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Photo courtesy of Talk a Mile
Saundra Sorenson
Published: 28 November 2023

A local nonprofit is bringing together young Black leaders and Portland Police Bureau trainees to walk a mile together and converse in the hopes of building understanding. 

Talk A Mile operates on the idea that conversation bridges gaps and builds empathy, which can promote understanding between Black leaders and law enforcement trainees. In Talk A Mile’s first year hosting the event, then-PPB Chief Chuck Lovell took part in the mile-long walk where participants are given conversational prompts. After, 97% of participants reported feeling seen and heard during the process. 

The event begins with opening remarks from organizers. Participants are then paired for the mile-long walk. During lap one, leaders and trainees are encouraged to focus on warm-up conversations about themselves. For the second lap, the law enforcement participants share their experiences and why they decided to become police officers. During the third lap, young Black leaders talk about their own stories and perspectives. In the final lap, both participants discuss a shared vision for promoting public safety and inclusion.

The practice of walking and talking has long been recognized as beneficial to both physical and mental health, with many therapists now offering the approach to put clients at ease. According to studies, the act of walking is linked to more creative thinking, which can lead to fresh ideas in problem-solving and conflict management.. Talk A Mile is excited to promote the practice as a tool for building safer communities. 

This year’s event will be held Tuesday from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at Laurelhurst Park or, if there is heavy rain, at the Lloyd Center. 

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