SHARE program aims to raise AV tolerance
PALMDALE As part of what they see as an innovative approach to combating hate and intolerance in the Valley, law enforcement officials and city officials on Thursday night shared the first demonstration of the Stop Hate And Respect Everyone, or SHARE, tolerance program.
The multi-faceted program will incorporate audio and visual approaches to start communication and understanding to ultimately eliminate hate crimes, said Capt. Bobby Denham of the Palmdale Sheriff's Station.
The centerpiece of the program is a "rolling theater" a large trailer equipped with video presentations designed to engage youth in talking about tolerance and respect, sheriff's Chief Neal Tyler said.
The trailer, which is capable of seating 20 people at a time, is equipped with a projector, air conditioning and a surround-sound system.
What started as an idea when an 8-year-old Tyler "saw separate drinking fountains and separate bathrooms and
knew how screwed-up that was" has spiraled into an essential tool to fight crime and intolerance, he said.
The idea was taken further when a sheriff's deputy decided to build a north county museum of tolerance and "the mobile museum of tolerance was born," Tyler said.
"What we are hoping to do is send the message of intolerance and tolerance," he said. "We want to teach people how important it is."
Focusing primarily on 13- to 19-year-olds, the program will travel to Antelope Valley schools and "hopefully prompt discussion," Tyler said.
Students will watch a 30-minute video, and one of four deputies who volunteer their time and have received special training will serve as a facilitator and answer questions.
Along with the deputies, dozens of teachers, students and community members have been trained to be facilitators by personnel at the Museum of Tolerance in West Los Angeles.
The program, which has been in the planning stages for two years, was established in partnership with the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department, the county Board of Supervisors, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, the Museum of Tolerance and other public and private organizations.
Palmdale sheriff's Lt. Mike Bormann, who will supervise the program, also gave it its name, Denham said.
Norm Hickling, field deputy for county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, said he was certain the program will move the community in right direction by changing people's perception and by creating "a team that might not always agree with each other and may have different ideas from those differences, but will still have respect."
Darren Parker, president of the Antelope Valley Human Relations Task Force, stressed the major impact the program will have on the people in general.
"I am proud to be a part of this. I am proud to move forward," Parker said. "It will change lives for adults and children, who will break that cycle of hate that we see is so prevalent in those communities and those individuals that perpetrate those things."
The Sheriff's Department also will work closely with schools throughout the Valley in implementing the program, Tyler said.
"Deputies and schools will work together, and schools have said that they will build upon the program by following up and including the messages and teachings within their school curriculum," he said.
Denham said the program will be another tool to bring the community further along and make a difference.
"This is really an important step that we are doing in the Antelope Valley," Denham said. "This is just another component how we are trying to reduce violence.
"We had some really heinous hate crime in the Antelope Valley. (But) I am here to tell you that we have made tremendous strides
I know we have got a long way to go, (but) we will continue to do what we are doing to get where we want to be."
The SHARE program also will provide at-risk youth with opportunities to participate in field trips and training exercises, Tyler said.
The Valley will be the first extended target area for the program, Tyler said, and he hopes that "it will spread like a wildfire and send the message of tolerance and respect to everyone."
By DAISY RATZLAFF - Valley Press Staff Writer
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