Today I had the pleasure of sitting down with actor, model, and humanitarian Sergio Delavicci to discuss something very near and dear to his heart: finding ways to, “bridge the gap,” between the NYPD and the community they serve as tensions between officers and civilians is at an all-time high. The John Wick 3 and Broken Chains actor talks about the experiences that led him to a passion for giving back to the community, and his thoughts on the NYPD’s strained relationship with community leaders. Fans can keep up with him on Instagram and Facebook.
When we first sat down to talk, my first impression was that the Brooklyn native was bright, open, and passionate about many topics. Delavicci has a wonderfully vibrant career, and ThriveGlobal sums it up as, “Sergio Delavicci is an internationally recognized SAG/AFTRA actor, motivational speaker, professional athlete, model, philanthropist, and humanitarian known for his role in films such as John Wick 3, Creed 2, The Post, and You Were Never Really Here. Sergio has also been in television shows such as Quantico, Power, Blue Bloods, Gotham, Madam Secretary, The Sinner and more.”
Anyone who has a chance to sit down and speak with Delavicci quickly realizes that he’s so much more than a few lines could sum up. His life, which consists of both good and bad experiences, has made him the person he is and instilled in him a strong sense of hard work ethic, and a desire to help those around him. Before we even got started, Delavicci told me he was, “ready to take on the world,” and that his life is, “very spontaneous and adventurous.” The whole interview, the actor exuded a confidence and a passion for what we spoke about. It was obvious that he was eager to share his experiences and suggestions for how we can move forward as a society given the turmoil of recent months. I found the conversation to be honest, candid, and very telling as to the quality kind of person Delavicci is in his day-to-day life.
Griffith: “First of all, thank you for sitting down with me. This is awesome, this is a great experience for me. I’m really interested in the information Connie sent over and what you’re doing here. I wanted to ask first and foremost, what ways have you been involved with the NYPD, how have you built a relationship with them, and what has led you to this passion?”
Delavicci: “First of all, thank you so much for this opportunity, and for interviewing me. Let me also add, if you were to ask me this 15 years ago, I would just completely not know how to answer that because at that time my life was on a completely different path. Right now I’m trying to do a lot more positive things, whereas 15 years ago things were a lot different for me. When you’re young and coming up, you’re making a lot of mistakes, you’re searching for yourself, you’re looking to understand who you are. As a result, that brings a lot of negativity and many bad choices. At that moment I was on the other side of the fence so to speak. I’m not going to go into details but there was not too much positivity in my life 15 years ago. To answer your question as far as what I do with the NYPD and how I’m involved with the community. The objective right now is to bridge the gap between the NYPD and the community. The idea is to heal, restore, and reinstate the level of trust between the New York police department and our communities, especially with everything that’s going on right now. People are losing trust in the NYPD. There has been so much injustice, inequality, and police brutality. People’s psychological cup has over spilled and their psychological volcano has erupted. Right now people are not too happy with the NYPD. I’m from New York so I know what’s going on with this current situation. In my opinion, it is very important to show people that not every cop is a bad cop. These individuals are people just like us. They have families, they want to be able to come home as safe as we do and they’re just doing their job. Without the NYPD, New York would be like the Wild Wild West. The crime rate has been on the rise. There have been over a thousand shootings just this summer and the summer is not even over yet.
I am against the idea of defunding the police. The same people who are screaming, ‘defund the police,’ are most likely the same ones who dial 9-1-1. I’m for the idea of unity. We need to bring back Brooklyn and New York to where it’s always been, which is United. I always say, ‘United Boroughs of New York,’ just like the United States of America. People ask me, ‘why do you always do so much in Brooklyn?’ Well, I don’t just do so much in Brooklyn. However, I know if I want to see a change I have to start within myself and within my community. Brooklyn is my community. Gandhi said this a long time ago, ‘If you want to change in the world, you have to start within yourself.’ This is exactly my current state of mind.”
