On the morning of January 13, 2015, the Eggertsville Community Center/Boys and Girls Club hosted a Multicultural Community Partnership Summit. This unique event brought together a group of multicultural community leaders and law-enforcement representatives from the federal, state and local levels – including cities, towns, and villages – who serve the residents of Erie County. WNYMuslims.org was invited to attend this event to speak on behalf of the Muslim community.
The goal of the Multicultural Community Partnership Summit was to create and/or enhance the dialogue between law enforcement officers and multicultural community leaders to improve the understanding of the various cultures represented in Erie County. The conversation also focused on developing points of contact between community leaders and law enforcement agencies to improve relations and assist with cultural/procedural questions. Also to learn how to improve and/or enhance community-wide relations between law enforcement and the individuals from the many cultural groups that reside in Erie County. Discussions took place where advice was given about interacting with police to minimize conflict and risk for all parties.
The event consisted of a mock explanation of how residents should act when being stopped by a police officer. Dialogues between community leaders and law enforcement were on subjects such as the negativity in the media, the direct attack on Muslims and the Muslim community as a whole as well as additional concerns about safety in the neighborhoods. There were concerns about the language barrier that exists throughout our diverse community as well. By the end of the Summit some short and long term goals were discussed to be put in place to address some of the concerns. This is one of several summits that will conducted to continue to work together to form further peace and unity throughout Erie County.