Topics Addressed by
Stephen Thom


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  .When did you begin at CRS? When did you leave?
 
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        A. What did you do before coming to CRS?
                   
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        B. What civil rights or conflict management work did you do before your CRS work?
                   
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        C. What did you do at CRS (what was your role)?
                   
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  .Background information on a case
 
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  .When the case first came to your attention, what did you do?
 
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        A. When making an initial assessment of a case, with whom did you talk first? Next?
                   
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        B. Did everyone want you involved? If not, what did you do about that?
                   
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        C. How did you prepare for your intervention?
                   
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        D. Did you phone all parties before your arrived?
                   
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        E. Did you assist them by phone only? What types of assistance did you provide? Can you provide an example?
                   
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  .How did you do your onsite assessment?
 
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        A. Who did you talk to first on site?
                   
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        B. Did the parties ever ask you to do things you were unable to do? How did you handle such requests?
                   
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        C. How did you identify the proper people to talk to or get involved?
                   
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        D. How did you identify leaders?
                   
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  .How did you design a response plan?
 
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        A. Did you set goals for your intervention? At what point in the process?
                   
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        B. Did the parties assist in the goal-setting process or influence your choice of goals? How?
                   
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        C. How did you determine your own role (e.g., to act as an advisor, conciliator or a mediator)?
                   
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        D. How did you prove your credibility?
                   
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        E. Were you able to work effectively when trust levels were low between you and one of the parties? How?
                   
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        F. Was your race or ethnicity a factor in your ability to build trust with the disputants?
                   
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        G. Can you recall any examples of when you served as a scapegoat or in some other way helped a party save face?
                   
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        H. Were parties ever reluctant to participate because of a lack of trust in you or the process?
                   
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  .How did you identify underlying issues?
 
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        A. Were the issues that appeared to be most critical to you always the ones that brought you into the case?
                   
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        B. Did the conflict become defined differently over time? How?
                   
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        C. Did you find it necessary at times to help the parties define or prioritize their issues? How did you do this?
                   
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        D. Did you find yourself assisting one party to understand the other party's perspective?
                   
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        E. Did you have effective techniques for persuading a party to reframe the problem to make it negotiable?
                   
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        F. How did you deal with seemingly intractable demands on a party's agenda for negotiations?
                   
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        G. How would you deal with a demand on one party's agenda that the other party said was non-negotiable?
                   
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        H. Did key issues ever involve factual disagreements? How did you deal with such problems?
                   
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  .Tell me about your meetings with the parties when you were helping them to resolve their differences.
 
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        A. How did you decide when to meet separately with the parties and when to bring them together?
                   
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        B. When you brought the parties together, how did you decide where to convene the meeting?
                   
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        C. How did you assist in opening communications between the parties, to get them talking and listening to one another?
                   
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        D. Were there situations when a party came to the table but gave only lip service, or refused to negotiate in good faith?
                   
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        E. Were you able to increase trust levels between parties? How did you do this?
                   
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        F. How would you respond when you were called upon to carry messages between the parties?
                   
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  .What did you do to diminish tension between the parties?
 
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        A. Did the situation ever become violent or potentially violent? What did you do to diminish that?
                   
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        B. Did a party ever threaten to walk out of a mediation? What did you do then?
                   
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  .Did you find yourself helping the parties strengthen their own capacity to deal with conflict?
 
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        A. Did you provide technical assistance to the parties? Can you give some examples?
                   
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        B. Did you provide training for the parties? What types of training? Who did it?
                   
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        C. Did you help the parties prepare for mediation or any joint meetings?
                   
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        D. Did you assist groups with community organizing?
                   
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  .Did you try to analyze or address power disparities between the parties? How did power differentials effect the process?
 
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        A. When you perceived a significant power imbalance did you try to level the playing field? How did you do this?
                   
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        B. Did anyone ever ask you to become an advocate or to tilt the table in their favor? How did you respond?
                   
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        C. Did you ever try to use the power of the Justice Department to influence the situation or level the playing field?
                   
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  .How would you describe your work in terms of your neutrality, impartiality, and objectivity in a case?
 
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        A. Did you ever have a need to strike a balance between helping the parties reach a settlement and achieving equity?
                   
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        B. Did you address the issue of the fairness of the settlement?
                   
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        C. Did you have a problem retaining your impartiality while trying to level the playing field prior to negotiations?
                   
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        D. Did you have techniques for managing your emotions during case work?
                   
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        E. Did you ever have your impartiality challenged? If so, how did you respond?
                   
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        F. Did you ever intentionally act as an advocate for one side? Did you ever do this unintentionally?
                   
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  .Are there other aspects of the process that you used that are worth noting?
 
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        A. What role does listening play in your work?
                   
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        B. How much direction did you give the parties in mediation?
                   
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        C. Did you ever try to pressure the parties to change their approach?
                   
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        D. Can you explain the difference between conciliation and mediation?
                   
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        E. Tell us how conciliation works.
                   
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  .What cultural or racial factors influenced the process?
 
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  .Were you able to detect when an internal conflict existed within a party that was inhibiting progress?
 
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        A. How did you deal with it?
                   
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        B. Did you ever draw upon resources or refer parties to resources from outside the community?
                   
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        C. Did you provide information about outside resources that could help the parties in conflict?
                   
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        D. Did you ever bring in a neutral expert or other resource person to help with fact-finding problems?
                   
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  .How did you deal with issues of confidentiality during your casework?
 
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        A. Can you recall any times when assuring confidentiality created a problem for you?
                   
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  .How did you deal with the media? Were they an asset or a liability to your work?
 
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        A. Before terminating a case, did you help the parties develop a contingency plan to help prevent a recurrence of the conflict?
                   
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        B. Did you assist the parties design other structures to prevent a recurrence of the conflict?
                   
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        C. Did you plan any follow up after the case was closed?
                   
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  .What were the overall outcomes of the intervention?
 
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  .What were your measures of the success of your intervention?
 
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  .How did the changing nature of the civil rights movement and protest activity affect your work?
 
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  .What do you think are the most important skills and attributes of an effective civil rights mediator?
 
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        A. What do you think has been your greatest strength as a civil rights mediator?
                   
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  .Are there other important lessons that come out of your work?
 
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  .Interesting anecdotes.
 
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  .Agency-related information
 
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        A. Praise of CRS workers
                   
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  .LA riot history
 
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  .Descriptions of CRS institutional programs
 
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