There Is No Such Place as America creates dialog between local law enforcement and young people from economically distressed neighborhoods by using non-verbal, performative storytelling and equine-assisted communication methodologies. I am interested to address the tragic lack of communication between local law enforcement, school resource officers and young people in areas with high crime rates and increased police presence. Current models propose brief, disassociated seminars for law enforcement concerning “Effective Police Interactions with Youth,” or holding occasional joint athletic activities.
To create a platform for dialog that begins with trust, I am partnering with Ebony Horsewomen Institute (EHI) a non-profit equestrian center in North Hartford CT, to develop an entirely different model of dialog and conflict mediation. This hybrid methodology will combine animal-assisted therapy with non-verbal, gestural storytelling methods based on “image theater,” particularly effective when spoken language is insufficient to express difficult experiences. The project involves workshops, documentary and performance video production, and the development of a shared animal-assisted curriculum to foster dialog, co-created with core EHI participants and members of local law enforcement.