When the case first came to your attention, what did you do?


Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
How did you become involved?

Answer:
We had news media, of course, the newspaper and television. All the news media flashed this type of situation all over the network and people knew about it. Then, our office picked it up in Washington, and I was ordered to go there because of news and because of the tensions that existed between the Indian community and the white community.

Question:
The Washington office told you about it?

Answer:
I was ordered to go there by the people in Washington. I went up to Montana by myself. I was scared as hell.

Question:
Did you call anybody before you went, or did you just show up?

Answer:
Do you want all the techniques of what we do, or do you want me to cut through some of that?

Question:
We'd like some pretty good detail.

Answer:
Ok, I'm a detail person. One of the things you learn is that you want contact with as many people as you can. The first person I called up there was the Governor's office. I didn't know if the Governor was playing a role or not, but I learned that the Governor's Chief of Staff was a guy that had taken quite an interest in the situation. He was interested from the point of view of seeing if the state could resolve this conflict. But, of course, he wanted to know why I was coming in and I told him, and he accepted that. He also had a colleague who was Indian. The two of them got together and said, "We'll meet you there in the course of the week. How long are you going to be there? I said, "I don't know, I have to contact some more people, get more detail." I called the chief of police, and I got in touch with key community leaders. As you're identifying issues at first, you also want to identify key players, and their roles. Going into any situation like that one, without having some idea of who the leadership is, is kinda putting your life at risk -- very much at risk, because you're walking around like a zombie or something, because you don't know who's who, and what's what. But you know for sure that the police chief is the Police Chief. In any city, you know for sure that the mayor's office is the mayor's office. But before you know that, you have to understand and learn what form of government a municipality is operating under. For example, you may go in there and say, "I'm going to talk to the mayor, and see what's going on with him." The mayor may just be a symbolic individual, so you have to find out if the mayor or the City Manager is in charge. So in this situation, the city manager controlled and wielded the power. He was reluctant, as most city officials are about the Justice Department coming in. On the other hand, it's a situation where if they can find somebody else to blame, a scapegoat, they welcome you to come on in. So light bulbs go on in their heads, and they start saying, "Scapegoat! Come on up!" You get to meet all these people. What's also key in a case like this, in a situation like this, is that you must not only identify administration leadership or white leadership, but you must also identify Indian leadership, and that's very hard. You go into the Indian community and you might hear a lot of talk that so-and-so is the leader or the boss. You hear all of this stuff, you write that name down, you call, you get him or her lined up, and then you learn that this person isn't the leader after all. In some communities, you won't know who the leader may be, especially in minority communities. It's a culture thing; you have to learn something about the culture. You don't barge in there, not having taken those things into consideration.




Wallace Warfield


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Some closing questions that deal with theoretical questions.....How did you usually get involved in cases? Did people call you up, or did you go out looking for cases.....?

Answer:
Well both ways. There were several ways that CRS got involved. You’d get calls – and again, it has to do with trust and reputation. The more you did, and the more you were known, the more frequently you got calls to come into a situation, rather than having to go through the newspaper, find a conflict and then sort of figure out how to make the contacts to get in – doing what we would call the "cold contact” fashion. The more we did work over the years in various communities around the country, the more people knew CRS, and actually the more calls that would come from the establishment side, as well.

Question:
And then, once you got in, how did you conduct your assessment?

Answer:
Well, several ways. There are two types of assessments: The first level of assessment should be deciding whether you’re even going to intervene. And that’s mainly a content-analysis kind of approach; you know, you’re doing some reading of articles, reading papers, trying to see if you can get a sense of the issues. "Is this amenable to a CRS intervention?” At one point, CRS had a fairly sophisticated – for want of a better term – crisis-response analysis mechanism that ranked disputes and conflicts on levels of intensity. That was supposed to act as a guide for your intervention, but I think if a CRS person wanted to get involved in something, he/she would manipulate the data so that it would meet the appropriate level of intensity. But.....

Question:
What were the criteria....?

Answer:
I don’t remember.....one of them would be, "Is there violence taking place?” for example. "Are more militant groups in the community involved?” "Is there at least a preliminary assessment that some level of damage has happened?” A lot of the intervention mechanisms were sort of built around a crisis-response situation. One of the problems with that mechanism was that it did not re-tune itself to capture measurements for the more sophisticated kinds of disputes and conflicts, so that was discarded fairly quickly as I recall. So you would do an initial assessment, and then you would determine – based upon the level of conflict, the accessibility of it. Some determination was based upon an economic scale (were there enough resources to get involved?) If the conflict was a thousand miles from the regional office, did it make sense to actually get involved in that particular issue when you could do something else? So you do that level of assessment, and then the second level of assessment would be on-site. On-site assessment was tantamount to intervention. It’s pretty difficult to go into a town to do an on-site assessment and then not get involved, so it’s tantamount to the intervention. So over time, on-site assessments really became assessments to determine what you would do, not whether or not you would do it. And then there would be the intervention. Of course, the typical CRS method would be to decide who to interview, and then who to interview first, and then explore whether or not the sides were amenable to any kind of a process for coming together for a way of negotiating out their issues. Sometimes you wouldn’t use the term "negotiation”; you might call it "talk”, or whatever.