Griffith: “That’s wonderfully informative, I think you’ve done a great job of explaining your perspective on this, thank you. I think that – I read a BK article interview where you discussed your hope for improving relations and you said, ‘many have a major misconception about the police department. Not every cop with a badge and blue uniform is a bad man.’ If you were going to convince someone to overcome their bad image of police officers, what would you say to them? From your perspective, how would you change their mind?”
Delavicci: “From the perspective of someone who has misconceptions about a police officer?”
Griffith: “Yes, that they have a bad image of the NYPD and they’re not trusting them right now. what would you say about your relationship with the NYPD that would convince them that these are real people, that they’re human beings?”
Delavicci: “To be honest with you, it’s kind of ironic. The same people who say they don’t trust the NYPD, have some family members who work for the police department. This is something I learned from speaking to them. It’s very important to have a good dialogue between the community and the police department. Communication is key whether it’s in business, relationship, or life in general. We need to be more understanding of one another. I think that the police department has to be involved with the community a lot more. The NYPD has to organize more events, activities, and occasions where people in the community can view them as allies. People in the community have to be open to sitting down with the police department and exchange views and opinions. In my opinion, if this were something that could take place more often the result of unity would be achievable from a greater capacity.
I lived in Israel in the early ’90s and experienced war first-hand. I had to wear a gas mask, hide in bomb shelters, hear bombs land in my city and so much more that comes with war. If Muslims and Jews, Arabs, and Israelis can achieve some type of historical peaceful resolution, then achieving unity in our communities is possible as well.”
Griffith: “That makes complete sense and that’s an incredibly good point about Israel and Palestine overcoming such enormous obstacles to discuss things, why can’t we do it here? That’s a great point.”
Delavicci: “Right, absolutely! If peace is possible to achieve between countries at war, then something like unity on the domestic level should be easier to establish. This generation is mirroring us and it is our responsibility to set a good example.“
Griffith: “I saw that you were involved with the Real Men Read Initiative, which is fantastic. And thank you, by the way for sharing the story of living in Israel and your experience with that. Thank you for telling me. I guess that leads me to my next question, then what drives your passion for giving back? What about your life, or is it in your blood or life experiences, that led you to this desire to help and kind of heal the community?”
Delavicci: “This is such a wonderfully thought out question which I can talk about for hours. Some of my past interviewers have asked me this numerous times. I do what I do because I love doing it. This is my passion, not an obligation. I think my true calling in life is to help others, inspire, motivate, and assist people to achieve their goals. We all need someone who is going to help us push ourselves. I’m very blessed to have a team like that. I always say, “In order for you to go far in life, you need to go with a team. If you want to go fast, you go by yourself.” But if you go fast it doesn’t guarantee you’ll go far. I feel like we are created on this earth to create. A lot of times we get but forget to give back. All we do is take and sometimes when we take too much without giving back, we have an empty space, which is not conducive to progress. I also get joy out of seeing other people happy. I walk with Connie in the streets of New York and buy slices of pizza for people who look like they are hungry. I don’t necessarily give them money because this money can be used for drugs and alcohol, but I know if I give them food, it’ll definitely make them less hungry and put a smile on their face. I try to help as much as possible, whether it’s opening a door for someone, saying nice things to complete strangers, or doing something on a larger scale, whatever I feel needs to be done at that moment. I’ve been doing so much outside of these meetings between the police department and our communities. I’ve saved 3 women from domestic violence, donated money to my former junior high school, and have been involved in so many different charities. I worked with Project Avary, have been to schools to read to kids, as part of the Real Men Read Initiative to promote literacy and have been working alongside the Bowery Project. Despite being raised in a dysfunctional family my mom always taught me that it’s very important to help others. This is something that I take with me through life.”
Griffith: “That’s great. You’re completely right. Love does make a bigger impact on people in the long term. Hate might cause something short term, but love leads to long term solutions. And that’s, it’s a wonderful way to look at it. This is kind of off topic, but I saw you say in an interview that you’ve been cooking during the pandemic, what’s your favorite dish to make?”
