City holds listening forum for students to share experiences with local police


Sidney Rochnik

Mountain View’s Human Relation Commission is hosting its second virtual listening forum about local policing on Sept. 10. This session specifically is focused on stories from younger Mountain View residents, looking for participants ages 15-24. 

According to IdaRose Sylvester, chair of the HRC, these forums’ purpose is to hear an individual’s story in a confidential space, to know what impact the MVPD had on them, bad or good, with an end goal being to present the information and use it to influence change in future police policy.

The HRC’s first listening forum on the subject took place on Aug. 31, for English-speaking MV residents. According to Sylvester, who attended the first forum, participants were split into breakout rooms with a facilitator, who helped guide conversation with general questions.

“[The HRC is] creating a sort of sacred space, one where there’s definitely no police, no city staff, no one there to just gawk at the stories,” Sylvester said.

In all, Sylvester said she saw the conversations as a positive experience for both the speakers and the listeners, as those who were open to sharing helped the others in their group talk about similar experiences.

While there will be no major changes from the first session, Sylvester said as this forum becomes more about young people’s experiences in the next session, there will also be a focus on limiting adult supervision. With the wide range of ages invited to this session, breakout rooms will be appropriately split into groups of similar ages. 

Participants this session are encouraged to talk about their experiences with the MVPD, their school’s resource officers, or both. 

The HRC is also offering student attendants who come forward with their own stories this Thursday extra credit in classes that wish to participate

“[Considering students who who may have already told their stories earlier this year, as a part of the campus change petition,] it can be hard to say ‘just tell your story one more time’,” Sylvester said, “But we’re not asking this just to listen… we need [your stories] to start the process of change.”

For those unable to attend the Zoom sessions, for whatever reason, can submit an anonymous account on the HRC’s website. These accounts will be able to function the same as a story given in Zoom in the information analysis.

According to Sylvester, the HRC is also offering student attendants who come forward with their own stories this Thursday extra credit in classes that wish to participate.

After the youth session, two more will take place on the 17 and 24 this month. These are for Spanish and Mandarin-speaking MV residents, respectively.

 Sesión 3 – En Español. Jueves, 17 de septiembre, 6:30-8:30pm