Question:
So when you were making that initial telephone assessment as to whether CRS should get involved, was one of your criteria whether or not you thought they’d be amenable to talks, or was that something that was left for later?

Answer:
Well, you’d get some of that. If you got into a conversation with people on the phone, you might ask, "Is this something that you think you’d like to get resolved? What do you see happening? What do you want to do with this?” You may not ask them about whether or not they want to get it resolved; you might ask, "What do you see as an outcome? What would you like to see happen in this particular situation?” Depending upon what they would say, that would give you some clues as to their willingness to sit down and talk.

Question:
And if you had the feeling that they probably wouldn’t, would that be a reason for you not to get involved?

Answer:
Not necessarily. It certainly would make your job a lot harder, but what CRS would do is that they would change the nature of the intervention. So if the intervention was initially thought of as being a conciliation or a mediation that would bring both sides together, and one side or the other (particularly the establishment side) decided that they didn’t want that to happen, you could still go in, but you wouldn’t be doing that; you’d be doing something else. Maybe trying to reduce the level of violence, or doing some kind of evaluative work with the minority.......it tended to get CRS people in trouble when they did that, because the other side always knew when you were in town, and you’d have to sort of answer to the question: "I thought we told you we weren’t interested.” "Yeah, but I’m here doing something else.” And you don’t want to push it to the point where you’re saying, "I’m the federal government, and I can go anywhere I want.” You don’t want to do that.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Explain what an alert is.

Answer:
An alert is a notice to the Community Relation Service providing information that there was a matter, a case, that came to our attention that demanded that we take a look at it to see what to do. Then we would determine what the next step would be. It could be something that we closed on receipt for any number of reasons. We might not have been able to respond, it may have been very low priority, but very likely it was out of our jurisdiction. We would typically refer it to somebody or give some quick phone advice or information. Or it might move to the next phase, which is obtaining more information and beginning an assessment. So the alert typically would be something within our jurisdiction and it would mean some report of some type of problem, conflict, differences, disagreements in a community.

Question:
And you encouraged your staff to go out and get as many of those as they could?

Answer:
Well not go out, but from behind a desk usually, or receiving phone calls or making phone calls. It was imperative that we knew what was happening in our regions.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Okay, number one was potential for violence. Assuming it's within our jurisdiction, the mandate of the agency. Number two, is it likely we can have some impact? How many people are involved? Another is, who's asking us? Is it a school superintendent, is it the head of the NAACP, is it a congressman's office, is it the director calling from Washington? This all had a practical impact on whether we responded or not. That had an impact on how effective we could be. It had an impact on how important the matter was, and the political consequence to the agency of responding or not responding, which obviously is a matter that you had to take into consideration. That wasn't overriding, but it could have some impact. How long had the problem been persisting? Have we ever been in that matter before? What other efforts had been undertaken? Was this intractable, or was this something that was new and fresh? Was this something we had experience in? Do we have a higher expectation of success based on our experience? Did we have the money to respond? Did we have the personnel to respond? What were the negatives? Was there someone who didn't want us to respond. Maybe there was a good reason not to. That might not be pretty always, but there well may be a reason why we should not respond. I think that probably covers all of the things we considered.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

C.J. was unable to get into Flint until the next morning. It turned out that the police chief was on vacation, his assistant chief was in control and clearly couldn’t control what was happening. I called the assistant chief at 4 p.m. and said, "Mr. Walker is coming to Flint and should be there this evening. If he gets there in time, he’ll call you and let you know he’s in town. But he’ll definitely call you in the morning.” I knew C.J. wouldn’t be there until the morning but I wanted police to think the Justice Department was on their back that night. I don’t know whether it worked or not. This was a case where our first concern was getting somebody on the scene or at least to have the police chief think somebody from outside was there observing. Once we confirmed the likelihood of police violating the rights of citizens in the black community again that night, we did not need a further assessment to know we had to be there.



Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Going back to the beginning now, tell us how you typically get involved in a case. Would you say that most of the cases come in here by people calling you and asking you for help, or do more come by you saying, "I think we ought to get involved," and going out proactively?

Answer:
You know, I'm not sure. I think now it's probably more from people calling and asking for help, or calling and notifying me of a situation. These people are often not even directly involved in the cases they report it's just that I've been around enough, and enough people know me, so I've made a lot of connections. That wasn't necessarily the case before, but it probably is now. Of course, there are still quite a few cases that we read about in the paper, or hear about on the news, and say, "We ought to alert that" (I'm sure I must have described the alert assessment process, or somebody from CRS must have.) So at any rate, we still get cases both ways.

Question:
How many alerts do you have per month, in comparison to how many cases you actually get involved in? Just rough numbers.

Answer:
A month? Well, for a year we get anywhere from 100 to 150. Actual cases well, that's probably closer to 25 or 30.

Question:
So how do you decide which ones to take on and which not?

