The Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee is launching a five-part conversation series on improving community-police relations. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee)

The Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee is launching a five-part conversation series on improving community-police relations. (Courtesy of Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee)

Police committee launches conversation series on community relations in Greater Victoria

Five sessions to be hosted by local human rights advocate

Members of the Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee say they are ready to sit down and listen.

The group of community representatives and police officers is launching a five-part conversation series from September to October on how it can improve police-community relations and tackle systemic discrimination.

Titled “Courageous Community Conversations,” the series will be led by University of Victoria social justice professor and human rights advocate Moussa Magassa. Magassa has done extensive work on anti-racism education and currently co-chairs the police diversity committee.

The five sessions will welcome input from Greater Victoria’s Indigenous, Black, South Asian, East and Southeast Asian, and LGBTQ2S+ communities in small-scale, in-person settings. To help ensure open, constructive conversation, the sessions will be limited to 25 people and participants’ information will be kept confidential.

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At the end of the series, one final gathering will be held with representatives from each conversation and the Greater Victoria police chiefs. Magassa will also prepare a final report capturing all the recommendations made in the sessions, to be made public in spring 2022.

“We are hoping that these courageous conversations will yield effective change in community-police relationships as we take steps to address systemic discrimination,” Greater Victoria Police Diversity Advisory Committee co-chair and Victoria Native Friendship Center family service team leader Brenda Freeman said in a statement.

The series runs from Sept. 16 to Oct. 28. More information can be found at gvpdac.org.

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