Participants who hosted the symposium; Chi Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, The Urban League of Broward County Young Professionals Network and the T.J. Reddick Bar Association.
By Dione Y. Trawick
FORT LAUDERDLAE, FL — On Feb. 7, 2015, Chi Psi Omega Chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, The Urban League of Broward County Young Professionals Network and the T.J. Reddick Bar Association hosted a two part symposium titled “Know Your Rights: Police Community Relations Post Ferguson and Where Do We Go From Here?”
The purpose of the symposium, spearheaded by Dione Y. Trawick, Esq., Ruby Green, Esq., and Destiny DeJesus was to in-form young adults of their constitutional rights as well as exercising them when being stopped and searched and how to conduct themselves, communicating effectively; thereby, fostering mutual respect when encountered by law enforcement officers.
The first of a two part program began following a welcome by the presidents of the respective organizations.
The first part of the symposium consisted of a “Know” Your Rights workshop. More than 90 youth from ages 12 through 17, along with 50 adults watched a 45-minute video outlining their rights when dealing with police encounters, which was followed by interactive workshops for the youth with role-playing as well as questions and answer sessions, facilitated by attorneys, investigators from the law office of the Broward Public Defender, law enforcement from the Broward Sheriff’s Office and the Sunrise Police Department questions and answer sessions. A motivational speech was provided for the youth by District V, School Board member, Dr. Rosalind Osgood.
Following lunch, a public forum was held and moderated by Katie S. Phang, Esq., (local 10 News commentator and Fox News insider), of Berger Singerman LLP.
The youths and community openly discussed with Broward Sheriff, Scott Israel and the panelists topics such as racial profiling, scenarios that escalate negative police interaction, ways of avoidance, and procedures for fostering complaints against law enforcement. Youths also discussed the civil citation program as well as proposed changes to the Florida Stand Your Ground Laws and police oversight boards. Panelists provided their opinions, personal experiences and possible solutions to the problems experienced within the community, youth in particular, and law enforcement.
The facilitators for the “Know Your Rights” workshops included: Lorena Mastrarrigo, Esq., Kandia Batchelor, Esq., Marissa Fallica, Esq.; Marie Triche, Esq.; Alicia Jacobs Esq.; Jeremy Mishali, Esq.; Jeffrey Hittleman, Esq.; Betsey Benson Esq.; Rachel Newman, Esq.; Jenifer Edgley, Esq.; Bruneley LaLanne, Esq.; Annie Edmond Esq., Tobechuku Nwahiri, Esq.; Investigator Dominique Dormeus ; Investigator Joel Maney; Officer Megan Jones Sunrise PD, Sergeant Brian Hubbert Sunrise PD; Deputy Robert Smith BSO, Captain Robert Dunbar BSO and Elizabeth McHugh, Administrative Director Law Office of the Public Defender
Chi Psi Omega chapter members in attendance were: Veronica Phillips, president; Josetta B. Patterson, Connection chairman; Dione Y. Trawick Esq. , Connections co-chairman, Carla Navarro, Catrice Lee-Brown, Paula Edwards, Andrea Bailey-Dowling, Ann B. Lee, Kimberly Latson Dupont, Venetta McCullough, Alana DaSent Esq., Barbara J. Thomas, Juline Blanfort, Karena Ivey, Gracia Curlee-Gordon, Jerelene Franklin, and Michelle Green.