Answer:
In some cases, after we have alerted them, we may decide that they're not even in our jurisdiction because they're individual-oriented cases rather than community cases. Also, if there is somebody else who is already dealing with the situation, since we have such limited resources, we might say, "Well, it looks like it is being handled." Sometimes, it's just a matter of not having enough resources and not being able to respond to everything. Those are the main criteria that I can think of. Sometimes we're alerted to a case, but by the time we get ready to work on it, it's already been resolved, or it's no longer the emergency or urgent situation it appeared at first to be. There are times when our getting involved would be essentially re-opening something that has already been resolved, so it wouldn't make sense. It would be one thing if we were looking for work. We could probably find it. But that not being the case, there are some that just take care of themselves. Or sometimes there are cases where the parties just say, "No thanks, Silke, we really don't need you for this one. I think we can handle this without your assistance." And that is fine. There are just some minority communities who would prefer to say, "We got them to do it," rather than, "We reached an agreement." And they don't want to have anybody else assisting them unless they think they might not get what they need.




Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

On the next work day I went there with Larry Turner, Senior Conciliation Specialist in our office. I had set up a meeting with the chancellor and his top assistant. The president of the university system was going to be meeting with the students that night so he came about a half hour or an hour into our meeting. It was President Hooker. The chancellor had already told him about it and he was very appreciative of our being there because he had relations with CRS when he was president of a school in North Carolina. He had brought along two of his trustees and one of them knew about our work in Boston and about my work with people up there. They were very pleased with our willingness to be of assistance. So there was no real tension related to us. It was more a matter of how do we address the problem and what can be done. So we met with them and the person who became their primary person for dealing with us was an assistant chancellor who was the head of student affairs.



Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

By "our discussions," you mean your discussions with whom?

Answer:
My discussions with one of the tribal members, and then Larry's discussions with the institution. Since we had worked closely together anyway, we shared information and found that they were talking to different people about the same issue. That's when I decided to do this jointly with the Native American Heritage Commission, mainly Larry Myers, the executive director. So we met with the institution to confirm where they were coming from and what their bottom line was. We subsequently met with the tribelets of the tribe to begin to identify their representatives of spokespersons.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

When you're in your office and you are alerted to a conflict in a community, how do you tend to respond?

Answer:
What I do is, I look at the source of the referral and I try to dissect who do I need to talk to, depending on the kind of case. If it's an excessive use of force case, I'm looking for who is the spokesperson for the complainant. Usually it is the NAACP, CORE, SCLC, sometimes some community spokespersons evolve. So I'm looking for linkages to the complainant side. My next step is to move out on to the scene and to begin an assessment to determine what the issues are and whether there is an appropriate role for CRS.






Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
I am assuming that most of the time when CRS gets involved, it is because there has been a triggering incident...?

Answer:
Certainly if there has been a triggering incident we will get involved, but we also get involved before a triggering incident takes place. It is just as likely that there is, for instance, a community that's just frustrated and has nowhere else to go. Maybe that's because they can see that the lack of equity and the perception of discrimination is there, and they have tried some avenue of redress that hasn't worked, so they come to CRS and say, "What can you do for us?" And usually, especially if they're people that don't know us that well yet, but maybe just know the Justice Department, they will expect an investigation and fact-finding and some kind of order being issued. So we have to constantly re-explain how CRS actually works, but it's their one hope for resolving this, because they don't see any other options. Frequently, there is a triggering incident, but not necessarily. And especially in the case of people who already know us, maybe from a previous triggering incident, maybe they will call us and say, "Silke, or Rosa, or Phillip, we are facing such-and-such and so-and-so, and she won't listen to us, and this has been going on and something is going to happen if you don't come." I remember my very first time in a particular reservation I hadn't been in the region that long yet, and to this day I don't know where they got my name but they called me and basically said, "If you don't come" -- and this was a police relations issue "we are going to start marching in the streets, so you'd better get down here." And it sounded urgent enough so that I did indeed get down there. We ended up having a fairly lengthy mediation session that ended with a good agreement. So ultimately, in this case, they were trying to avoid a triggering incident, but they were concerned with what they saw as ongoing physical abuse by the local police of Indian citizens. In their mind, anytime there was an Indian apprehended, they had to take him to the hospital before they could take him to the prison because he was so badly beaten up; they always resisted arrest, so they just said, "If something doesn't happen here, we are going to have a triggering incident and we don't want that to happen. So Silke, it is all up to you." And I thought, "Gee thanks, I appreciate that."




Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

In the UMASS case, you had easy access and felt comfortable enough moving onto campus. In a more typical case, would you make a phone assessment before going on site?

Answer:
Yes.

Question:
Will you talk about that process and how you decide whom to speak to and in what order?

Answer:
A number of our cases come from the media and basically the process we try to use is that unless there is already a major conflict taking place that involves violence, there is usually time to get the information. Even when there is major violence, say a civil disorder is taking place, our process is to alert the people that we are coming and get as much information as we can from the community on the background of the incident or conflict. I would say the critical aspect when we meet with any of the authorities is to have more information than what is in the media or the press. It is critical at those first meetings with the police chief or the mayor. They often say, "It was an isolated incident," or "It's something that we are in control of," and there is either a deliberate or a non-deliberate attempt to block and head off any further deliberations from outside. They often say, "We're handling it, we can handle it, it's really nothing major."In my mind, that's the usual mindset of authorities. If you have no more information than they do, there is nothing you can really go on. That's why before we go forward to have a meeting is to get as much information as possible about the totality of the picture.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

She contacted CRS, and said, "We're very upset about what's taking place at this institution. Somehow, these remains need to be returned." I was working with Larry Myers of the Native American Heritage Commission for the state of California. He joined me, and we decided that we would work this particular case jointly.



Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The alert came to you originally from this woman, or one of the Native American Commission?

Answer:
I knew the woman, I knew the issue, but I think she had also been contacted by the Native American Heritage Commission.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
No, I contacted them because I read their complaints in the paper. Having been involved with it in the past, I then began to talk to them about what had happened. They began to suggest to me the things that I ought to consider. I was planning to come in. I would immediately respond to those guys, mostly, because I had that interest. Not so much that it was a life-and-death situation, but in this case, it was a perpetual trend of Native Americans being abused.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How did that case come to your attention?

Answer:
Through the newspapers.

Question:
CRS volunteered to become involved?

Answer:
And we made some inquiries and eventually, out of our Chicago office, one of our mediators knew one of the coaches and talked to him about what we could do. The NCAA's position was that they intended to address all of those issues through their bylaws. Eventually, the bylaws were amended, they had to wait until the next year, but eventually they were amended to suit the Black Coach Associations. And it was to the benefit of both parties to do so.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Do you think that you could choose all of the ones where you think you're going to be successful, or do you have to look deeper and say, "This is the one where I'm really going to have a big impact, this is the one where they can't possibly do it without me," versus, "Well, I can be successful, but they could probably handle it on their own."

Answer:
With the exception of those that automatically drive us into the picture, which are those where violence is occurring or there's a potential for violence, the other's we look at all the ingredients. Are the parties willing to come to the table, are they negotiable issues, and do they want us really in there?




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How did you get involved with it initially?

Answer:
Primarily, we were following it through the media. But there were good relations with the NAACP. There had been for years prior to this period. Oh, and we had good relations with all of the people involved. There was another CRS person who did the initial response and the initial assessment, and I came in as the mediator. But it was only after the local Human Rights Commission had been unable to address the issues that we became involved.

Question:
So generally speaking, how did you typically get involved in the cases? Was it something that you were assigned, or did you look through the media and seek out this?

Answer:
Contacts or media, people, parties who were involved, we maintained relationships with minority leadership and played police officials, school officials, your routine. Oh, and we would also subscribe to, in this case, the Anchorage and Fairbanks papers.

Question:
So you routinely called school officials and police officials and say, "How are things going?"

Answer:
Not so much call up, but next time we're up there on another case, for example, always take advantage of being there to contact or to meet with some of these people. And sometimes we hadn't been in there, and no cases were being brought to our attention.




Julian Klugman


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Let's go back to Klammath Falls.

Answer:
Ok, Bob Lamb calls me in and I did some reading on the situation. I read about the history of Klammath County. Klammath one time was owned by the Klammath tribe of Indians who live on both sides of the border, some of them live in California, some of them in Oregon. There had been a settlement.

Question:
Settlement to what?

Answer:
The federal government gave them money. There was a lawsuit and the government gave them money, and then many of the Indians blew the money. There's a whole history of how people cheated the Indians out of their money. The money was given to individuals, it wasn't given to the tribe. So the next time they gave the Indians money, they gave it to the tribe. The tribe bought the biggest shopping center in town. They didn't fritter it away and they started developing some power. You have to realize about two years before that, AIM had developed. You have to understand every single treaty, one hundred percent, has been broken. By everybody, by the whites, by any blacks that were involved, any Mexican, everybody cheated the Indians, including other Indians. So there's a very good reason why the Indians don't trust anybody. Also you have to realize that they were a very proud people. They owned everything here. They weren't savages. Most of the Indians had intricate sophisticated civilizations and were doing very well, and then we came in and took everything away from them. It wasn't just that, we degraded them, starved them and killed them, we infected them, and Indians know this. Now, they have a suicide rate that is many times anybody else's rate. They are the poorest of the poor and you go into a town like Gallup, New Mexico which is a border town, on a Saturday night and you step over piles of young Indians, teenagers, boys and girls, who drink themselves into unconsciousness. The suicide rate and the drug rate and the alcohol rate is incredible; the unemployment rate today is like seventy percent.

Question:
Okay, so in Klammath Falls. . .

Answer:
I get off the plane and they pick me up at the airport and they take me to this meeting at City Hall and here are some Indians. I've had no real preparation, I haven't met with anybody. Here are the Indians and here are the city officials and they wanted me to start mediating. I said, "wait a minute, we need to do a little preparation." So they want to start and I said "ok, go ahead." It took them about a half an hour. I just sat and listened and they were going absolutely nowhere. They said, "maybe we ought to do something else, what do you suggest?" I didn't say this is my first mediation. I'm the expert, that's why I'm there. So I said "I would suggest that I set up some appointments to meet with each of the parties. Why don't we start that way.? We'll make sure everybody understands what mediation is." I had some ground rules for mediation and I handed them out. "I'll make the appointments right now. I'll meet with everybody. Once I meet with everybody, why don't we set a date, like two weeks or three weeks from now when we can start the mediation."




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

People call you and when we were working on this interview schedule we were also thinking of situations that we'd heard of from other people where you see or read about something in the paper, or the radio and you go in cold. Who would you contact first? Do you ever do that or are you mostly just responding to people calling you?

