What better way to spend the evening before starting a new, very public role in the community than being interviewed on a podcast about race, diversity and equity? At a time when many people would be a bundle of nerves and a little on edge, Sidney Frye II, the new program manager for Olmsted County’s Diversity, Equity, and Community Outreach team, spoke candidly about his experience and his goals for the DECO program.

Wondering what a Diversity, Equity, and Community Outreach program does? Some might argue that terms like diversity and equity are overused and are too frequently not backed up by actions leading to real change. Frye says there is a perception of fear and lack of trust that exists in the community between corrections, law enforcement, and the Black and brown communities, and his job will be to help improve these relationships.

As a Black man and former juvenile corrections officer, this is not the first time Frye has found himself in the interesting, a.k.a. uncomfortable, position of being part of both the Black community and the same system that some in the Black community mistrust. While Frye plans to bring his own perspective and expertise to the role, he does not plan on doing it alone. He is willing to listen and learn from others, listening to both the perspectives of the community and law enforcement.

To find out more about how Frye balances being a voice for the Black community and carries out the duties and responsibilities of the job as part of the system, how his faith and values influence his work, and to learn more about the co-responder model he will be using, check out this week’s episode of The Other Side of the Table, Season 2, episode #5 Sidney Frye.