One of the most awesome things about being a RU12? Volunteer is the opportunity to do extraordinary things. Last week (work week Feb. 24 – 28, 2014), I was honored to shadow RU12? Staff member and state-wide “let’s teach’em ‘bout them queers” trainer Jean Sienkewicz from the SafeSpace program as she presented to members Vermont’s police and sheriff’s departments from all around the Green Mountain State. A collaboration with T. J. Anderson, Training Coordinator for the Vermont State Police Academy, the curriculum was designed to “train the trainer” and participants will be taking back the knowledge gained to the various/far-reaching agencies they represent and passing along all the wisdom gained to their fellow officers.
I think the thing that really made this blogger’s heart sing with joy was the eager, earnest and openness with which those in attendance seemed to embrace the materials presented. If I had to sum up the overall attitude in the room in a single word it would have to be: engaged. As the officers present asked questions, participated in ongoing dialog and appeared determined to have an increased understanding of the LBGTQHA community they protect and serve.
June 28, 2014, will mark the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots. Riots that marked starting line for the modern LBGTQ movement in America. Those riots were a direct response to New York City Police discrimination, harassment and violence toward our community. In my lifetime, as I am 45, I can say without a doubt; things most definitely have gotten better. And with all the fine work that RU12? Is doing and continues to do on our communities’ behalf my heart is only filled with excitement and hope.