Answer:
No there's occasions like when I went to Jasper, I heard about it in the news. The body had been discovered on Sunday and it made Monday TV in Houston. I saw it Monday night and I decided to go there. Every town has a mayor practically so that's always a good source, a good place to start.

Question:
So did you call him before you went?

Answer:
Yes, I called him. Let's say in that situation, since there was a black victim involved, I wanted to see the concerns of the black community so besides calling the mayor I tried to reach the NAACP, and the ministers. I tried to reach the First Baptist church, also. As I left town I called the F.B.I. to see what had been happening. The F.B.I. district director special agent in charge talked to me and said they held a press conference at noon, and he was on his way back to Houston. He just filled me in a little bit on what happened. I had also tried to reach the mayor and the mayor finally called me back and arranged to meet with him. We arranged to meet about 7:00 or 8:00 that evening, so on the way up there about thirty minutes from Jasper, I called the mayor because I thought maybe I should meet with other people and he could notify them. He said sure, come on over we'll talk about that. He was going to see what he could do. Later I was up at his house and he had a whole lot of black men there all dressed up in suits and all that. I thought it was a monthly meeting of some group. I realized after a while that he had called them to meet with me. There must have been about fifteen, or twenty people, maybe more. They told me about what they felt about the current situation, what they had been doing already, and some historical issues involving race in the community. We agreed I would help them, and we'd look into the historical issues at a later date, but right now we would look at what's happening currently, what was expected, and who was doing what already. I found they had begun working very closely with the white ministers.




Werner Petterson


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Would you start by telling us how you became involved, what types of things you did, how they came?

Answer:
I had read about the case for some time in the local newspaper and there was something in the articles that gave me the indication that the judge handling the case was trying to find a way to mediate it. The words were not in the article, but there was a clear indication that he wanted to find a way short of going to trial to resolve it. So I called the judge's clerk, we don't call the judge directly, but it's really a way of testing to see whether the judge was open. That way also you didn't jeopardize the judge by talking to somebody about the case without the parties being present. I called up the judge's clerk and told the clerk about CRS and asked him to share with the judge on the case the service of CRS. It seemed like less than a day when I received a call from the judge and we spoke more about it. He invited me down to the city to meet with him and with the parties' attorneys. He had made up his mind by the time I got there that he was going to appoint me to the case. So, even though there was some reluctance upon the part of the attorney for the school board about my being involved as a mediator in the case, the judge had made up his mind and he just announced that he wanted the parties to meet with me to try to mediate the case. So after we introduced ourselves, I explained to the attorneys of the parties about CRS and how we operate and about our ground rules. Then I set up a time to meet up with the parties separately at a different time.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Well, the media project wasn't necessarily a conflict, though it sort of was a conflict. The way we started this whole thing was back in 1969 or early '70 a previous CRS person noted that the Hispanic community was being totally left out of the media. CRS was working on special programs at the time, so he started a media project. He suggested that a group of media people and Hispanics get together to talk about ways in which Hispanics could be represented more in the media. But then he was transferred to Dallas, and I got his job. I followed up on his starting work. So I identified agency people -- because they're the ones who had the resources -- agency people that might be interested in understanding what radio and TV is all about, the FCC regulations and so on. We came together at the post office in downtown Denver and we had at least forty people there. They were interested, so I brought in a person that knew FCC law to explain it to them further. He explained about the citizens' rights -- that the airwaves belong to the citizens and not the companies and so on. They were very much interested in it because they were concerned about lack of employment opportunity for Hispanics in radio and TV. The group was formed immediately because they were so interested in the issue. They called it the Colorado Committee on Mass Media of Spanish Surnames.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Right. When the sanitation workers started that protest, I was called by George Pembleton and he said, "Ozell, we want you to get to Memphis." I had read something about the conflict, and teasingly I said, "And do what?" He said, "You're the one person I'm sparing who will know what to do once you're there. So just get there." So I went to Memphis. Now this is the way you do it-- CRS first does an alert of a case. An alert simply calls attention to the fact that the problem exists. We don't even know whether it's our jurisdiction or not, but it sounds like it. And then there's some preliminary information I gather so I can alert those involved, find out where and all of this.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I placed a call to the Minnesota Director of Corrections in St. Paul and suggested that the Community Relations Service might be of assistance. He greeted me profusely, and the next week I was meeting with him in his office, telling him all the wonderful things our agency could do. We had a corrections specialist in Washington, we had a mediator in Dallas, Bob Greenwald, who had just completed a very successful mediation in the Louisiana prison system.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I told him that we could assessment conditions at St. Cloud and that we had a training capacity and mediation capacity and we would be pleased to go on-site and work with them.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

It was about two or three months after my first meeting with the commissioner that I got another call from the deputy commissioner in St. Paul. It was a Friday afternoon and I was in a judge’s office in Cleveland where we were working on that city’s school desegregation case. I received an urgent message from my office to call the deputy in St. Paul. When I reached him he tried to sound relaxed and casual as he told me " said, I’ve got a few problems, do you think you can get out here Monday morning?” He told me the reformatory was in "lock up,” because there had been another racial rioting incident. I went in the following week with Efrain Martinez from my staff and with Bob Greenwald from Dallas and a young African American program specialist from the Federal Department of Corrections.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Why did you send four people up originally? That sounds like a higher number than our other interviewees in the initial assessment.

