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Gratitude for our collective work locally and nationally

Hello! As we lean into Thanksgiving celebrations tomorrow, in whatever fashion we use to stay connected with family and friends even if only virtually, I want to extend my gratitude for what is happening as a result of so many communities involved in helping to make a difference via awareness, education and support for building resilience. Here is a recent example of coming together, in our community, to attempt to address issues that can divide us, or that we rise above and use to unite us. I wish you all a peaceful and engaging day tomorrow! -Teri

CRI has three pillars: trainings, community engagement, and products that support the intersection of science and practice to create the habits of resilience. The following is an example of all three being put to use.

This summer, Walla Walla was like every community, struggling amidst the impact of the COVID virus and civic unrest across the United States. Walla Walla found itself dealing with an additional issue. A police officer’s tattoo raised considerable controversy in its interpretation by the public. Some saw it as racist because of the use of double lightning bolts associated with the Nazi Schutzstaffel (SS) which was responsible for running the concentration camps, among other atrocities. Others in the community accepted the officer’s explanation that the tattoo was a Marine Corps Scout Sniper design honoring a fallen comrade in Afghanistan. Overarching the tattoo controversy was the question of police bias and privilege in a largely Caucasian community and the call for defunding the police department. The City Council initiated three Town Hall webinars to encourage the opportunity for questions and input and also created an ad hoc citizen group to discuss recommendations. At the same time, the COVID crisis was revealing the inequities which Blacks, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) as well as those living in poverty have long been exposed to, as seen across the nation.

With this backdrop, CRI was invited to return to the Walla Walla Police Department (from initial training in late 2012) for its signature course Trauma-informed: moving toward resilience. Tony McGuire, tenured faculty member at Walla Walla Community College who teaches a basic carpentry class at the local Washington State Penitentiary, and CRI Associate Trainer, was asked to host the training. His unique style in presenting the ACE and resilience content, using both his personal perspective and his work with inmates, creates the energy and authenticity for course participants. Tony is authentic, vulnerable, and passionate, which helps everyone learn about how brains respond better to stress and patterns of threat, through resilience-building skills. He says it saved his life, his marriage and continues to help keep his perspective of the humanness within all of us!

Tony challenged the 43 officers to reflect on their position and role as public servants with a need for helping our community gain trust for officers. They recognized our community is not shielded from the same issues that face the nation.  A core message to the officers was CRI’s acronym ROLES- Recognize, Observe, Label, Elect, and Solve. By recognizing their own state of mind and body, police officers can observe what is happening in others, to then label what they are seeing (rather than to judge), elect positive intent and then solve. Tony used CRI’s adult deck of cards  (with 42 resilience strategies) and handbook as the challenge: study it well enough to then pass it on to a community member when you feel that it would be most appropriate and would benefit the situation you are observing.  When Tony asked the officers who would be willing, hands went up all across the room as a showing of support towards our community.

Tony received positive accolades and one testimonial in particular meant the world to him: “Thanks Tony. Really appreciate it! I will definitely be using a lot of that at home and then pay the pamphlet forward to another community member. Very insightful training. Will help me become a better officer, husband, father and family.”

Stay tuned for a follow-up on what our local police department does with their challenge!



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