Did you phone all parties before your arrived?


Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Initially we did a telephone assessment as to the nature of the violence, the nature of the dispute, certainly the parties, who are the parties, in a lot of the cases we have already established relationships with them. And in a lot of cases, we get to the scene, because we do have relationships with them and can talk to them.

Question:
With both sides?

Answer:
With both sides. Yes.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Now did you give them prior notice before you went to the university to let them know that you were coming?

Answer:
Yes, I called and made appointments with students, student leadership and administrative leaders.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I will call the leadership and say, "I'm from CRS of the U.S. Department Justice, I'm a federal mediator, I'm attempting to assess a possible race related conflict in an effort to reduce or resolve it. I'm in touch with the other parties, you need to be aware of that. I want to meet with you at some time also. So I want to let both parties know that we are there, and that my intentions are to meet with each of them. I usually meet with the complainant party first, because the institutions often don't know what the real issues are.





Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

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.





Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Would you always contact both parties, or all parties involved before you decided to go on-site?

Answer:
Always contact both parties, yes.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I make as much contact as I can by phone but that's only to determine if we have jurisdiction. Is there a conflict in this community, and is it related to race? That's usually the phone contact. When we're there we explore the situation further.



Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

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.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Was most of the contact done by phone, or did you meet in person?

Answer:
It was a lot of both. Initially, we had personal meetings with the coalition all meeting together in the same room. Then we had meetings with officials from the company. Then we had the first joint meeting after some basic explanation of what mediation is and so on. Because this was a coalition which consisted of top leaders and executives from around the country, we ended up doing a lot of telephoning, discussion, negotiation, and exploration of options in between face-to- face meetings.






Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

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.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Going back to the beginning, when you needed to personally contact people, did you call them on the phone or did you write, or what?

Answer:
No, you never write when you can call, you never call when you can visit. on-site assessments are essential in this business.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Usually, we try to do as much as we can on the phone, but if it's an emergency we have to be there quickly.



Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Can you tell over the phone by just talking to somebody who's saying what you ought to do or what you ought to think about?

Answer:
With this minister, that's what it was. It sounded very urgent and he made a lot of phone calls to me. We analyzed the situation and figured that he didn't need me right away. Perhaps he needed the help of this other guy. That guy would help analyze his situation and let him know where he needed to go. He needed more of a community organizer. He says he's got problems everywhere, including police and schools. I can't be tackling that job. That would be five different cases in that little community with the same people. What would I do with the other half of Texas that I'm dealing with? The stuff I already committed to? So I do as many referrals as I can, but with the understanding that if they don't get results, they can call me back. I'll call that other agent and tell him, "Somebody is going to call you, they have this problem, see if you can help them." Because they do that to me too. They send me people, so I help them. It's kind of network with the other agencies; federal, state, local agencies, politicians, community leaders, everybody.







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