A Friendship Forged - Porsche and Chlo


It is fall of 2023 and Unite KC is holding its Volunteer Appreciation Event. After 30 minutes of presentations and acknowledgements, a Black woman walks to the front of the room and takes the microphone. She motions to a White woman in the audience to join her. 


The woman with the microphone is Porsche Seals, the executive director of Caring for Kids Network and leader of Unite KC’s Education and Nonprofit Domains. The woman who has been asked to join her is Chlo-Ann Rizzo, a captain for the Blue Valley Campus Police Department and a leader of Unite KC’s Criminal Justice Domain.


The women link arms, literally holding one another up, as Porsche recounts a negative and emotional experience she had with the police – an incident Chlo-Ann, who goes by Chlo, knew had happened but of which she did not know the details.


“I was accused of something I didn’t do, and it wrecked my life,” Porsche said, tearfully. “But through Unite KC, I met Chlo who took the time to be gentle with me and to listen to me and to just be my friend . . . and it has changed us both.” 


Chlo holds Porsche’s hand tighter as tears roll down her cheeks.


A case of mistaken identity

For Porsche, that trauma began in late afternoon on a Friday in October 2019 as she and her four children drove into a church parking lot where a party for her husband’s office was taking place. As she arrived, she circled the parking lot a few times, trying to determine where the best entrance to the building would be. She noticed some police cars in the lot and thought maybe they could direct her; but before she knew it, they flashed their lights behind her, exited their cars and drew their guns. 


The police yelled at her to exit the car, put her hands up and walk backwards toward them. Next, they handcuffed her and put her in the patrol car. Porsche’s children were extremely upset, screaming and crying out for their mother.


“The police kept asking me where I got the car I was driving; and I kept telling them that it was my car, that I owned it and they should be able to verify that,” Porsche recalled. 


Before long, more police cars showed up, along with more and more guests from her husband’s office. “It was both terrifying and embarrassing,” Porsche said. “My husband arrived and was trying to get close to us, but he was held back.”


After several agonizing minutes, the police verified that the car was indeed Porsche’s. Evidently, the person the police were looking for had stolen Porsche’s license plates and put them on a car resembling her own. 


The police apologized for their error and quickly left the parking lot, but Porsche – and her children – would never be the same.


Meeting Chlo

Porsche admits this incident made her feel hatred for police, which is why it was particularly difficult in 2021 when she realized her work with Unite KC would put her in regular contact with Chlo, a police officer who also volunteered for Unite KC.


“Fortunately, at my first meeting with Chlo, she wasn’t in uniform,” Porsche says, “and I decided to let her know that due to a past experience, her uniform would have made me uncomfortable.” 


Chlo, sensing Porsche’s hesitancy to share details, did not push for more information. Instead, she expressed her sorrow for Porsche’s experience and thanked her for her honesty. 


After that first meeting, Chlo also made sure to give Porsche advance notice whenever she might be attending a meeting in uniform.  


“That act alone made me realize she was a sensitive person,” Porsche said. “But still, I really didn’t want to like her, because I had made a firm commitment in my heart and mind to not like the police.”


A slow but steady journey

Month after month, Chlo and Porsche sat in Unite KC meetings together, but Chlo never asked Porsche for details of her negative experience.


“I could feel the depth of her pain even though I didn’t know what had happened,” Chlo said. “I knew that gaining Porsche’s trust would take time. If I was going to have a relationship with Porsche, I felt the best thing I could do was to pray about it and be present. I let Porsche know I was here for her if she needed me.”


Time and patience played its role, and slowly the women’s relationship deepened as they intentionally moved toward one another. 


“There was a particular moment when I knew that healing had broken through,” Porsche recalled. “There was a Unite KC meeting where just four of us were gathered and one person in attendance started playing ‘Amazing Grace’ on the piano. Before I knew it, Chlo and I were singing the hymn together in harmony. There was so much joy in our hearts and our voices, and we could feel God’s healing grace.”


What love can do

Since then, Porsche and Chlo’s relationship has not only had a positive impact on them personally but also in the greater community. Porsche is now working with other organizations to help bring unity between the Black community and police officers, and Chlo has shared her experience with other Kansas City area officers.


“I can only do this work today because God healed me through my work at Unite KC and my relationship with Chlo,” Porsche said.


Chlo agrees: “We both worked so hard to build trust with one another, and we didn’t give up just because it was painful or uncomfortable. We had to keep pushing through it together.”

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