CHICAGO (CBS) — Hip hop icon Common was helping teens and Chicago police build better relationships on Friday.
Common — a Grammy-winning rapper, Oscar-winning actor, and poet from Chicago — spoke to about 2,500 students from all over the world who are members of the Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
Standing on stage with Chicago Police Deputy Chief of Community Policing Eric Washington, and other club members, Common helped host a panel discussion on bridging relationships between teens and police; and building trust, not relying on stereotypes.
They emphasized the importance of getting to know their local police officers.
The theme of this year’s National Keystone Conference at the Hilton Chicago Hotel was “Activate Your Legacy.” One student from Kansas City explained what she learned about the value of building trust between police and the community.
“It wouldn’t cause them to butt heads so much, and it wouldn’t be as much police brutality,” Neveah Henderson said. “I feel like, if they trust each other, they wouldn’t have as many problems as they do now.”
Common said he thinks every day about what he and others can do.
“But I’m also hopeful,” he said. “As much as I’m hurt by the deaths … I feel inspired to go out and be part of the change, and I see people making the effort, and I have hope that this year …. the violence is going to decrease.”
The conference started Thursday and ends Saturday. Other topics to be discussed include gun violence, and career development.