NEW YORK — Some might wonder why New York City police officers were on stage at Carnegie Hall. But through raps and melodic verses, a performance on Wednesday night brought a community together.
Decoda, a Carnegie Hall ensemble group, started the collaboration between the kids and the cops two months ago. The mission was to start a dialogue following community protests and targeted shootings of police.
Veteran officer Mark Wilson says the “apprehension was definitely there on both sides” when they started singing together.
The lyrics of the songs are based on experiences, like those of 18-year-old Edson Hughes.
“Me and my cousin was playing and, next thing you know, a police officer comes out of nowhere and put me on the wall,” said Hughes.
As for Wilson, his own experiences informed his decision to participate.
“The people i’m interacting with only see the blue uniform and they fail to see there is skin, blood that runs through those veins, someone that has feelings underneath,” he said.
Johnny Hines has been an officer for more than 13 years.
CBS News asked him how he can convince people that something this small can make a difference. “Change is the only constant,” he said. “Positive change should be the only constant. It’s a slow process. It’s not going to be overnight.”
“I can say I came out of this the educated by the educator,” said Wilson.
Now both the officers and the students say they can bring what they’ve learned back to their communities, and hopefully change some perspectives.
“Everyday I came into the workshop, he welcomed me with a hug, always,” said Wilson. “You can’t describe something like that.”
While just talking takes courage, creating music sounds even better.
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