Answer:
The first assessment that I did, we sent Jim Freeman from the Washington staff and one field worker from my region with him. That was about par for the course. I might have even sent Greenwald up because he was a specialist, too, having done Louisiana. When I went in, I just figured I needed all the help I could get. Greenwald was available, and that just made me stronger, I wouldn't have known how to interpret anything up there. The guys could help me, and then I just winged it after that.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

We might start with a question about how cases routinely came into your office. Did people most often call you? Did you most often read things in the newspaper or hear them on the radio or TV and go out after them? What was more common?

Answer:
A combination of methods. At one point we went so far as to have United Press news wires in our offices. Half of it was to be sure if Washington saw something, we knew it first. The worst thing was to get a call from Washington saying what's happening in Peoria, and we didn't know, but they had received a call, or something of that sort. Typically a mediator or a field representative, conciliator (different titles at different times during the agency's history), would have some geographical responsibility. A regional director would determine who would be responsible for what geographical regions or areas, and they would have links into those communities. This might have been done ethnically in some places. If you had people on your staff who were American Indians or Hispanic in some areas of the country, sometimes it might be divided that way. For example, it was understood that if there were issues in Chicago coming out of the Hispanic community, the two or three Hispanic staff members would handle those. We had a Hispanic in Detroit though, and he was responsible for everything there. Typically, we would get newspapers from the major cities in the region. People would make periodic phone calls if they thought something might be coming up. People kept their own "future files" to follow up on events, if they knew something might be happening. We had strong links to the state NAACP chapters. State chapters of La Raza, and at times, cold calls would come in from someone who had been referred to us. Sometimes another federal agency would call with a problem that was not in their domain. It might be the US attorney's office, it might be a HUD office, EEOC Employment Opportunity Office where they had something unique and they brought it to our attention. So it could be any combination. But certainly we were alert to the media. Our people listened to the radios and we had newspapers and when there was a hint of anything happening we would respond. Now how we responded would depend in part on what was going on. If we had a very heavy case load, if we had no travel budget, if we had people out on other assignments, or sick, or on vacation, then we might discourage a response or hope the problem would go away. These are the realities, the human elements that come in. Let me add one other thing. Occasionally another region would alert us to a problem that would overlap, or that they heard about. Regarding alerts, I should say we would formalize activities at the Community Relation Service so that there were categories of things that we did and one of them, perhaps the first one, was alerts. When people were evaluated, we reviewed responsibilities, and how many alerts a person brought in. After each alert was received, a one page report was written. Just a few scribbled lines that indicated who called, when they called, what the issue was, and what the follow up would be.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Yes or some other critical reason. For example, we had a call from rural Ferris State College in Michigan, where they had been recruiting black students for the first time. The black students were being intimidated by white students who kept their hunting rifles in their rooms. There was some serious intimidation, and it was apparent to call that this was a serious matter. The alert came from the state NAACP, I believe. The handful of black students on campus were being intimidated, their parents were on campus and the college president had refused to meet with them. C.J. Walker, in our Detroit office, phoned the President and told him he was coming in. We stayed close to C.J. on the phone then, because he was new on the job. He just went in there to get the parties talking, to get something happening. There was no time to fool around there. We had the resources, we had the person, he was nearby, he got in there, and he got on the job. That’s the way we would operate when there was high tension or a crisis. What he did there, incidentally, was to get the parties talking. He got the president to meet with the parents.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

For example, I was working with a group in Minneapolis, and former Congressman, Bob Frasier, was the new mayor of Minneapolis. There’s a small African American community there, and I was drawn in because a special friend of the director of CRS was a woman who worked for the Urban Coalition out of Washington. She called me and said "We have a chapter, we have a newer man in Minneapolis, with the Urban Coalition.” (The Urban Coalition was an establishment-oriented public service group that addressed race relations in urban areas.) "He needs some help.” So I went and talked to him, and there were race problems related to police. You had that new mayor, so it looked like it would be a good place to make a mark.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

How did you make that determination that you personally were needed?

