The STOP: Improving Police and Community Relations is a book that every family—especially every black family—needs to own and read.
I would often wonder after hearing of a fatal police encounter, what went wrong? Why didn’t that person know how to interact with the police? Why aren’t people taught how? Even if the police were in the wrong, was there anything the person could have done to defuse the situation?
Now I don’t have to wonder any longer.
Dwayne Bryant, a son of a police officer who has himself been stopped by police seven times beginning when he was in elementary school, has written this necessary book.
That sentence alone needs to give us pause. Bryant doesn’t look suspicious. He’s rather a nice-looking regular guy who smiles easily and has intelligent eyes. Yet he’s been stopped seven times beginning when he was in elementary school.
He has never been arrested. He has no criminal record. What is it about Bryant that should attract such attention from law enforcement? As Bryant says in a video on his website, black men get stopped “for breathing.” His book and the social-emotional curriculum developed from it aims at keeping such encounters from being fatal.
From The STOP Bryant has developed a successful social-emotional learning curriculum that has been used within the Chicago public school system for about a decade. Called The Vision, this 21-week curriculum for urban youth in grades 3–11 is based on the STOP principle, which stands for Supporting the Teaching Of Principles.
Bryant, founder and CEO of Inner Vision International Inc., believes that the curriculum, designed especially for urban youth, can prove successful in cities nationwide by equipping and empowering its readers. The book and curriculum
Teach youth how to interact with police in a respectful manner;
Provide a framework for teachers and community leaders to engage in a meaningful dialogue with youth about their expectations for their lives;
Offer practical solutions to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement, creating a positive relationship.
“Before you change your world, you must change your vision,” Bryant says in a statement. “A positive outcome goes a long way for our community and nation.”