Delavicci: “Speaking of cooking, I actually have a reality show coming up called, ‘Cooking With Strangers,’ it was supposed to be televised in May but due to the pandemic, it was pushed back. This whole pandemic, this entire experience has allowed me to discover my passion for cooking. Now I’m cooking steak, baking biscuits, cookies, and other types of food that I never thought I would be making. My favorite dish to make is seafood pasta.”
Griffith: “Right? It’s changed everything, hasn’t it?”
Delavicci: “You know what, change is good. It’s all how you take it, it’s all how people perceive it. People are born to adapt to any situation and I believe this is something that we can adapt to as well. Everything that has been going on since March and even before including the pandemic, protest, and other forms of negativity is a result of a destructive society and disobedience of GOD. There’s a lesson in all of this, which we can either learn from or choose to ignore it. If we choose to ignore it, we will continue to face more geopolitical issues, economical downfalls, tragedies, catastrophes, and natural disasters. However, if we choose to take the right path and treat each other in a more compassionate way we will be rewarded with a better life. At the end of the day, GOD has the final decision and he will eradicate this earth from any negativity.”
Griffith: “Gotcha. That’s wonderful, thank you. I had more questions, but I think you did an amazing job of answering them when you were speaking. Is there anything else you would like to say about sitting down with the NYPD and your feelings about community relations, or anything you have coming up aside from the cooking show that you would like to talk about [before our] cutoff? So, two minutes, whatever you want to tell me.”
Delavicci: “I’m just grateful to be in a position to be where I am today. The best way to predict your own future is to create it yourself. This is exactly what I am doing. I’m very grateful to my publicist; if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be on the phone with you. I’m very thankful to my team. I believe the perfect life is not real, and real life is not perfect. There’s so much work that needs to be done. I’m from Brooklyn, New York, and not oblivious to what’s going on. What’s going on right now is affecting our infrastructure, health, education, and development as people. It feels like we’re moving backward instead of moving forward. We’re in 2020 and the technology is advancing rapidly. Unfortunately, it feels like we as humans are sometimes moving backward which doesn’t align correctly with our purpose. We need to be more honest with ourselves. Our actions need to be more congruent with our words. My actions are congruent to my words, I believe there’s a lot more positivity in the world than there is negativity. We all need to come together as white, black, brown, yellow, red, and just unite for the same purpose.
Griffith: “Thank you so much for sharing that.”
Delavicci: “You know, I’m very poetic and I sometimes express myself through spoken word. I would like to recite a piece that I wrote which reflects on our current situation.”
Griffith: “Please, yes, absolutely.”
Delavicci: “So it goes something like this, you know, I write. I express myself through poetry So, that being said, Take a look. You got something like this.
‘Hurt people hurt people, and it hurts people, because we’re hurting ourselves.
Battling the Coronavirus.
Nah. We are at war with ourselves,
No, no we’re at war with God.
And this is one war we can’t win.
Headed nowhere fast, all we do is sin.
You know exactly what I’m talking about. Where do I begin?
Jesus is trying to reach us.
And the Devil’s trying to keep us-
misguided, divided, coldhearted and blinded.
Where did the Unity go?
We can no longer find it, stand divided, brainwashed and tired.
If we ever work for Jesus, we would all be fired.
Fires ignited. Hell on earth.
Brooklyn is burning in flames.
Black and white, here we go again.
I’m tired of seeing crooked cops killing innocent black children, women, and men.
If you really want to make America great, well let’s do it then.
Not every cop with a badge and blue uniform is a bad man.
Individually, we could not resolve this issue. But together we can.'”
Griffith: “That’s beautiful.”
Delavicci: “Thank you.
Griffith: “No, thank you for sharing that with me. That was wonderful. You know, that’s a backup career you should consider if you decide not to act or model anymore. That was wonderful.”
Delavicci: “I’m very spiritual and try to maintain a positive mindset regardless of any obstacles in my life.”
From there we exchanged thank you’s and went on with our days, but the words Delavicci left me with stuck with me. His community-by-community approach to bridging the gap between officers and the community is something precincts all across the US will have to consider as we work to heal our country.
With people like Delavicci and his willingness to be a go-between and encourage dialogue and openness between opposing sides, Brooklyn has an advocate with a passion for helping those around him.