NLEN to honor Chicago Police Department at 11th Annual Sweet Beginnings Tea

Gloria News, thebuzz

Before Laquan McDonald. Before Quintonio LeGrier and Bettie Jones. Before Cedrick Chatman. Before Ferguson. Before Baltimore. Before #BlackLivesMatter. 

Interaction at Building Bridges, Building Connections(Photo:  Brandis Friedman WTTW)
Since 2011, the North Lawndale Employment Network has been working to improve relations between citizens and police in Chicago through our Building Bridges, Building Connections program.
Developed in 2010 with a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Racial Healing Initiative, Building Bridges, Building Connections is a nationally recognized, award winning workshop that focuses on healing the experiences of racism among returning citizens and addressing the institutionalized racism within the Chicago Police Department. Building Bridges helps Chicago police officers and returning citizens to see policing through each other’s eyes, resulting in changed attitudes and behavior that leads to more respectful and more successful interactions so that citizens – and police – can keep their lives, and retain their jobs. The program was recently featured on a WTTW Chicago Tonight segment: “Police Officers, Former Inmates Break Bread, Build Bridges.”
Retired First Deputy Alfonza Wysinger
Thanks to the support of the Chicago Police Department and the passionate commitment of Retired First Deputy Alfonza Wysinger and Interim Superintendent John Escalante, the program has served more than 500 citizens returning from incarceration and touched 10,000 Chicago police officers since 2011 through direct participation or police training that uses program components.
We know that this is a highly charged time for Chicago, as we challenge the transparency of the policing and judicial systems. We want, we demand justice for all of us, and believe that our Building Bridges, Building Connections program is just one  way to affect generational change for a more respectful and humane interaction between community and police.
Interim Superintendent John Escalante
We recognize that there are good police officers, and good people in our community, and that both can make poor choices. What we know for sure is that we all share the same hope:  at the end of the day, we all just want to go home.
At our 11th Annual Sweet Beginnings Tea, on February 19, 2016, we will honor First Deputy Wysinger, who has North Lawndale roots, and Superintendent Escalante, with our Creating a Community That Works Award, which is presented to those who exemplify NLEN core values and beliefs and improve the quality of life for North Lawndale residents.
Click here to buy your ticket today!
We invite you to join us at the Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park on Friday, February 19 from 2:30-5:00 to enjoy a cup of tea and delicacies with community builders, thought leaders and social influencers as we honor the clients we serve, the Chicago Police Department and other partners who make our work possible.
Click here to support our mission by purchasing a ticket or a table for the Sweet Beginnings Tea! Hurry – early bird pricing ends soon!
THANK YOU to our 2016 Sweet Beginnings Tea sponsors
Executive Director Brenda Palms Barber and Maureen McGoorty
Thank you, Maureen!
This month we bid a fond farewell to Maureen McGoorty, interim Assistant General Manager at Sweet Beginnings, LLC.  Her passion and belief in our mission and the men and women she supervised was evident in her every action. With her perpetually positive attitude and sense of humor, we think that Maureen is the bee’s knees!
                              bee warm, and bee well ~ Brenda