The death of 18-year-old Michael Brown last August at the hands of a Ferguson, Mo., police officer sparked a movement to raise awareness about the complex and difficult relationships between communities of color and police in many places.
Young black men face a far greater risk of being shot by police than young white men — more than 20 times greater, according to a ProPublica analysis of federal data.
Churches, community groups and organizations have been grappling with how to help their communities cope with the realities of racism and police violence. In Chicago, Trinity United Church of Christ — a large congregation on the city’s South Side — held safety forums for youth and their parents, and they dedicated a church bulletin to educating people about interacting with the police.
An infographic used during that training, “10 Rules of Survival if Stopped by the Police,” has been developed into a short film by the SALT Project, an Indianapolis-based nonprofit production company, in partnership with Trinity UCC and Christian Theological Seminary. The film, “Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival,” was produced at WFYI.
To see the video, go to WFYI's American Graduate website.
"I believe it will save lives and hopefully reduce some of the tension between the community and the police," said Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas, professor of homiletics and director of CTS’ Academy of Preaching and Celebration. "The community needs the police, and the police need the community."
Thomas saw the brochure that Trinity UCC had created for its workshops, and recognized the power of its message.
"It is our hope that this new short film format will reach an even wider audience and help save even more lives," said Rev. Elizabeth Myer Boulton, President and Creative Director of SALT.
The target audience for "Get Home Safely: 10 Rules of Survival" is not just for the African-American community; the film is for everyone who believes that we can do better as a nation, its creators said.
"The goal is to create understanding," Thomas said. "We would like people from all walks of life to watch this short film and, in doing so, seek to understand both sides of the situation. We can say #BlackLivesMatter and #PoliceLivesMatter."