Huntington News, February 2022
Northeastern’s College of Social Sciences and Humanities hosted its second annual Race and Community Dialogue Series virtually Jan. 25. The Community Advisory Board of the Institute on Race and Justice, or IRJ, compiled a panel of experts including youth participants from local organizations and representatives of regional police departments to discuss the selected topic for the forum, “Race, Youth, and Police Relationships: A Strategy to Build Trust.”
Jack McDevitt, professor of criminology and criminal justice at Northeastern and director of the IRJ, kicked off the conversation with a synopsis of the historical relationship between law enforcement and the youth in Boston and beyond.
“This is really about elevating young people’s voices,” said Harvard professor Harry Harding, who oversees a Roxbury-based group called the Youth and Police in Partnership, or YPP. “Too often in politics… or really any social arena, youth voices are ignored.”
Lieutenant Mark Gillespie of the Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority, or MBTA, spoke about the inclusion of local youth in his team’s efforts to refrain from arresting juveniles. He discussed the MBTA’s peer mediation strategy and its success locally. “If we get youths speaking with youths who are trained as mediators … that’s worked pretty well.”