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REAL Community Conversations and Resources


  • Former Mayor Megan Barry committed to include funding for body cameras to be used by MNPD officers in her FY18 budget. In addition, a Public Safety Community Advisory Group (CAG) was created to make recommendations on policies for these cameras, and their meetings were open to the public. CAG members made recommendations to the Mayor and Chief Anderson on investment in body cameras, and the policies that accompany them. Policies will also influence the requirements used in a future RFP process to purchase equipment.
  • Nashville Shop Talks - Shop Talks took place about once a month at a different barber, beauty, or coffee shop in the city. This dialogue was held on the grassroots level out in the community, taking the conversation and meeting people where they are comfortable to discuss a variety of important topics.
  • Minority Civic Development Workshops - This aimed to develop civic leaders in the community while encouraging participation in government. Participants learn how to serve Metro through Boards and Commissions, how companies can do business with Metro, and much more.
  • Nashville Reads - Each year we pick one book to read as a city. The 2017 selection was “March,” the graphic novel by Congressional Representative John Lewis, a giant of the civil rights movement and an incredible example of courage, grace and moral imagination. Representative Lewis got his start as an activist more than 50 years ago on the downtown streets a few blocks from here, where he led the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins and then the Freedom Rides. The first book of the “March” trilogy is a compelling read that has a lot to teach us about race, equity, leadership and other issues.
  • Nashville Unites Meeting – Nashville Unites is an initiative founded by the late Francis Guess and Bishop Joseph Walker, III after the incidents that occurred in Ferguson, MO. The goal of Nashville Unites is to bring together various organizations and individuals that want to be part of the solution for racial equity. Those that participated in Nashville Unites will have the opportunity to work on strategy and policy recommendations on issues that impact racial equity. The committees of Nashville Unites were working on making policy recommendations from the President’s Task Force Report on 21st Century Policing, making recommendations for a Citizens Review Board, creating a new economy with new economic opportunities and creating a community resource locator.
  • Former Mayor Megan Barry met with university presidents and other university representatives to encourage them to use their faculty, staff and students to conduct these important REAL dialogues throughout the city. Nashville is a center of higher education, and we will attempt to maximize those resources. This is a wonderful opportunity to see our entire university community come together, coordinate and collaborate.
  • "REAL Talk" A Forum on Race, Equity and Leadership – On September 10, 2016, former Mayor Barry brought over a thousand Nashvillians together at the Music City Center for a citywide conversation. Groups discussed key topic areas: community empowerment, the criminal justice system, data/information, diversity/inclusion, health disparities, housing/gentrification, New American communities, public education/youth, public safety/policing, and workforce/jobs. View updates from this event or watch our call to action and the topic group report outs.
  • July 23, 2016 – Representatives from over 100 community organizations joined together in the gymnasium of Pearl Cohn High School to talk about their life experiences, and the experiences of those they represent, as it related to race relations in our city, social equity, and the impact of the criminal justice system on their lives. This conversation informed the creation of the citywide dialogue on September 10. Review conversation data ant themes from our July 23 event.


President Obama challenged cities in America to convene 100 community conversations on race relations, justice, policing, and equality. The Mayor's Office answered that challenge, and in return is challenging Nashvillians to take the conversation into all communities, and providing resources to assist in planning community dialogues.

Communities and organizations can view our Dialogue Design Guide to use as a model for their own discussions, which includes a communication agreement for participating members. To inform future plans and discussions, engage with your facilitators and participants by having them fill out Participant Evaluations and Facilitator Evaluations. These documents were used for Nashville's July 23 dialogue.

The Mayor's Office is grateful for the partnership of Lipscomb University's College of Leadership and Public Service for aiding in facilitation of July 23 and September 10 discussions.

Learn more from National League of Cities' REAL program.

Read this eloquently written article by American Baptist College President, Dr. Forrest E. Harris, about The Future That Threatens Us and the Future That Calls Us to Change.

Please see the Provider Self-Care Training that was provided to volunteer table host and scribes for the September 10 REAL Dialogue by the REAL Mental Health Committee formed by Lipscomb University.

Nashville joins 48 other cities across America in efforts to strengthen police-community relations through the U.S. Conference of Mayors.