The campus community is invited to join discussions of police and politics this fall as part of Cornell’s Breaking Bread initiative, promoting diversity, inclusion and dialogue.
The first event, on the topic “Community and Police Relations,” Wednesday, Sept. 21, from 6 to 8 p.m. in 148 Stocking Hall, is free and includes dinner before the discussion.
Ithaca Mayor Svante Myrick ’09 and members of the Ithaca Police Department, Cornell University Police and various student organizations will join community participants at their tables to engage in dialogue on the topic. Intergroup Dialogue Project students will facilitate and prompt the small-group discussions, with recent college campus, national and global events as a backdrop for conversations.
Seating is limited to 96 participants, with priority given to students. RSVP online to confirm your participation.
A second Breaking Bread event, on “Post-Election America,” will be held Wednesday, Nov. 9, the day after the general election.
The discussions offer “an opportunity to facilitate a dialogue around those difficult issues and bring the campus, students and community members together to talk about them,” said Yael Levitte, associate vice provost for faculty development and diversity, whose office is among the series’ sponsors.
“I think the campus is really engaged in the issues,” she said, citing programming such as the yearlong “Freedom Interrupted” series addressing race, gender, policing and the national political landscape. “Breaking Bread is not an academic discussion; it’s a real attempt to grapple with what people are living with.”
The Breaking Bread initiative hosted three dinner discussions last spring on race, politics and religion in relation to campus climate, with university diversity officers and Cornell United Religious Work leaders also among the facilitators.
The discussion on politics was held April 20, the day after Hillary Clinton bested Bernie Sanders in the New York Democratic primary election.
“After the Democratic primary … it was a hard conversation,” Levitte said. For the November discussion, “we chose the day after the election, to have a conversation on where do we go from here?” she said. “It’s been such a polarized and divisive campaign, and there’s division in both parties. How do you govern through that? How do you bring people together?”
Breaking Bread is funded by the Office of the Provost and co-sponsored by the Center for Intercultural Dialogue, the Office of Academic Diversity Initiatives, the Office of Workforce Diversity and Inclusion and the Graduate School Office of Inclusion and Student Engagement.