Breaking barriers, changing preconceived perceptions, and understanding each other can be challenging. Gaining understanding often means meeting with others, talking with them and listening and recently, UEHS The Squad did just that when the group hosted its first “Lunch with the Law,” which is loosely modelled after “Coffee with a Cop.”
The goal was to offer an opportunity where law enforcement officers and cadets meet with students where everyone involved speaks their truth and listens to what others have to say. 37 cadets in their fifth week of training attended. Members of JFS Brother to Brother, UEHS The Squad and SUNY Broome Men of Excellence attended and Talik Farmer, a freshman at SUNY Broome and member of Men of Excellence and his group lead the event.
After introductions, mixed groups of students and cadets were formed and they went around introducing themselves and doing icebreakers. Then they got lunch and sat back down continuing their conversations.
Kyle Wolf, Squad adviser, said, “My students LOVED IT, even the ones who were on the fence about coming. Many asked if we can we do this again with the same cadets next year and told me how much they learned from this.”
A huge thank you to SUNY Broome, Dr. Carol Ross, Danielle Tierno, and Vanessa Rodriguez, for securing funding and helping to organize this special event. Another huge thank you to Broome County Sherriff Sgt. Sam Davis for his continued work with The Squad and his role in helping explain to students what this event was, planning it, and bringing the cadets in. And lastly, thank you to Talik, and Men of Excellence members for their work on this. Talik organized two hours of an incredible experience for all involved.
Wolf hopes this becomes an annual event and plans to add current police officers, judges, lawyers, and politicians.