Gene Krebs, Coauthor, Bridges Across Every Divide

There are interwoven problems in many low-income American communities. While no community is yet perfect, there are certain places where tensions with law enforcement are less. Why? What have they done?

In this short missive you will find some case studies from folks who are active on the front lines of advocacy in helping communities develop the tools to solve their problems by using the Bridges Out of Poverty model, which is based on the book A Framework For Understanding Poverty by Dr. Ruby Payne. Bridges is a very organic, bottom-up, grassroots-driven process, and it will look different in every community as it responds to the needs of every community. That is because it respects the voices of all three classes, but for the first time in many communities, it encourages those most impacted, the poor and working poor, to have a real voice in developing solutions. This process is not folks sitting around speculating what life is like in poor neighborhoods based on census data; Bridges is based on the input of the people who live this every day.

We will also inform you of the basic concepts of Bridges with a message from one of the founders of the movement, Phil DeVol. Since it is condensed down to just a few pages, there may be gaps; if you are interested in a fuller explanation, there are also books, audiobooks, and YouTube videos available. Bridges is a very adaptable method that is being used not just in poverty amelioration, but spontaneously has been developed and applied to (in part): felons being released from prison, women who have been victims of sex trafficking, social service agencies, first-generation college students from low-income backgrounds, workforce development, many educational venues, and healthcare plus policy development. Bridges is also being adapted by folks on the ground where it is needed around the topic of this paper: community-police relations.

Finally, we will make direct appeals for certain actions by the leadership in your city, county, state, and indeed, even nationally. We will avoid using the dreaded phrase “should promote and support” found in so many white papers by esteemed think tanks and consultants and will give you concrete steps to take.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, and if you want further information, the people involved have their contact information at the end of this missive.

Read the full white paper for insights from Officer Angel Tucker, Michelle McGregor, Phil DeVol, and more.