The inaugural National Faith & Blue Weekend (NFBW) kicks-off this weekend, October 9-12, 2020. Nearly every major city in the United States of America is participating in this nationwide effort. The mission is to “facilitate safer, stronger, more just and unified communities by engaging law enforcement officers and local residents through the connections of houses of worship.”
Over the next four-days, law enforcement agencies in every major media market and throughout the United States will partner with local faith institutions to host open-to-the-public activities focused on repairing and strengthening the bond between communities and those that protect them. The activities will include forums and town halls, peace and unity walks/marches, picnics, athletic events, vigils, and other activities that foster an environment of problem-solving, resolution and reconciliation. Activities will be conducted virtually, socially distanced or in small groups in-person.
This inaugural initiative is convened by Atlanta-based MovementForward, Inc.’s One Congregation One Precinct (OneCOP) and the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS Office) and is the most consolidated police-community outreach project in recent American history. Every major national law enforcement professional and membership organization and every major faith tradition are jointly organizing. Convened by the Reverend Markel Hutchins, a noted social justice, human & civil rights leader and CEO of MovementForward, Inc., National Faith & Blue Weekend (NFBW) is a non-partisan, non-sectarian effort to power a movement where law enforcement professionals and local residents build connections that break-down divides, decrease biases, increase familiarity and spur ongoing collaboration in neighborhoods across America.
The ten largest police departments in the U.S. are participating, each with significant engagement including the New York Police Department (NYPD), Philadelphia Police Department, New Orleans Police Department, Chicago Police Department, Los Angeles Police Department, Boston Police Department, Houston Police Department, Dallas Police Department, Washington DC Police Department, Miami Police Department Detroit Police Department, and hundreds of other local, state and federal law enforcement agencies. In New York City alone, the NYPD will participate in more than 50 different Faith & Blue events.
“Our pathway to progress around policing as a nation is a collaborative one that focuses on our commonalities rather than our differences,” says NFBW organizer Reverend Markel Hutchins. He continued, “Because sixty million Americans attend weekly gatherings at more than 350,000 houses of worship nationwide, nothing rivals the depth and breadth of influence presented by houses of worship who are unique and powerful gateways to the heart of communities in which they have a mutual interest in achieving effective police-community engagement.”
“Finding common ground and ensuring justice for all starts with collaborative and respectful communication, and National Faith and Blue Weekend is evidence of leadership by example,” said Jason Porter, Senior Vice President, FirstNet Built with AT&T. “Through its mission focused and highly diverse group of faith-based and policing organization leaders, this initiative is laser focused on facilitating positive and actionable community relations between citizens and law enforcement across our nation. As America’s public safety partner, it’s our honor to support this grassroots effort to strengthen police-community relations in neighborhoods across the country.”
As evidenced by the nearly 1000 community-led activities taking place this weekend across the U.S., and against the backdrop of the compounded stresses of the COVID-19 pandemic and the unprecedented strains on police-community relations, communities across the country want to address and repair relations with local law enforcement through partnerships with houses of worship of every tradition in every neighborhood in America.
This effort is made possible by FirstNet Built with AT&T along with the Motorola Solutions Foundation and Wrap Technologies. To learn more about events in specific communities or for more information about National Faith & Blue Weekend, visit www.faithandblue.org/events.