Answer:
How would I decide to personally go onto the scene? I mentioned earlier, we went into the city because we were breaking new ground in the President’s home city, and I wanted to know what was happening. It’s not that I didn’t trust who was going in, but I had the time available. It might have been an ego matter or it might have been to give support. Because we had two people rather than one, we had more ability to do things. Or it might be because I wanted a presence, or it might be because I was looking for a connection. I don’t even know what motivates us. But number one, because I felt I added value to the response. Number two, I would go in if it was a very high visibility matter, where I wanted to personally involve myself. I love field work, like every Regional Director does, and we wanted to be out in the field sometimes. I could select my cases, so that’s why I went to Kent State and that’s why I personally undertook some other cases. Sometimes, I would get a request from a field representative who saw value in my participating, and I would seldom say no. Sometimes I was in a supervisory or management role. Perhaps somebody was working in the city and was reporting all kinds of good things happening, and it was a major city. So after eight months, I would go in and verify that. It was a management problem if you had a person spending too much time in one place. I wanted to talk to some of the principals to be sure of what was happening there. It would depend. We also had outlying field offices and I would periodically go to visit a field worker and go on-site and they would want to put their best foot forward. Sometimes I created tension and I wasn’t wanted on the scene, but sometimes I was, it just depended.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So they were in a protest mode, and demonstrating in the Midwest. A caravan was headed to Pine Ridge Indian Reservation in South Dakota. That was out of my region, but earlier we had responded to some American Indian protests before CRS opened a Denver office. We had responded to some things in Nebraska, an incident involving the fatal shooting of an American Indian by some white ranchers. I was told to relinquish three of my younger staff members to accompany the American Indians march through the plains states, which was headed to Pine Ridge. John Terronez, Efrain Martinez, and John Sarver. They were reporting directly to Washington and I would only touch base with them peripherally.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So the entry was the media being aware of that. I made contact with student groups and with university officials. The Vice President for Student Affairs and the Vice President for Academic Affairs were both very open to our intervention. They wanted to do whatever they could to make a change. They didn't have any resistance as far as them trying to say it wasn't egregious or that they didn't need to do something about it. It was very positive. Part of our approach was that you go to the highest level for entry and so I needed to talk to the President to find out if he was open to us going in.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Go back to what you just said about the woman in the housing authority, where you came into a meeting for 4 months. That sounds interesting. Tell me about what was going on in that case.

Answer:
There were allegations of the housing authority not responding to tenants, and Tulsa became one of the prime targets of the housing authority investigation. The housing authority was siphoning money and spending it on other stuff, so the housing was falling apart. The minority groups living in the communities had complained to us because by then some of the players knew me and asked if I would come in. But the housing people didn't know me and, people who lived in the housing areas didn't know me. Too often, people come in and do their little deal and say their little speech and they leave. They figured that's what I was going to do, so they weren't going to spend any time with me. Nor were they going to give me any time. They let me say my little spiel, but that was about all. I just kept coming back. What we were looking at there was the housing authority's anti-discrimination policies that were a federal law. Unfortunately, they were so but was so complex that nobody could interpret them without an attorney. So we were looking at a way of redrafting those into common language. As far as the really imbedded stuff with the corruption, I really didn't have any authority to deal with that. But from my perspective, there were people in the community who were beginning to deal with that. There were people who were getting board members elected who wanted to deal with that. There were 2 groups at the establishment level. One was siphoning money, and the other one was saying, "That's not right,” and they were beginning to act on that. So we focused in on the discrimination policy and on getting the community a form of redress. Again, the housing authority didn't want any public light shining on them, so they wanted to cooperate. We had to work some with HUD. I wasn't even sure we would have permission to rewrite the document, but that didn't seem to be a problem. It makes you wonder why somebody didn't do it before...




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Give us an idea of how you became involved in a certain case. What did you do, why did you do it, and those types of things. Also, give us the background for it.

Answer:
Ok, this was a case of a national company that had a history of not being trusted by segments of some minority communities. In fact, there had been boycotts specifically organized against this company. There was an occasion where an official from that company made some statements at a public event which were seen as particularly outrageous by the community. That sort of renewed the need for something to happen in terms of the relationship between that company and the minority community. There were some discussions taking place locally and on a national basis, and our agency was able to coordinate, or facilitate, a collaboration among a number of minority organizations that were interested. They all had an interest in trying to approach this particular company, and the company was willing to at least explore the possibility of meeting with this national level coalition to address some of the issues and concerns that had been raised. Some of our national staff helped to make some of the national contacts, but we in this region were the ones that actually worked it. I co-mediated that with Leo Cardenas who was a regional director. We were the ones who went on with the logistics of actually pulling together this coalition of minority organizations, arranging the first meeting with the company, and doing pre-mediation work.

Question:
Ok. So from that point, did CRS take it upon themselves to go to the various minority communities, or did the minority communities approach CRS?

Answer:
I think it was a little of both. CRS is one of the few federal agencies that doesn't need an invitation or a request for assistance to get involved. We can go in under our own motion. In this case, there were some discussions taking place nationally, and to be honest with you, I am not sure whether we first approached the organization or whether the organization approached CRS. It was sort of a mutual acknowledgment that this made sense. We certainly helped once an interest was expressed in pulling together, and we helped those organizations that were interested in forming a coalition.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I started talking to one of the wardens about what was being done to prevent this kind of violence and what he thought we might be able to do. These talks were always over the phone, and he agreed that maybe we ought to meet. So I used to go down to the institution where he was the warden, and we talked and we would try to figure out how in the heavens we could deal with this issue.



Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you mostly get phone calls from people who said, "I need help?" Or were you going out saying, "There's a situation that we ought to get involved in." Who was the initiator, you or....?

Answer:
Both. We monitored newspapers very closely, and in fact, subscribed to newspapers in key cities. We would sometimes see a dispute developing through a newspaper article. We constantly visited those cities, and either provided services or simply maintained our relationships. And people would call us and tell us about disputes. I would say that less than 25% of the cases came as a request from those involved in the dispute. It's actually somebody else thinking that CRS can help in this dispute and letting us know about it.

Question:
When you found out about a dispute, how did you investigate it? How did you go about finding out what the problem was?

