NEW YORK - From his home office in Charlotte, North Carolina, surrounded by his law degree, awards and articles bearing his name, M. Quentin Williams describes his program Dedication to Community, “we wanted to ensure that folks are able to reach for their dreams, to see success, no matter their conditions.”
M. Quentin Williams, who goes by Q, grew up on the streets of the Lower East Side and Yonkers, New York. After playing football at Boston College, and earning his law degree from St John’s University, Williams became an FBI agent and federal prosecutor. He went on to work in the NFL with the Jacksonville Jaguars in player development. Now a full time attorney, Williams took his expertise in empowerment, sports and public safety, to create Dedication to Community. Part of its curriculum, is connecting athletes with law enforcement.
Williams says, “we have a lot of athletes who are knowledgeable and they're driven and they're engaged about these issues. So we invite them in to give their perspectives on these issues. We have them come to the FBI National Academy... We have them come to the local and state service trainings that we do. I asked them, just to tell their stories, because that story they tell, will connect them to those law enforcement officers.”
Participants in the program receive Williams book, “A survival guide: How NOT to get Killed by the Police.” He wrote the book for his unborn son at the time, about his encounters with police, being stopped often because he is a black man, and one time, mistaken for a suspect and handcuffed, while he was an FBI agent, wearing his badge and carrying his gun.
‘I wrote this book before everything started to implode, just because I wanted him to have an education about how to interact with the police, but also how to build substantial, substantive relationships with people, whether it's in business or personal.
And this book now has become a guide for many, including law enforcement, on how to encourage people to get home safely.”
Williams says protests will continue until people see action. “Dedication to Community” is taking action by giving guidance to law enforcement agencies on creating new policy. Williams says to engage successfully with these agencies, you must recognize the power of listening.
“When you listen beautifully, what it does, is it opens up a world of knowledge for you. So we teach the recipe for reconciliation, which has eight ingredients. As we put it, listening, learning, understanding, acknowledging, acknowledging our history, acknowledging where we are, where we came from, why we're here. And that acknowledgement is big, because we often get stuck there. Acknowledgement then leads to action.”
In late June, “Dedication to Community” announced a first of its kind alliance with groups in the state of Connecticut. D2C will hold programs with strategic partners, including the NAACP Stamford Chapter, and the Connecticut State Police.