Brockport Night Out Bridges Gap Between Minority Students, Law Enforcement
With tensions flaring between minorities and law enforcement across the nation, a simple night of games and activities brings them together.
Daniel Jimenez, president of the Men of Color Student Organization at the College, led the second annual “Brockport Night Out” on September 12. Jimenez said the goal of the event is to strengthen the trust between students and local law enforcement.
“We hope to set the tone early in the semester with an event like this,” Jimenez said. “We want to familiarize our students with our law enforcement by placing the two groups in a natural setting.”
Chief Diversity Officer Cephas Archie helped create the event last year with the hope of getting both sides dedicated to strengthening their relationship. The event originated when Archie began to think about the challenges it represented nationally. While he believes we can’t simply change a nation, we can start by focusing on improving the issues within our community.
“The College is working on solutions for nationally identified challenges at a local level,” Archie said. “This is just a start; we plan to keep growing our relationship as a community long-term.”
Archie said the turnout of this year’s event is humbling, and the relationships formed in just one year since its inception are nothing short of amazing. Participants included not only students and law enforcement, but also Mayor of Brockport Margaret Blackman, representatives of Wegmans, and College President Heidi Macpherson. All participants came to the event with a goal in mind.
Brockport Chief of Police Mark Cuzzupoli said his main goal since becoming chief last April is to strengthen the police department’s relationship with the community through community service and events.
“We want to build trust between the College and the Village, and events like this make it possible,” Cuzzupoli said. “We hope this event makes people feel comfortable coming to us whether they are a victim, witness, or simply interested in law enforcement.”
The Men of Color hope they achieved the goal of all parties through interactive games, including wheelbarrow racing, dodgeball, tug of war, and more.
“I have always believed in leading by example,” Jimenez said. “I hope that when people see me out there engaging with the officers, it empowers them to do the same.”