Partnering with the Black United Front on the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement

Partnering with the Black United Front on the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement

By Shaonta’ Allen, second year doctoral student in Sociology, graduate assistant, Yates Fellow, and Southern Regional Education Board Scholar

Through The Cincinnati Project,  I’ve had the opportunity to work with the Black United Front, a local organization committed to bettering community police relations in Cincinnati, on a research project aimed at refreshing the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement. This anti-bias policing agreement was signed by the city, the police department, and community leaders in the wake of the 2001 civil unrest that culminated out of a police officer’s fatal shooting of an unarmed African-American man. City leaders are making a public pledge to review the Collaborative Agreement, as it was the basis of the previous decade’s police reforms.

We worked together to create a survey that would capture community members’ perspectives of policing. I assisted with the data collection process as well as with data analysis and reporting. In addition to making the survey available online, I, along with a few other team members, attended popular community events throughout the city, such as the Cincinnati Music Festival and the Black Family Reunion, in the hopes of recruiting respondents in person. Altogether we received over 1200 responses in a just a 3-month time-period! I worked with University of Cincinnati Political Science Professor Brian Calfano to analyze the data that was reported which was later converted into a comprehensive report over 125 pages long.

The Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement’s booth at the Black Family Reunion where community members could stop by and take the survey

It was very exciting to be a part of this research project because the community’s voice is often overlooked when it comes to discussions of policing, yet in a short amount of time I was able to work with a team that collected a ton of data that captured just that! I was also able to  present some of our data at a public forum attended by not only community members but also several police-officers. This was particularly rewarding because, in a way, I was able to link the community’s comments and suggestions about policing directly back to the individuals who could implement the changes that they proposed.

As a sociologist interested in race relations and social justice, I’ve always believed that the research I conduct should have direct implications on the betterment of my community. Working on this survey regarding the Collaborative Agreement has reinforced this belief.

 

The Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement Research Team posing for a quick picture at the Cincinnati Music Festival

I have been able to see first-hand how vital it is for our stories to be told from our own perspectives, and I have witnessed the negative implications of what happens when we are not in positions to advocate for ourselves.

“This collaboration has helped make me a better scholar”

Working on this project has assisted with the development of my quantitative research skills. I’ve tailored most of my academic methodological training towards qualitative skills. However, working with Professor Calfano on analyzing the survey data pushed me out of my comfort zone, and has helped make me a better scholar.

Presenting the findings at a community meeting.

Presenting this data at the community forum equipped me with the skills to present data in non-academic settings. As a graduate student I attend several academic conferences a year and as a result, I have experience giving academic talks. However, given my commitment to ensuring my research is accessible to my community, knowing how to discuss research results in layman’s terms is an essential skill which I now have thanks to this collaboration!

Overall, I’m thankful for this opportunity and excited to continue working with these community organizations. We already have plans to present our data at another community forum and are additionally in the early stages of writing a research article together. This all serves as an indication of the significance of collaborative work between community partners and university research scholars.

jmalatPartnering with the Black United Front on the Cincinnati Collaborative Agreement
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Working Together to Refresh the Collaborative Agreement

Working Together to Refresh the Collaborative Agreement

By Brian Robert Calfano, Ph.D.

Working with Iris Roley and Al Gerhardstein has been a meaningful learning experience for me, and I can certainly say that I have learned far more about Cincinnati from the viewpoint of these pivotal stakeholders than I would have initially imagined.

I was approached in early summer 2017 to lead a survey project that would assess community impressions of the Collaborative Agreement, community/police relations, and citizen familiarity with complaint processes put in place since the agreement went into effect in 2002. Both Iris and Al were heavily involved in helping to determine the questions and topics featured in the survey, and Iris was especially instrumental in working to ensure that community members were made aware of the survey’s purpose as part of the larger goal of determining the nature of a collaborative “refresh”.

Data collection ran from June to September, with analysis beginning in mid-September in anticipation of presenting the findings at the city’s first community forum on the collaborative refresh (set for the 25th). Working with Shaonta Allen, a University of Cincinnati graduate in sociology, Iris, Al, and I collaborated daily (sometimes multiple times a day) during the analysis and report write-up period to determine the best ways to communicate the findings and insights to the broadest possible audience.

