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Safe Community for All is topic of annual prison ministry gathering

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New London —  Winston Taylor was thinking about the safety and well-being of the entire community, and as always, about its children of color, when he organized this year's Community Prison Awareness and Prevention gathering.

The theme for the Oct. 19 event at the Shiloh Baptist Church Family Life Center is Prevention 101: How do we build a safe and successful community. The event runs from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

An African American social worker who runs Shiloh's prison ministry programs, Taylor said he would like the community to come together to work on improving police-community relations, stopping the school-to-prison pipeline for at-risk children and helping those who are incarcerated return to the community.

Breakfast and lunch will be provided, along with thought-provoking discussions and action plans, according to Taylor.

Some of this year's workshops will begin with skits about the topics and will involve members of local police departments, educators and community leaders.

"School systems do not know how to handle children who may be having problems at home, and it's still the school-to-prison pipeline," he said.

Also, he said, people of color are still experiencing discrimination in interactions with police, and in general, problems persist with racial bias in the criminal justice and child welfare sytems and the world in general.

"We're hoping any individuals who work with this community will attend," he said. "We want them to understand how their delivery of services impacts people of color."

Presenters include members of area police departments, former prison inmates, Assistant Principal Jamal Davis from Groton's West Side Middle School, New London NAACP Vice President Tamara Lanier, New London Human Services Director Jeanne Milstein and talk show host/author and counselor Annie B. Wilder.

Morning sessions will include youth workshops for children ages 6 to 9 and 10 to 12. The program will end with a skit on "Our Beloved Community," during which the Prison Ministry Players will depict what the community would look like if everyone was working together, and a discussion of practical ways in which community members can work together to fix broken systems.

 

If You Go

What: Community Prison Awareness and Prevention

When: 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 19 

Where: Shiloh Baptist Church Family Life Center, 3 Garvin St., New London

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