The Monterey Institute’s Center for Conflict Studies hosted a well-attended roundtable discussion on “Police Legitimacy in Communities of Color” on October 9. By the 6:00 p.m. starting time, the Samson Student Center Reading Room was filled to capacity with students, members of the wider Monterey community, faculty, and staff, along with the three featured speakers, Rosemary Soto of Salinas, Will Matthews of the Northern California ACLU, and Kelly McMillin, Salinas Chief of Police.
The roundtable format of the event developed by Center for Conflict Studies Director Dr. Pushpa Iyer gave participants the opportunity to address issues directly with each guest speaker and to have an interactive conversation within each of the three roundtable groups, providing space for each participant to have their voice heard. Attendees sat in one of three circles, with the guest speakers rotating among the groups, and conversations were facilitated by members of the MIIS campus community. Sara Rubin of the Monterey County Weekly called the discussion “impressive” on her Twitter feed and praised MIIS students as “assertive and articulate.”
The consensus among participants afterwards seemed to be that, although no major issues were resolved, the event fostered the kind of constructive dialogue and respectful interaction between law enforcement and communities of color that is essential to achieving positive change.