, in partnership with Gideon’s Army and the Nashville community, will host four Truth and Reconciliation Hearings on Policing. We will invite black, brown, queer, and white allies to tell and listen to personal stories of police abuse and dehumanizing local policing practices. Those giving testimony will help uncover the experience of policing, its methodologies, and habits. From these transcripts, with the community (and hopefully with cooperation from Metro Nashville Police Department), we will work: (1) to further develop a Citizen Oversight Board, (2) to understand and challenge policing policy and procedure in Nashville, beginning with a commitment by the police to reassess its policy and procedures and treatment of communities of color, (3) to negotiate a community covenant will that includes ten expectations for how we treat each other in the process of human centered policing in the community to preempt the phenomenon of police brutality and violence toward police in Nashville, and (4) to develop continuing education seminars on race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality, community centered policing, and restorative justice.

The Process

Houses of worship, nonprofits, and community organizations are invited to host listening sessions for people to talk about their experiences with local police over the last decade. We have outlined a list of questions to frame your testimony. We ask that you use this framework for the listening sessions and for the public hearings. These religious, nonprofit, and community leaders will hear your testimonies then recommend to us the stories they find compelling for the public hearings to be hosted at VDS. We also have an online process where you may submit your testimony directly to us. We will select all the statements we receive from the community and notify the people we would like to stand testimony for one of the dates mentioned below. In total, 28 people will give testimony at VDS over four dates.

Dates and Location

March 28, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

April 22, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

April 29, 12:00 – 2:00 pm

May 16, 6:00 – 8:00 pm

All hearings will be held in the Reading Room of Vanderbilt Divinity School (located one floor up from the ground level).

Please arrive 30 minutes before event for registration and seating.

Each hearing will be video-recorded.

Guests attending these hearings may park in any non-reserved Zone 2 parking space in the Wesley Garage after 4:30 pm.