When Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams met a student in East New York who said he never talked to a white student before, he knew something had to change.
On a recent visit to Brooklyn’s Magen David Yeshiva HIgh School, Adams saw local students video chatting with students from China, where he witnessed the similarities despite the language and cultural differences.
“It dawned on me that we’re using technology to speak across the globe, but the reality is that we’re not speaking to each other in our same borough and in our same city and in our same country,” Adams said.
Now, students across Brooklyn will be able to interact with other New York City students they might not otherwise get to know, in a series of Google Hangouts set to start on Jan. 20.
Adams, and civil rights attorney Norman Siegel, announced the series of talks Sunday. They want to see students of different backgrounds come together and talk about recent police protests, the deaths of Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos and Eric Garner’s death on Staten Island last summer.
“We are living in silos, and those silos, I believe, are directly connected to some of the problems were having with our police-community relations,” said Adams.
Roy Richter, president of the Captains Endowment Association, supports the video chats, Adams said, calling the support “unprecedented” from a union leader.
Adams said off-duty officers are planning to participate in the chats.
Siegel said after the four school chats wrap up in March, results and recommendations will be shared with President Barack Obama and Gov . Andrew Cuomo, who have appointed task forces on policing and grand jury proceedings.