Answer:
We have a process that we simply call a "call-in assessment", which consists of contacting the parties, asking about the status of the dispute, the nature of the issues, and more than anything else, we simply ask in their mind do they see a resolution to it and what type of resolution do they see to the dispute, to the issues at hand? In the majority of those cases, the resolution is one sided.

Question:
Was the contact always done by telephone, or was it by mail, or did you ever just show up?

Answer:
Majority was telephoned; we still received letters, but the majority was by telephone.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
How were you able to come up with the key names?

Answer:
My recollection is the tribal leadership was able to suggest some people. One of the communities was a neighboring small town, and the other was a most unusual sort of an enclave within the reservation, that was located right on a major spring. There had reportedly been understandings between that community and the tribe dating way back regarding a fair division of the water of the spring -- and I should hasten to add that in many parts of the Southwest, water is extremely valuable. That is especially true in this area, where the soil is very sandy and where there are few springs, and most of the land is not suitable for agriculture because of the lack of water. The few creeks that do exist usually dry up for at least half of the year, so this spring water was very important to the tribe and the community. It took a few visits to find everybody and sit down and find out that they were willing to undertake the process. We suggested that they select a team representing each party and that each team then select a leader. Then we went through some of the processes of negotiation. We had a set of suggested mediation ground rules that one of my colleagues, Bob Greenwald, had compiled. We found this usually worked pretty well. It started out as just a little two-page document which he called "Notes on Mediation." It gave an introduction of what mediation is and then suggested a few ground rules. With his permission I started using that and gradually added to it with additional ideas and ground rules which I found useful. Both parties looked this over and agreed to proceed, so we had both the neighboring community parties, one more reluctant than the other, enter into formal mediation.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Based on that, one of the three tribes called me and said, "We've got problems over here in this other location near Olympia." And they were the only ones with treaty rights there. In response to their request, I went over there. In this case, there was a community meeting of property owners, a middle class grouping of people and a lot of university professors. All in this upscale waterfront house, with hors devours served and everything else. I had called and asked if I could attend this meeting. I walked into a hornet's nest. I knew it was. But I had to talk my way through it and get them into committing themselves to mediation all in that one night, because I had them all together. That was the only chance I had.



Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The way we became involved, or the way I became involved, as it was a team effort ,was another person at CRS, told me about it and we met after we heard about it. There was going to be a protest, so I met with the chief of police and the city manager. We tried to explain to them what CRS was all about, and said that perhaps we could try to reduce hostility and tension in the city. But by the same token, we could try to seek a solution to how and why this occurred and develop some alternative ways for the department to handle such problems in the future. We thought we could reduce the hostile nature of the community at that time, if they would allow us to do so. Of course, they were seeking answers; they didn't have answers. So they were seeking somebody to come in and be of some help. They didn't have enough communication with the Hispanic community, at that time you called them "Chicanos."



Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So when we went in, we talked to the police chief, and we tried to find out as much as we could. Then we met with some of the community leaders to find out how they viewed that situation. We were able to bring in the chief of police, the city manager, the leadership of the Hispanic community, and we met in the chief of police's office.



Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
I have a more general question. When you come into a community, how do you assess what's there, what sort of resources are there, what do people think, what do people feel, who gets along with whom, who's going to be a help, who's a hindrance?

Answer:
First of all, I would try to deal with the establishment. I work with the establishment and identify myself, and say there's a problem area, involving a school or the police for example. I concentrate on the establishment where the problem area lies, like if it's the school, then I concentrate with the school. But in the meantime I would talk to the police department, because they're the one who do all the enforcement. So they're one of my first contacts, so they know I'm there. Since we carry the Department of Justice label, they have all kinds of imaginative ideas about who we really are, are we FBI or whatever? And we're not, we're not that at all. When it's a school issue, we would end up with a superintendent. From the superintendent, we'd go down to the principal.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Ok. So going to Memphis, when you first went into Memphis, were you invited by the community, or did you invite yourself?

Answer:
No, CRS responds in several ways. It responds by invitation from officials; it responds on invitation of those who raise an issue- protestors; it responds to knowledge of facts that come from news. It has the responsibility, if it knows about it, to respond. So after the situation in Memphis was created, CRS jumped ahead and dispatched somebody there, according to its mandate.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

A Hispanic leader phoned and Efrain Martinez took the call. He told us how terrible things were at the community college. Martinez went on-site. There was a problem here and he felt we could do some good.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I don’t remember when I got a call to get in there, but I brought in a fellow from our Philadelphia office, Tom Hadfield, to do the administrative things, just to get it organized, keep track of who had what cars and who was where.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Okay. This was a situation where two different people in an Indian tribe claimed to be the chief. But they both claimed to be elected. Being chief of the tribe means having control of a lot of money. So there was interest in being the chief. The person who was in the compound said that he was the chief, and the people around him agreed. Another man in the community said he was the chief, so he took his friend and guns and took over the compound. I called in from Lubbock, Texas. It was routine on a Friday afternoon to say, "I'm coming in, is there anything going on?" "As a matter of fact there is. This chief in Oklahoma said that he won't do anything until you get there. Will you go talk to him?" "Okay."







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by Conflict Management Initiatives and the Conflict Information Consortium at the University of Colorado