Building the Resilience of Citizens, Communities, and Countries

Houses of Worship and Vulnerable Communities

Newswise — Ahead of the holiday season, Rutgers’ Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience released a new report to provide vulnerable communities and houses of worship policies and practices to enhance the security and safety of their communities.

The report is the first chapter of a longitudinal study titled, “Building the Resilience of Citizens, Communities, and Countries,” which aims to identify and validate principles that build the resilience of vulnerable communities and nations facing significant challenges and threats. Future chapters of the resilience study will explore a range of proven principles, practices, protocols and plans from the national to regional level.

Based on qualitative research conducted by Rutgers students under the supervision of Miller Center, the report brings to vulnerable communities and houses of worship an evidence-based RESILIENCE model that provides a framework for implementing, with minimal resources, policies, and practices that enhance their safety and security.

“Vulnerable communities and houses of worship today face an unprecedented number of challenges, from COVID-19 to enduring physical and cyber threats. Now more than ever it is critical that community and religious leaders plan, partner and respond effectively. The report and corresponding action guide provide principles, practical tools, and actionable steps to help ensure the safety and security of our communities,” said Dr. Ronald J. Clark, the lead author of the study. Dr. Clark is a senior fellow at the Miller Center and former Deputy Under Secretary at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and National Security Council staff member.

“The Miller Center exists to help vulnerable communities implement measures and safeguards to protect their people,” said John J. Farmer, Jr., director of both the Eagleton Institute of Politics and the Miller Center. “As threats to vulnerable communities have multiplied in number and complexity, to include threats from social media vulnerabilities associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for a comprehensive, research-based guide to community protection has also risen. The work of Dr. Clark and the Rutgers students in conducting this study will assist both security experts and community members to identify and implement measures to anticipate threats and to mitigate their effects.”

“The opportunity to talk to these outstanding leaders and hear their stories has served as an inspiration for me. Their stories reemphasized the value of service and how if we all are willing to do our part and pay it forward, we can make our world a better and safer place,” said Ensign Matt Molinari, Surface Warfare Officer, USS Theodore Roosevelt (CNV 71) and Rutgers University alum, Class of 2019. Molinari was the lead student researcher for the report. “I look forward to these best practices being utilized and our vulnerable communities being better protected in the near future.”

In addition to the report, the Miller Center released an additional resource for houses of worship and vulnerable communities.

Action Guide – The guide provides a template for taking the ten principles of the RESILIENCE model and turning it all into actionable steps. The action guide outlines the measures vulnerable communities and houses of worship need to take in order to implement these safety and security strategies.

The Miller Center, affiliated with Rutgers University’s Eagleton Institute of Politics and Rutgers Law School, works with vulnerable communities around the world to enhance their safety and standing in society by improving their relationships with law enforcement, with other government agencies and with other vulnerable communities. 

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ABOUT THE MILLER CENTER FOR COMMUNITY PROTECTION & RESILIENCE

The Miller Center was established to assist vulnerable communities, particularly communities of faith, to enhance their safety and their standing in society by improving their relationships with law enforcement, with other government agencies, and with other vulnerable communities. The Miller Center seeks to honor, through remembrance, the human capacity to rebuild, even to flourish, after unspeakable horrors.

ABOUT THE EAGLETON INSTITUTE OF POLITICS

The Eagleton Institute of Politics at Rutgers University—New Brunswick studies how American politics and government work and change, analyzes how the democracy might improve, and promotes political participation and civic engagement. The Institute explores state and national politics through research, education, and public service, linking the study of politics with its day-to-day practice. 

ABOUT RUTGERS—NEW BRUNSWICK

Rutgers University–New Brunswick is where Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, began more than 250 years ago. Ranked among the world’s top 60 universities, Rutgers’s flagship university is a leading public research institution and a member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. It is home to internationally acclaimed faculty and has 12 degree-granting schools and a Division I Athletics program. It is the Big Ten Conference’s most diverse university. Through its community of teachers, scholars, artists, scientists, and healers, Rutgers is equipped as never before to transform lives.



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