Throughout the process, I was often reminded through Iris and Al’s abiding concern for the prospect of social justice in Cincinnati that the purpose of my effort was not simply to capture accurately the views of the over 1200 community members who participated in the survey research, but to enlighten and inspire the collective discussion about the Collaborative Agreement’s future in securing a truly just city for all its residents.

jmalatWorking Together to Refresh the Collaborative Agreement
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Community-Partnered Research Workshop

Community-Partnered Research Workshop

Are you interested in learning from faculty who regularly conduct community-partnered research? Would you like to meet others at the University of Cincinnati who are interested in research that helps Cincinnati communities? We are pleased to be partnering with the Center for Race, Gender and Social Justice at the College of Law to host, “Community-Partnered Research: How to do it and why it matters” from 10am-2:30pm on October 27, 2017 at the African American Cultural and Resource Center. The event will include presentations from experienced researchers in the morning and opportunities for networking and exchanging ideas in the afternoon. Check out the flyer for the event by clicking here. If you plan to attend, please RSVP here.

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UC Researchers to Lead Cincinnati Gender Equality Study

UC Researchers to Lead Cincinnati Gender Equality Study

The city of Cincinnati tapped UC researchers Amy Lind and Anne Sisson Runyan to lead a citywide gender equality analysis following its recent passage of a city ordinance ratifying a landmark UN women’s rights convention.

As part of its recognition of CEDAW, Cincinnati’s governing council provided funding for a citywide gender analysis of its various departments and of citizens’ access to its services, and gave itself 120 days to appoint a formal task force on gender equality. The University of Cincinnati was tapped to lead the initial study.

Amy Lind, Mary Ellen Heintz Professor and head of the Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS), and Anne Sisson Runyan, professor of political science and WGSS, are two co-leaders of the study, which will use both quantitative and qualitative analysis to examine gender equality in the Queen City.

The study will be structured to directly compare, “those people with the same kinds of educational backgrounds, those people with the same years on the job, etcetera, and then be able to set those factors aside and see how gender is statistically significant,” Runyan said.

To read the complete news article, please click here.

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Join us on February 17th!

Join us on February 17th!

Patricia Hill Collins, PhD, Joins Us for The Third Annual Cincinnati Project Symposium!

The Symposium is on Friday, February 17, 2017
8:30 AM – 2:30 PM

African American Cultural & Resource Center

Patricia Hill Collins, PhD will give her keynote address on
“Taking a Stand: Anti-Black Racism and Coalitional Politics”
Registration information and full agenda available by clicking here.

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Patrisse Cullors, Ph.D., Speaks on February 16 about Essential Resistance

Patrisse Cullors, Ph.D., Speaks on February 16 about Essential Resistance

Join us on February 16, at 6:00pm in TUC Great Hall to hear Patrisse Cullors, PhD, a founder of the Black Lives Matter movement, speak on:

“Resistance is Essential: The Continuing Fight for Black and Queer Lives”

Event is free and open to the public.

Sponsored by The Taft Research Center, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Departments of Sociology, Africana Studies, Communication, Journalism, Psychology, Anthropology and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

cinciprojectPatrisse Cullors, Ph.D., Speaks on February 16 about Essential Resistance
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Lessons from DOJ Investigations, Attend Panel on October 4!

Lessons from DOJ Investigations, Attend Panel on October 4!

“Terence Crutcher. Keith Lamont Scott. Korryn Gaines. These are just some of the most recent additions to the growing roll of people killed by police. Communities across the nation struggle for answers, strategies, and, most importantly, an end to the violence. On October 4, 2016, the University of Cincinnati will host this important discussion, building upon lessons learned from Department of Justice (DOJ) investigations in Ferguson, Missouri, and Baltimore, Maryland.”

Read the rest at: http://wp.me/p7NnXg-6M

Written by Verna Williams, the Judge Joseph P. Kinneary Professor of Law, co-founder and co-director of Cincinnati Law’s Center for Race, Gender, and Social Justice.

Attend the Panel:
October 4, 2016 @ 3:30 p.m.
University of Cincinnati
Richard E. Lindner Center, Room 450

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Ferguson, Baltimore and Cincinnati

Ferguson, Baltimore and Cincinnati

By Earl Wright II

On Tuesday, October 4, I will participate on a panel discussion on the implications of the Department of Justice reports on Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland titled, “DOJ Reports on Policing in Ferguson and Baltimore: What They Mean for Cincinnati and the Country.” During the few minutes I have to talk I will focus on two matters:

  • connecting the findings of the recent DOJ reports to an American history of policing that dates back to this nation’s years of reconstruction
  • advising the leadership in Cincinnati to use the findings from the DOJ reports proactively to provide leadership on issues of policing and, more importantly, to learn from the mistakes of police militarization as the trial of Ray Tensing nears and the decision on his guilt or innocence lay in the balance.

Black Codes

The Black CodesIn 1903 sociologist W. E. B. Du Bois wrote about the shadow slavery program that followed the ‘peculiar institution.’ During these years “Black Codes,” de jure and de facto laws severely governing the lives and freedoms of Black Americans, were established. Examples of punishable offenses include the gathering of two or more Blacks in a public area, and being unemployed. Having little to no protection under the law, thousands of men and women were unjustly jailed, some for simply not being gainfully employed. Their labor was literally sold to the highest bidder in the region. The successful bidder (i.e., plantation owner) then legally controlled the (slave) labor of the persons whom he purchased from local officials. This was practiced during the early twentieth century.

What say we today?

This practice is still in play today. One can look at laws connected to the American drug war that has led to a supply of able bodied persons whose ‘talents’ have been and continue to be utilized in private and government prisons for the production of various products at minimal expenditures. As it relates to Ferguson, Missouri, government officials purposely used the criminal justice system to extract monies from its primarily Black citizens to supplement the local budget.

The targeting of Blacks in this manner is eerily similar to that of years past. This gives one pause to raise the question, “How far removed from the reconstruction era are we?”

Militarized Use of Force

Ferguson shootingIn Ferguson and Baltimore the world witnessed how the militarization of an institution sworn to “serve and protect” the members of its community engaged in militaristic tactics designed for combat against enemies of this nation and in locations far from our borders. The militarized use of force against the members of ones community should not occur, unless the force employed against the policing community are also militarized. Notwithstanding the latter, the military rule over American communities must not be allowed.

What has the city of Cincinnati learned?

As the city of Cincinnati prepares for the trial of the University of Cincinnati police officer charged with killing Samuel DuBose one must ask the question, “what has the city of Cincinnati learned from the tactics of community engagement observed in other cities?” One can only hope that the powers that be in this city and region have carefully and clearheadedly examined the best practices in community engagement and policing. For if they have not then the name Cincinnati may, again, be added to the string of other cities whose citizens expressed displeasure with their treatment via the criminal justice system in ways that some may deem unpleasant. In order to prevent such unfortunate situations some of us at the University of Cincinnati are participating in a unit, The Cincinnati Project, that may serve as an intermediary between residents and the policing community.

The Cincinnati Project Serves as a Bridge

The Cincinnati Project (TCP) was established in 2014 to serve as a bridge between community stakeholders and institutional units at the University of Cincinnati such that those relationships can be (re)established and/or improved. The primary goal of TCP is to offer the skills and talents of members of the university community to the larger Cincinnati community whereby specific research needs of grassroots members of the community can be met. Moreover, TCP engages with community stakeholders as equal partners, not as a body of scholars single-mindedly focused on exploiting members of the community for our personal gain. However, as it relates to matters of social justice broadly and this panel discussion specifically, the goal of TCP is to serve as an intermediary whose efforts are useful in the maintenance of a prosperous and forward moving Queen City.

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Farrah Jacquez Selected for New National Leadership Program to Build Culture of Health

Farrah Jacquez Selected for New National Leadership Program to Build Culture of Health

(Cincinnati, Ohio) With their ability to design research to meet urgent community needs, and to directly apply research to create change, researchers and community leaders—such as directors of nonprofits, faith leaders, organizers or advocates—are powerful partners for impacting urgent community health needs.

As one of only 15 three-person teams selected, Farrah Jacquez, Associate Professor of Psychology at University of Cincinnati, joins Interdisciplinary Research Leaders, a new program led by the University of Minnesota with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Jacquez will join researchers and community leaders from across the country to collaborate and innovate to solve persistent challenges and advance a Culture of Health—one that places well-being at the center of every aspect of life.

As part of the program Jacquez will conduct a place-based research project with community members in the Roselawn and Carthage neighborhoods of Cincinnati to promote early childhood wellness. Along with collaborators from New Prospect Baptist Church and the American Academy of Family Physicians, Jacquez will conduct research that will directly benefit Carthage and Roselawn communities.

“This program gives our fellows the tools to make their work even more relevant and potent—and to bring new leadership skills and perspective back to their communities as well,” says J. Michael Oakes, PhD, director ofInterdisciplinary Research Leaders and professor at the University of Minnesota. “We were overwhelmed by the commitment, diverse perspectives and innovative ideas in our applicant pool and are very excited to work with this first group to put research into action and create a lasting, on-the-ground impact.”

Additional partners providing training and coaching to fellows include: AcademyHealth, Allina Health, ISAIAH and Local Initiatives Support Corporation.

Interdisciplinary Research Leaders is one of four new leadership development programs launched this year by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and represent a four-year, multimillion dollar investment. The programs join five existing leadership programs in advancing RWJF’s legacy of supporting the development and diversity of leaders impacting health. The 2017 application period for the new programs will open in January. Additional information is available at www.interdisciplinaryresearch-leaders.org.

cinciprojectFarrah Jacquez Selected for New National Leadership Program to Build Culture of Health
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