Leave it the HBCU grads to always find a solution and shine while doing it. A group of esteemed Howard University alumni and partners announced today the launch of THE INITIATIVE: Advancing the Blue and Black Partnership (“The Initiative”), a newly-formed organization dedicated to ending systemic police brutality through collaborations that result in healthy and scalable community policing models.
Formed following the tragic death of George Floyd in Minneapolis last May, The Initiative seeks to end the over-policing and deadly violence that disproportionately impacts Black and Brown communities by engaging all stakeholders who are committed to resolving this issue. This effort will include local communities, leaders from the Black community, and progressive police leaders, to build and implement a community policing model that will serve diverse populations through proven, trust-building practices.
The Initiative also will advocate for judicial, legislative, and police reforms that include the voice of the community. The ultimate goal is to adapt and scale this model in different cities across the country.
Leading The Initiative will be its executive director, Nadine Jones, a graduate of Howard University School of Law and a current vice president, corporate counsel at Kuehne + Nagel Inc., a multi-billion dollar global transport and logistics company based in Schindellegi, Switzerland. The company is supporting this work by enabling Jones to dedicate her time to launch The Initiative.
“The death of Mr. Floyd and so many others who preceded and followed him makes it clear that an action-oriented, collaborative approach that is measurable and scalable is necessary to create meaningful and lasting change,” said Jones. “The Initiative will form coalitions of state and local leaders, the Black and Brown communities being served, and progressive police departments to create scalable, healthy, community policing solutions. That is what sets us apart – we will build a model that is sustainable and scalable.”
Jones will be joined by a governing board and an advisory council that includes sponsor representatives from Microsoft, ECP Investment Advisors, G6 Hospitality/Motel6, and CAVA. These partners will advance The Initiative’s mission through financial and in-kind donations, networking with local stakeholders, and strategic operational guidance.
“The Initiative builds on the voices that have clearly told us that we cannot tolerate systemic police abuse against people of color,” said Ama Romaine, a graduate of the Howard University School of Law who is a founder of The Initiative, its board chair, and the general counsel and chief compliance officer at G6 Hospitality, operators of the Motel 6 franchise. “Through dialogue and partnerships with local communities and police who are committed to healthy policing, we are determined to create change that will move our civil rights forward.”
Additionally, The Initiative will encourage students at universities across the United States to get involved and will allocate a portion of all funds raised to the Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at the Howard University School of Law. The Fund will support undergraduate and law students who pursue studies in the field of community organizing and movement lawyering. Up to 75% of all proceeds from The Initiative’s Founding Sponsors will support Howard’s Civil Rights Center, which builds on the University’s strong commitment to civil rights.
“The Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center is Howard University’s flagship institutional setting for the study and practice of civil rights, human rights, and racial justice law and advocacy. Ending systemic brutality is not only core to our mission, but it was one of the reasons the center was founded in the first place,” said Justin Hansford, Executive Director, Thurgood Marshall Civil Rights Center at Howard University School of Law. “We understand that in order to make a difference, we must use our heads, our hands, and our hearts. So we use these three tools to accomplish our work: thinking, acting, and connecting.”
As The Initiative moves into new cities, it will establish partnerships with local colleges and universities that have dedicated civil rights curriculum focused on ending police violence, eradicating racism, and promoting social justice. Through this focus on education and advocacy, The Initiative seeks to make long-term investments in the community leaders of tomorrow.
Says Jones, “We want to see a generation of Black and Brown kids who can’t conceive of the police being anything other than guardians of a community in the same way that Black and Brown kids today can’t conceive of not being allowed to drink from any water fountain they want or from using any public bathroom.”