Police & Resident Circles
The Zeidler Center believes that an important step in repairing relationships between law enforcement and communities of color in Milwaukee, is to come together in safe spaces that provide the opportunity for facilitated, face-to-face communication to co-create resident-based solutions. The Zeidler Center’s program includes a series of listening circles in five Milwaukee communities: Harambee, Metcalfe Park, Clarke Square/Muskego Way, Sherman Park, and Amani. These listening circles create a platform for greater mutual trust and understanding, essential for establishing a constructive, collaborative environment for change.
Our partners for this program include Safe & Sound, Milwaukee District Attorney’s Office, and the Milwaukee Police Department.
The Zeidler Center provides professional facilitators who help to create a safe space for conversations to take place. They do not act as participants. Instead, their job is to take anonymous notes, recording the thoughts and voice of everyone in the circles, keeping time so everyone has the same amount of time to speak, and reminding people of their communication agreements.
The circle format involves small group go-arounds with silence in-between each speaker. Communication agreements include "We will not interrupt" and "We will speak from our personal experience. We will not try to represent a whole group, or ask someone else to represent, defend, or explain an entire group of people."
We believe that both residents and police should be involved in the planning of dialogues from the beginning. In this program, each neighborhood has its own small planning committee composed of 1-2 MPD officers, a youth and adult resident, and 2 Zeidler Center facilitators.
Planning Committees are tasked with the job of co-designing a series of listening circles for their community. They plan the format and questions, build foundational trust, and assist to invite residents and officers to the larger listening circles.
Unlike townhall meetings or "listening sessions" that only allow a few voices to be heard, and tend to raise tensions, the unique format of these listening circles gives all participants a voice and the same amount of time to speak.
For the Zeidler Center, the goals of the listening circles between police and residents include deep listening, speaking from the heart, building trust and relationships, and humanizing across boundaries.
We believe all other action steps and recommendations will arise organically from the participants in dialogue.
Location: 1720 W Locust St, Milwaukee, WI 53206
Dates/Times: Monday, April 29, 5:30p
Clarke Square/Muskego Way
Muskego Way Location: TBD
Muskego Way Dates/Times: Wednesday, June 26, 2019, 5:30pm