Twenty-six Buchanan County community members went through cultural proficiency training hosted by Interfaith Alliance for Immigrants at Mosaic Life Care on Wednesday.
The seminar, aimed at preventing racial profiling, was led by the Rev. Kirk Perucca of Covenant Presbyterian Church — a congregation that is proud of its diversity.
“I’m really, really fortunate to be able to do this kind of work,” Perucca said. “To be able to be in the place that I am to, hopefully, move the dial and make a difference. It’s been my life’s work.”
During the seminar, strangers were asked to pair together and one person would make assumptions about the other regarding their favorite movie, food and music. The second person would then share the correct answers.
The exercise showed how hard it is to judge a person’s interests by the color of their skin, their profession or age.
“It’s all about the relationships and being present and listening, and letting people know that you’re honestly really on their side,” Perucca said. “I think it’s crucial that we get out of our little paths, you know. Paths can become ditches.”
Law enforcement officials were there — including both deputies and dispatchers, and they discussed racial profiling.
One dispatcher said her red car with tinted windows had been pulled over more times than the previous car she owned, which didn’t have tinted windows and wasn’t red.
One patrolman said the reason people get tinted windows is because they think it looks cool, while another thought the person might have gotten them to hide something.
There are legal and illegal tints determined by state governments.
“We can look very, very different and have very, very similar values and perspectives,” Perucca said. “And that’s important to remember.”