Tara-Habby Natural Born Killer or…”I killed a mouse and got away with it.”

61440027_10219616439027320_6975866906997686272_n
Tara-Habby came to Berkeley Place as a kitten, curious and full of, well…serious attitude!

Who would have known this independent, my way or the highway kitty would grow into adulthood with a ‘tude (attitude) of ‘God save the Queen’ (she is the Queen­—all others, peasants).

The Hab lived with mom and each respected the others’ routines and weirdness. With mom’s passing, she was confused, normalcy disrupted and left alone for long periods of time in the apartment she shared with a person no longer there.

As I was also going through grief, I felt sorry for Tara-Habby. We bonded as kindred souls missing the one who loved us unconditionally. Not sure if grief is over for her as it isn’t for me.20545222_10214218078151672_6773839232260018413_o

She’s adapted well to living in a household with three cats, bent on dethroning her reign with a stint in the dungeon ending with a beheading!!! The greyhound she accepted as I believe she thinks dogs are stupid and not worth the stress.

And yes, the greyhound is basically Santa’s Little Helper.

Tara-Habby is a natural born killer of mice. No compassion, no empathy, no nothing…

She’ll taunt and growl as she plays soccer with their precious bods and although I have tried to intervene, she manages to grip the mouse in her mouth, threatening me, sort of like, “If you come one foot closer I’ll off the head”.

She drives me crazy, but alas she is my mother’s cat as I am my mother’s daughter.

Happy New Year Tara-Habby!

 

 

 

68951807_10220331578705365_4812347607756046336_n

 

 

The Good Work or…putting this piece to use.

As a person of Afro-Caribbean descent, growing up in pre-gentrified, Park Slope, I was that someone who would go to FDNY for help rather than approach a New York City police officer. In my ‘hood, once a place to escape but now a place where most want to live, for me the presence of cops was not a good thing. I treated the NYPD with caution since my experience was that interactions became confrontations, with no guarantee of my own safety.

Years later, when I joined the organization I currently work for, I came with a suitcase of administrative skills; but in the side pocket of that suitcase was also my distrust of the NYPD. I shared these feelings with colleagues and our former CEO, in response invited me to observe one of the NYPD mediation trainings.

After going over our curriculum in preparation, the CEO informed me that I was not only going to observe, but I would be co-training segments as well! Through his encouragement, I was able to demonstrate mediation techniques to the officers. The officers were not just receptive to my instruction, but to my surprise, they shared another side of who they are.

While demonstrating de-escalation skills used by mediators, the conversation naturally shifted to how officers feel they are seen by the public. I felt privileged to hear from them about their challenges in meeting difficult objectives in a difficult environment, and responding to a public that distrusts their blue uniform. As one officer stated, “Civilians don’t trust us and see us in a bad way”along with another officer’s experience as being called ‘a killer’ when responding to 311 calls are some of the stories I heard, and still hear. During breaks and lunches, the officers and myself shared personal stories of a New York City going through many political, racial and economic changes. We also shared family photos and compared tattoos.

Over time, rather than seeing the antagonism I experienced from officers in the past, I saw hardworking, dedicated men and women who care about their work and communities! To me, they were no longer officers behind a uniform, but people with families, going through life, experiencing ups and downs as we all do. Essentially, they could be my next door neighbor, the boyfriend of a friend, the person I joke with on the check-out line­­—in other words, a regular person.

Police officers are required to attend the trainings provided by the place I work for and usually show up reserved, unhappy about the morning commute, the disruption to their schedules, and unsure how mediation training will help them through a tour. The officers accumulate mediation skills to fill their own suitcase of knowledge. At the end of four days of training, officers are better equipped to mediate conflicts before they escalate, defuse charged interactions, and build relationships and repair trust with their communities. They also learn to appreciate that when we slow down escalated interactions, we begin seeing others more three dimensionally, something we also teach our mediators.

What I didn’t expect was that I would be the one learning to see police officers more three dimensionally.

I am honored beyond all measure to train and coach NYPD officers of various backgrounds and have come to appreciate what they do to keep us safe. Thank you, NYPD, for your dedication towards the job and most of all, thank you for doing what you do!

ED-AV911_macdon_GR_20161216142558.jpg

 

%d bloggers like this: