What did you do to build and sustain trust with the parties?


Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

You talked just a few minutes ago about how you were able to speak the language of the authorities, and that tells me that you were able to establish some level of trust. How important is trust in your role, and how were you able to develop it in this case?

Answer:
Trust is everything. You know sometimes, as mediators, or even in some other roles, if we don't assume that we know enough about the subject, and about the common interests, it is not there. I always assume that one of the reasons I was hired was because I brought certain skills and expertise to the table and then I was just sort of thrown into the lion's den rather quickly and was able to perform really well.

Question:
Now I'm sure that you have some special techniques that you were able to use. You said that you were able to speak the language and so that made them feel comfortable with you. Give us an example of what type of languages were you using, what things were said, and when?

Answer:
Talking to the media officials' side, I was able to convince them that I did know the community. I was able to tell my own story of how I went to school, how I got to the university and why I got to the university, and eventually graduated, and what I had done to become, you know at the time, the only Hispanic in a management position. That I think was impressive to them and the fact that I showed a lot of honesty as to what the positions of the minority community were and what the consequences would be if something else came out -- a different outcome.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What did you do to diminish tensions between parties?

Answer:
Well, first of all, gaining acceptance is one. The other is gaining trust and working with them so that we can determine their priorities. We must also continue to ask them how we can best be of service to this dispute, and determine where the resolution lies.

Question:
What about getting trust not just between you and the parties, but between the parties themselves? Like between the minority groups and the majority groups. Presumably at the beginning of these conflicts there's a high level of distrust. What did you do?

Answer:
The biggest obstacle for us is gaining the trust of the minority group, because there's distrust among themselves, first of all. Despite the fact they have years of history, they don't come together that often. So what we find is that they don't really know each other as well as they think they do. And as I mentioned before, their share of time to give to the dispute or to give to the community, is very small. So we work a lot within the group itself so that it can coalesce and it can focus on the issues.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I'd like to go back and talk about trust. How important is it that you generate trust between yourself and the parties. How key is that to what you do?

Answer:
Trust certainly makes for more effectiveness, it makes one more effective as a mediator, at least in our culture. There'd have to be some confidence in a person's integrity or their ability, or else they would probably not be successful in persuading people to make a commitment to mediation.

Question:
How could you detect when you were succeeding in building trust?

Answer:
How would I know that I had trust?

Question:
How could you tell that you were getting the parties to be more comfortable to trust you more, to trust the process more? What signs were they giving you?

Answer:
Well, they would reveal the level of interest in it by questions and comments about it. Beyond that, I'm not sure that I could give you much of an answer.

Question:
Was it something very overt and obvious, as them saying, "Hey, we trust you now," or was it something a little more subtle than that?

Answer:
Oh, no it would be more subtle than that, like a willingness to proceed to accept recommendations or to participate in mediation. You could also tell by their level of frankness when talking about their concerns.

Question:
Were you able to operate if these levels were low or absent?

Answer:
Probably not.

Question:
Was your own race, ethnicity, age, or gender, ever a problem with you gaining trust?

Answer:
Oh yeah. I went into Monroe Prison, in the state of Washington, in response to a request from some of the African American inmates. They had arranged for me to talk with some of their members of the Black Prisoners Organization. Two or three of the members of this group, when we sat down to talk, upon hearing my accent, they asked, "Where you from?" "Alabama." It was immediate skepticism that anybody from Alabama could be of any help in this situation, or would be willing to be of any help. Really, there were times like this.

Question:
How were you able to get around that initial skepticism?

Answer:
Well, the same way I would when making a presentation to any group. I'd first try to get myself out of the way, by saying, "My name is Bob Hughes and as you notice, I am not from this area. I was born and raised in Alabama." Try to be up front and honest and open, and hopefully, get past that quickly in order to deal with more substantial issues. Deal with issues at hand. I would usually try to or make a joke about it. "I'm Bob Hughes, and as you noticed, I'm from South Mercer Island, or south Seattle."

Question:
Can you recall any examples of when you were used as a scapegoat by one of the parties?

Answer:
No, I don't recall being used in that way.

Question:
Did you have a special technique that you used to try to build trust between the parties?

Answer:
Getting them to work together, that is part of the mediation process. Maybe in joint committees, or task groups, which seem to be a very productive area for developing collaboration. I didn't have any particular exercises, for example, or training in that way that would have the effect of building trust.




Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Let's talk about trust, the significance of trust, not only in this case of Louisville, and the police officers, but in general as a mediator, how important is it for you to gain the trust of the parties?

Answer:
Well, I think it's extremely important. Let's say I'm doing mediation and during the process, my sense is that I didn't gain the trust of one of the parties, or both of the parties, and the mediation is not successful, and maybe we go back to court or whatever else they were doing. In that particular situation, I would then not view that I had made my goal. I would not have accomplished the goal because that element, not having gained that trust which is part of the mediation process, is unsuccessful. So the mediation wasn't successful and I accept the blame for that. I also recognize that there are going to be individuals that are not going to trust me no matter what I do, simply because I'm a Fed or simply because I am white.

Question:
Before we took a little break you were talking about how race may affect your job. How your position with the Department of Justice may affect your job. Could you just continue talking about that?

Answer:
What was the context?

Question:
I think you were talking about it in terms of the trust issues with the parties who were involved in this particular case, the Louisville police department and black police officers.

Answer:
The trust issues there were ok. They got better as time went along which will happen in all situations unless you've had a history or experience with somebody in other circumstances of the case activity or something. At the initial point of contact I think the trust level is generally low because the other people just don't know who you are or where you're coming from. Often just the term the Department of Justice pops these pictures into people's minds of all kinds of things and most of them (but not all of them) are kind of pointed away from the trust as opposed to toward trust. But you work around that and you build it. You can build it over a short period of time if you put some effort into it. My experience has been just shoot straight with people and generally speaking that is enough.

Question:
I think that also before we broke you were talking about the building trust or sustaining trust in a group and that's when you were explaining that some people are simply not going to trust you because of maybe some exterior factors or whatever. Was that the case with the Louisville police officers?

Answer:
No, first of all we went in with a biracial team.

Question:
Why was that important?

Answer:
Again it creates pictures in people's minds. A lot of that takes place on a subconscious level. I'm speculating here but I guess that most people don't say "Oh good a biracial team. We trust both of them now." But I think on a subconscious level they could sense a message that there's some equity here because the picture is kind of even.

Question:
How would it have been different for instance if only you went into that situation or only your partner had gone into that situation?

Answer:
Well, if only I had gone into it, I would have had to work harder with the black police officers organization because all of the FOP people are white. Actually the city team was diverse, and just by the very nature of how we are in this county, how we've been categorized, and the same holds true the other way. In fact it's probably more devastating the other way. I think a lot of times the people representing the Community Relations Services of the Department of Justice, if they are a minority, are perceived to be advocates more so than I am.

Question:
And what are you seen as?

Answer:
I'm the typical federal employee. That's what I'd expect from the Department of Justice kind of thing.

Question:
Is there a certain amount of validity, credibility that goes along with that?

Answer:
I'm sure there's some but I wouldn't attach any weight to it but I'm sure it's happened. And I don't know that it makes that big of a difference to be honest with you.

Question:
You don't feel that race or ethnicity affects...?

Answer:
Oh no, I'm sure it does I just like to think it's not that big of a factor.

Question:
Well, yeah we'd like to but by the nature of the work into which this organization was born, we know that that's not exactly true, so that's why I think we asked the question about how does your race and ethnicity affect the job that you have to do.

Answer:
It just makes it tougher to go in a minority situation particularly a black community, and find acceptance.

Question:
Were you ever able to work effectively when you felt the trust levels were low between either yourself and the parties, or between both parties or all of the parties?

Answer:
Yeah, I mean I go in and I know who I am and I realize that the people that I'm meeting for the first time don't know who I am but because I feel comfortable with who I am I don't worry about that thing. I know it comes up. When it comes up I'll deal with it. I don't go in thinking I have to deal with this.

Question:
So no one ever comes to you and says, maybe not in the Louisville case, but other cases that you were involved with. When you went into minority communities, did people approach you and say what are you doing here and I don't trust you because you are white, because you are male, because you are a certain age.

Answer:
I don't think I've ever had anybody say that to me. I'm sure that people have thought it but I don't think anybody has ever said that. I don't recall anybody ever having said that.

Question:
Tell me what was good about the process that you utilized in building trust between the parties?

Answer:
Specifically from the Memphis case?

Question:
The Louisville case, sure.

Answer:
What was there we didn't have to build on and I don't think we ever looked past that point. I think there were already established levels of trust with the exception of the outsiders who were CRS and the Legal Defense Fund. The rest of them were already where they would ever get in terms of trust. The city was probably in better shape in terms of trust with the black police officers organization. Let me just restate. There were already existing levels of trust excluding the Legal Defense Fund and CRS. I think that one, because we were referred by the judge, two, because we were able to present ourselves in an acceptable manner. Our trust levels rose or the level of trust toward us rose to an adequate level, I don't know if it's the best level, but to an adequate level. The Legal Defense Fund was never trusted by the city who viewed them as only there for attorneys fees, and was never trusted by the FOP because they were just these fast-talking guys from New York. I'm not convinced that the trust level between the black police officers organization and the Legal Defense Fund was where it could be simply because I think that in reality they were thinking the same thing that the city was thinking, that they were just there to collect attorneys fees. But they thought that was okay because they were helping them in the process.

Question:
And with you being able to witness the levels of mistrust going on did that impair your job at all or did you try to build the levels up at any time?

Answer:
On a very soft plane I think we probably worked in an ongoing fashion to improve trust level.

Question:
Like what? What's soft?

Answer:
Oh you know just when we would caucus with individual groups we would just kind of talk about where we saw points that would make that particular party that we were caucusing with have a positive kind of feel toward the trust of the other groups. But that wasn't a big priority because it wasn't getting in the way.

Question:
Can you think of any other cases where it may have gotten in the way? That you actually needed to take more of an initiative to increase the levels of trust?

Answer:
No I can't think of it.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What about trust between the parties?

Answer:
I guess it's pretty much the same. They test each other out. If they establish a working relationship based on whatever they're going to do together, then the process itself begins creating this trust among them. You can't just say, "Hey trust me." They never have total trust, especially if there's been a history of mistrust, but a lot of times that mistrust is based on misunderstanding, or lack of understanding. So through a process it creates an opportunity for trust.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Would you talk specifically about how you gain the trust of the parties?

Answer:
Well, part of it's trust, and the other part of it is that when they start to make choices, the choice that you are from is the most applicable to the situation. You come as all wisdom, if I might say that. Knowing everything that's to be known about it. Know about where this kind of situation in the country has occurred before. You are intimately knowledgeable about it. When you start going down the list of situations where you've seen it before, I think, "Been there, done that." So your trust comes from relating knowledge that nobody else has.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
A mediator must gain trust. Now, sometimes, to do that he has to do many things. Number one: he has to let the protesters vent. You see the difference between mediating a racial conflict and mediating a labor conflict, is that both sides come to the table in labor conflicts. It's not so in racial conflicts. With labor, both people know how to mediate. When you get a racial conflict, that's not necessarily so. It may be or it may not be. Now how do you bring this group of protestors to the table with city manager, chief of police and people at that level, when they are totally unequal? That's not so on labor, totally unequal. How do you protect their rights and their interests without showing a preference for them? I do it from the very beginning, I said, "I am not neutral. If I am neutral I can umpire this, like a game. I am not preferring sides, but I am forced to officiate evenly, even if the other side does not know what the rule is."

Question:
So you see trust and fairness being linked.

Answer:
Oh yeah, they are linked. And then much of the trust comes from how you demonstrate and conduct yourself. It's the perception of you, really. One way is to know, and know you know what you're talking about. Then the other part is, you have to convince both sides that at the rate they're going, they're going to do greater damage to each other. I convinced the city that, "You may have some powers, but when you have a segment of your city who perceive you as something less than fair and honest, you've got a problem. You may be able to enforce your will for a time, but," and I use this point often, "power is like a can of coffee; every time you dip into it, you've got less. Every time I take a sip out of that cup I've got less, right? Every time you have to use power to enforce, you've got less power left. If you keep dipping into it, it becomes powerless. When it comes to people you're enforcing against, you have to understand," and I say this quite frequently, "that in a democracy, you manage people with their own will. Without that will, you cannot. 10,000 police could not enforce the law in this city unless the will of the people is that they do. You can have all of the guns that you want, but you can't shoot a million folk. If a million folks rebel, even if 10,000 of those folk rebel, you are in big, big trouble. So you manage and you rule by that concept," and I keep emphasizing that all of the time. I use this with police officers. You couldn't take 10,000 Einsteins and rule this diverse city. So white folk alone can't rule this city. You couldn't take 10,000 W.B. DuBois and rule this city because black folk alone can't rule this city. There must be balance between the various groups, some sense of community that's inclusive enough to get the rule of the people to rule this city.

Question:
Is a sense of community also related to trust?

Answer:
It is.

Question:
How so?

Answer:
Well. Trust is in you, you convey the sense of community.




Wallace Warfield


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Tell me a little bit about how you go about building trust, especially with the white community.

Answer:
Well, one way that it happens is that many of the cities in which CRS intervenes Ė or has interventions Ė are repeats. So, you know, Silke has probably been into wherever Ė Aurora, letís say Ė thousands of times over the last 15 years that sheís been in Denver. After a while, people get to know you, and so trust gets built up over what you did in the past. People trust you from that standpoint, and thatís one way that it happens. Another way it happens is to go in and suggest to the establishment, "Gee, Police Chief Jones, why donít you call Chief Johnson in so-and-so city. Youíre all members of the Association of Chiefs of Police. Give him a call and talk to him about what we did.Ē Often times, that would even happen without your having to suggest that. So you make your phone calls, that youíre going to intervene, so thereís usually a lapse time of a day or two. By the time you get there, that police chief may have already checked you out.....

Question:
Have you ever had a problem where you werenít trusted because of your race?

Answer:
Sure. I did an intervention in one of the bigger midwestern cities. Again, it was a situation of police using excessive force. It was a mediation, and I donít think the police chief trusted me; I think he felt that I was not neutral. So I think there was a situation where the mediation broke down. I donít know that it broke down completely because the police chief didnít trust me; I think there were other factors involved....

Question:
Were you able to get around that?

Answer:
Again, without fully knowing the real reason the mediation broke down, itís hard to say. I was there on two occasions for relatively short intervals, for maybe two days. Itís hard to say, without a lot of discourse in between the actual sessions, what aspect of this had to do with the fact that he didnít trust me. I donít think he would have ever said that, and I would have had to attempt to ferret that out in some form or fashion, which would have been difficult to do without more exposure to him and more feedback.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Were those meetings, or interviews private, or did you have all the groups at the same time hearing their grievances? How did you do that?

Answer:
I did both. I interviewed individuals, and I also went to group meetings. I would go to a faculty meeting and then I would interview individuals by their choice, or by being selected by the group to come. I did the same thing with the student organizations. I met with them at their regular meeting and then I would have a schedule when I met with people individually. The group meetings were more to create trust with me. They would know me, they knew that I was really interested in what was going on. Interested enough to know what their group was about and spend time with them. I guess the one thing that I came to believe, was that trust is really the only commodity that we have. If you don't establish trust with the parties, and that's all the parties, if you can't establish trust with them, you don't have anything to offer them. Part of that was establishing that connection and that sense that I really do care about what is going on and I'm going to listen and I haven't come here to fix you. The trust issue, I think, is a critical element that is hard to teach. Somebody could be very trustworthy and yet if they don't project trustworthiness there are some people who will look at them and go "I wouldn't trust them." It's hard to do mediation because it is the only commodity that you have.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Initially there are 20 people who are sitting at the table, developing these trusting relationships, developing a mutual understanding. But the goal is to eventually get the whole community to develop a more trusting relationship. How do you transfer what's learned at the table to the rest of the community?

Answer:
I think the critical element is who you have at the table. Most people follow values of particular leaders. One of my techniques is to try to identify not only position leaders, but also personal leaders in groups. There were always people who had personal power over and above position power. If some of them won't sit at the table, you can still keep them in the loop if you know who they are. As long as you can keep them involved in the process, it will spread because most people are looking for someone to give them direction. In one instance, I went to a housing authority meeting every month for four months before one woman finally stood up and said, "You're not going to go away, are you?" I said, "No, not as long as I think I can be helpful." And that's when they started working with me. So if I earn the trust for myself, then they can easily transfer it into the community. We saw it over and over again. In Tulsa, we began to establish trust groups. The police department had so much trouble and once the community began to relate to the police department, the housing people began helping police rather than avoiding them and/or not being helpful. It became safer for the police and it became safer for the community. Once somebody who is a personal leader says, "We can trust the police," then the group begins to cooperate. But when that person says, "They're not trustworthy," there's nothing the police department, or me, or anybody else can do to convince that group. So the key is finding those people. Who are the personal leaders? Position leaders are essential for institutional change, but to get change in community, you've got to find the personal leaders, the people who are really respected and honored.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
How do you find somebody to call?

Answer:
I don't know, it's kind of like being a detective I guess. You check the paper and you call groups that you're aware of. Sometimes you call the newspaper and find out if they have any names. A lot of times, in the minority community, the church leadership will know somebody that's involved. So you just have to ask around the first six months or a year and after that, I've created this file of people in every community. So I may even call one community and say, "Do you know anyone in this community?" Usually they do. But you begin to have a network. Once you've established those trust relationships and those networks within a territory you can do something with a phone call because you've already established the trust, you've already coached them through some conflicts before. You really do multiply your efforts when you create those networks and alliances with trusting people. I began to have people from the establishment call me, and that was a real benchmark. The establishment people were saying, "I think we've really done some things here which might be a problem. We're not sure where to go with it, could you help us out?" You just create a network like you would with anything else.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Do they recognize that ahead of time?

Answer:
Yes. It takes some persuasion, but most people want to do the right thing. Sometimes it is hard to convince the community people of that, but I have frequently found that the administrators or chiefs feel sorry for themselves. They feel totally misunderstood. You know, "Poor me, nobody understands me. Those people clobber me in the media and so does everybody else. I'm not really getting a fair deal here." So I have found that just spending time listening and understanding what some of their problems are goes a long way towards developing some credibility with the institutional representative. Eventually, they begin to think, "You know, maybe this woman really can help me." So then they are willing to give it that chance. I am thinking of one case that involved a small, rural community. I spent a long time there talking with and mostly listening to the sheriff. I think that he was really surprised that a government official wasn't there to clobber him. He was really surprised that I understood him. I said, "You know, one of the things that I have learned in this work is that law enforcement personnel in some of these small rural communities face challenges that New York and Los Angeles and Denver never even think about. It's hard doing law enforcement here." He was astounded that I understood that. "Hey, here is somebody who understands what I'm up against!" One of their biggest frustrations is that they are not New York or Denver or Los Angeles, so what works in the big cities might not work for them, but most people don't understand that. I don't need to agree with him or what he is doing, but if I just have a sympathetic ear and recognize that I need to understand his perspective as well as the minority community's perspective then that's a big step in the right direction. The importance of really listening is sometimes underrated. Maybe I mentioned this before, but in one really major conflict I was involved in, I really wasn't sure how much of a difference I had made in the overall scheme of things. But one of the things I was told near the end of that case was, " Silke, you at least listened." Generally, people don't do that. I have heard that many times since. Even in cases where there really wasn't a whole lot I could do and it was hard to say where mediation might be useful, if a community actually felt listened-to and not just ignored, swept aside or totally disregarded, that has made a huge difference! That is part of what I try to get across to each of the parties. If, in fact, it might go toward mediation or some similar method of resolving some of those local tensions, I ask both sides to just listen to what the other is saying. "I am not asking you to agree, or cave in, but just hear what they are saying and what their concerns are. You might even have some solution for them that they didn't even think of. But first, just listen." It's amazing how important that is to people in conflict. Part of what intensifies the conflict and violence potential in many cases is that people think that they are not being heard. The reason they are shouting is because they think if they shout, someone will finally hear them. Of course, it doesn't work that way. But I think part of the reason for the volume is that they haven't felt listened-to, so they think, "Maybe if I get louder, they will actually hear me."




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Going in a very different direction now, let's talk a little bit about how you build trust with the people you are working with. One of the things that I am especially interested in is that you are a white woman.

Answer:
You noticed.

Question:
I did. But the people reading your interview won't know.

Answer:
Quick story: I belong to a church out in Montebello which is predominately African American; I am not the only white, but I am the exception rather than the rule. Anyway, our minister out there is African American as well, and he was preaching about race relations one Sunday the idea that color really doesn't matter, and how we ought to get along with everyone, and how inclusiveness is part of what we pride ourselves on in that church. And that's true. And he said, "You know, sometimes I forget that Silke is white," and I said, "Well, don't worry about it. Sometimes I forget, too." So it depends on the setting, it depends on who I'm talking to. Early on in some cases, I'll say, "Look, I understand that I am a white woman who used to live in New York. What do I know? So help me understand. What do I need to know to be able to work here? I don't try to pretend that I know what you are going through because I don't. Even if I do, I am not going to say that I know, because I recognize that I need to learn from you." And, most people appreciate talking to someone who doesn't think they have all of the answers. And again, I do a lot of listening. Time is no object. Those first few trips I schedule very few meetings, because I want people to have as much time as they need to tell me everything that they think I need to know. If they get angry, that is fine. If it takes a long time, that's fine. And if you want to beat up on the government, that is fine too. You know, I have broad shoulders I can take it. I also try to be very clear about what I can and can't do so that people don't have false expectations, and I think for the most part they appreciate that. "Now, here is what I can do and here is what I can't do." The other thing that I have found is that in many cases and particularly in some of these grassroots communities people just appreciate you returning their calls, not dismissing them, just acknowledging and validating their concerns. Even if I can't change the racism that prevails in a particular area, it doesn't take terribly long to have that common human denominator and get past the "Well you are white and I am not" or "You're Indian or you're black or your Hispanic or whatever, and I am not" phase.






Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

And there's tricks. Suppose you met with Heidi yesterday and I asked, "Hey, have you met with Heidi? How's she doing?" And then you'd say, "You know I haven't seen her for a couple of weeks," I wouldn't tell you that I know you're lying. I'd ask myself, why is she lying to me? Also, I would check to make sure you were with her. I may have already talked to her and I'm just innocently asking all these questions I already know the answers to.



Werner Petterson


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
And actually that's my next question, how important was it for you to gain the trust of the parties?

Answer:
Oh well, you know probably in almost all cases there's an outsider and you're always faced with that because in most cases people don't know you. At this particular time, and at any time over the history of CRS being a representative of the Justice Department, you were always suspect by somebody and it would depend on the community, depend on the times that would shift, who was particularly suspicious about who you were. The way that you overcome that is just by sitting down and talking with people and demonstrating to them you're committed, you're involved in helping them find a solution. You can be answering questions people have concerns about, if they have any, what they see as leniency on one side or the other. If you try to clear that up they will come to trust you, but it takes some work and preparation. I think over time as they see that you're there to be of help, there are no suspicions about where your commitments are. It's only over a period of time that as people get to know you, those sorts of suspicions get to be set aside.

Question:
What were some specific trust- building strategies or activities that you used when either race, ethnicity, gender, or CRS affiliation was an issue?

Answer:
I would find someone from whatever the community it might be and in this particular situation it was in the black and the white community. I knew that if I would involve the community in this process it would be helpful to have people within the community who knew me, to introduce me to people and become a bridge and to be a patron of what was happening. And in that particular case there was a prominent State Legislator that I had known for many years and he was well loved in the community and became my bridge into that community. There were parts of the community that I needed to have some access to. It was also true on the other side that we were going to want the business community leaders in particular cities to be committed because in this particular city nothing happened unless a "blue book business" leader was being alarmed. So again, it was through someone I had met in the city, in another case, that became the bridge into that organization where I could go over there and speak and talk about what I was trying to do. I could win their support that if we could reach an agreement it was going to be something the business community was going to support.

Question:
In this particular case, this wasn't a community that you lived in. How did you cultivate those networks of people that you could call?

Answer:
I had other cases in this community before so I knew individuals here and there, and that's one of the real things. In that case it was a blessing because so many times you may go into a city and you have no context at all. That really makes it even more difficult.

Question:
In those instances where you don't have any networks or any people to intervene for you how do you build networks, or find them? How do you identify the resources?

Answer:
Well, I think mediation is a lot of work. I think you have to be willing to just talk to a lot of people and as you do, you're not only introducing yourself to people in the community, but you're receiving information that might help find a solution. And so it's just a lot of work and talking to people. I think by helping parts of the community become involved in finding solutions, sometimes what CRS has done is understanding the problem. For some reason the parties never seem to come together, or when they do come together it never goes anywhere and CRS, when it works well, helps things come together and if you can do that, then that in itself gives you a new standing and gives you a credibility that you are able to do something. You were able to bring talks together and just by being able to do that, it adds something to your name. Then you have to continue and show the parties that you're committed to helping them find a solution.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Can we explore this trust issue a bit more? How significant would you say that trust was in this case--how did that affect your work?

Answer:
It must have been good, I'll tell you, since the chief accepted the assessment quickly, and he did then implement the assessment. I think there was only one item, and I don't remember what it was, but there was only one item he didn't quite go along with. All the rest he did. The community then, because of this trust and everything, got beyond it too. Not only did el Comite go beyond the incident, but they even went into political arena. One of their members ran for city council and won. So they got a city councilman in there and he was a very astute individual. Whether they still have a city councilman or more than one, I don't know. Then the group remained as el Comite and to my knowledge, it may still be in existence, but it remained for a long time, anyway, and they got into employment issues and education issues and well as keeping their eye on police issues. I guess I could say the trust must have been there because they developed into a good committee that was very helpful to the community.




Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Not only that. I had another way, too. I was from the Department of Justice. Quite often you got two things. Blacks trusted the Community Relations Service more than they do the Department of Justice. But the weighted thing with whites is the Department of Justice. I think you can understand that. Even with the mayor and the chief of police, the Department of Justice carried much more weight. The Native Americans used to say, "The white man speaks with forked tongue." Well, I spoke with forked tongue. If I was in one place where it was more important that I be a field rep with Community Relations, that's all I say: "I'm with Community Relations." But when I was down at city hall, "I'm with Justice". That's the way I carried myself. Then you'd go between people. "I'm CRS." I was sort of responsible for initiating the whole idea of demonstrations. Marshaling themselves and controlling their people. At first it was just a group of people out there, but they got very sophisticated with that.




Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
No you don't reiterate anything verbally. What you do is show what you do. You don't get up there and talk to people about what you're about. They'll find out what you're about. You see what I mean? They're not interested in hearing you talk about yourself; they want to see what you do. So when she found out what I could do and would do and how I did it, I was her boyfriend. I don't mean literally so, but it was a situation where I wasn't going to let her down. Nor was I working for her and she knew that. She knew that I wasn't working for her, but she also knew that I wasn't going to lie to them about whatever occurred in a situation. That's how you build trust. No matter what you do in some instances, some situations, you're not going to be trusted. There's always an element of that when you're coming from the Justice Department. People are leery of government officials and Justice Department people. They've had enough experience of getting busted over the head by somebody from the established order.

Answer:
What did you do when you weren't trusted by the communities that you were involved in?

Question:
You did your job, you just went about doing your job. You didn't get crippled because somebody didn't trust you. You didn't become paralyzed because you weren't trusted. You just had to go along and do what you had to do. If they didn't trust you, then you had to resolve to let the chips fall where they may. You try not to have that happen. See, because if you are trying too hard to prove that you are trustworthy, then you're not trustworthy. People have to take you at face value and trust you, or you have to show that you're not intimidated by them not trusting you. They have a right to not trust you, if you think of all the experiences they've had in the past. So in working through this case, I began to develop a relationship with the police chief, so I could bring the Indian leaders and the police chief together. We sat down to have this key discussion. In this case one of the two powerful men in town was the police chief. The other was the city manager. The police chief was a "lifer", known by everybody in town. So you identified quickly that he served two purposes. He was part of the legitimate power structure, and he was a power broker. So you knew that because of his lifetime there and the fact that he was police chief, he could get people to do many, many things. It took weeks, months, to establish a relationship, because I was going in and out of the city, as well as handling other assignments. The timing was everything as to when you went to a particular town, a particular community. Key things would come up, sometimes a meeting with the governor or a meeting of all the Indians or a meeting with AIM representatives. The key is constantly working on developing a relationship -- developing trust levels. Some people are not interested in trust levels because they go by authority. If you go in and say you're in the Justice Department and that you're an authority figure, you're not going to get anywhere. Most people resist that, especially so-called militant minorities. They've been stepped-on so much it's incredible; they don't want to hear that, so you have to work on it.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

We found that the prison residents wanted more then anything else, to get out of the box, and this election would give them the chance to get out of their cells. Also, they want to confront "the man." They were going to sit across the table. They were going to elect their representatives, they were going to caucus, set up agendas. They all finally came together when we had everything set. They had the elections, paper ballots, the whole bit. It worked. The place was just running like a top at this point. There was a high level of anticipation and then the group started working on their agendas.



Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The other thing thatís perhaps more relevant is how you gain trust. People often donít know who you are when youíre with CRS, so thereís always a question of credibility. I told you that as the American Indian Movement approached Wounded Knee, the BIA building had armed guards with machine guns and heavy equipment sitting around on top of the roof of the BIA building to prevent another takeover. Well, Terronez had been with the AIM group coming toward Pine Ridge. He went ahead and he talked to a U. S. Marshall. He said, "This is overkill. You guys have all this equipment here. Youíve got a few people down there. Youíve got 150 people maybe, theyíre carrying sticks and bats, a few firearms maybe, but thereís no weaponry out there.Ē And that was his plea to ease tensions and prevent a catastrophe from occurring. Itís an appropriate role. The way that I found out about that was when the entire Marshalsí logs were entered into the Wounded Knee trials. One marshal wrote, saying that "agentĒ Terronez of the Community Relations Service informed us that there are approximately 150 to 200 marchers armed with sticks and bats and a few might have firearms. It was out of context so that anybody reading it might assume that Terronez was an informer. Iím sure it wasnít intended to capsize us or anything, but thatís the risk you take in this work.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The media always wants us to investigate, and no matter how often you tell them, "We aren't investigating,Ē it shows up in the headlines that Justice is there to investigate. You have to respond immediately back to the institution or the minorities, or whoever is involved and say, "I know that's happened and I'm sorry. There is nothing I can do about it, but this is what I told them and this is still the reality." I guess the other part of that is learning not ever to become defensive. If someone challenged me on something, then I try to respond to that in terms of if they believed that was the way I was acting, then I would respond to that and make changes. That was part of the dance, or knowing where the parties were, and were they ready to move on to the next step? Were they ready to sit down at the table and begin to negotiate, or did they still need to vent more? Did they still need to say that the administration was useless, or that the students just wanted their way, or were they prepared now to sit down and talk?



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Is that how you gauged how much trust they had in you and the process, by when they were ready to sit down and move forward?

Answer:
Yeah, because there was no reason for them to come to the table if they didn't trust me. Coming to the table could be dangerous for them. You've got students sitting there with the faculty and the administration, who have complete power over them. You've got administrators sitting over there with somebody from the Justice Department. They always felt like there was this potential for investigation, no matter how many times we told them, it still had its own power. If they agreed to come to the table, it generally meant they trusted that I was going to be able to protect their interest within that context. For example, not let the students just chew up and spit out the administration without any real benefit to that. Or allow the administration to just dump on the students. But that there was going to be some mutual respect and dialogue going on, and certainly there would be some venting going on, but it would be within the context of, "How do you feel about that?" "What was your response to that?" ...and not assassinating people or ticking individuals off. If they trusted me with that, then they would come to the table.

Question:
How were you able to get them to trust each other?

Answer:
They had to trust through me. That's why I say trust is the only commodity you have. And you were the one that would have to build that trust between the parties. My experience and the experience of others at the table, was that it took the President of the fraternity about four months of meeting, before he really understood what he had done, and he was horrified. And if we had never done that he would have never known and he'd have never been horrified. And that to me is the beauty of what we did. Ninety percent of the people in this country are good people, a bunch of them don't understand what kinds of horrible things are happening. And they never have the kinds of experiences with different ethnic groups to really engage with that, and feel that, and know what that means and the pain that's involved in it. He became the champion of change in the whole fraternal system. In terms of their policies and their approaches and what was going to happen in the future. So we had to hold out to get the group to agree to let him be on the team, and they eventually did. But the only reason they allowed us to go ahead with it, was they trusted me at that point. It was the right thing to have that guy there. They saw the healing occur, in front of their eyes, and it also helped the minority groups have a different sense of what was going on in the fraternity's mind. So as much as a document that came out of it, it was what happened around that table where they began to trust each other.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you always know all of the parties before you went down?

Answer:
Yes, if at all possible. You might not be able to get in touch with everybody, but the goal would be to get in touch with all of them before you got there. Whoever I talked to first, I would tell them that I'm going to be talking to the other party today. "Before I leave, I'll be talking to these people. Is there anyone else you think I should talk to?" That did two things. First, it broadened the network for talking to people, it began to identify some of those leaders. Second, it began to establish the trust that I was in fact going to talk to the mayor, the police chief, LULAC, or this person who's in charge of the demonstration. Everybody knew I wasn't trying to hide anything. Usually the next person is the chief of police who will say, "Why did you talk to them before you came to talk to me?" I would tell him I made the appointment with them first and I didn't try to go into that anymore. I knew there was always that feeling of, "Who did you talk to first?" One would always say, "They're just trying to con you." So I just say, "Everyone's trying to con me. It's part of the deal. Everybody tells the story from their perspective." I understand that it's part of the dance. "I understand that's a concern of yours." I'm trying to minimize any impact it has in a negative way. "I think we can be helpful."






Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you ever keep on working on a case when a key party was not willing to work with you?

Answer:
No. I may continue in a different direction. One whole group may decide they may not want to participate, and you can't really address the problem systemically without them. But you can still coach or guide the other group through either helping them move toward a referral, or helping them develop a strategy to respond. For integrity's sake, I would tell the other group, "I understand that you don't want to participate, but I am going to continue doing this." I wouldn't do it behind their backs.

Question:
Does that bring people around sometimes?

Answer:
Sometimes. Sometimes they'd see what the wanted outcome was, that it wasn't an attempt to undermine the whole structure of the institution or destroy the city. Everybody had these huge fears about what was going to happen. When they realize that something good can come out of it, or at least nothing bad is going to happen and they're not going to end up on the front page of the newspaper, they'll sometimes change their mind.






Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Once you started talking with the parties who were involved, did you find anyone within the community group who was sort of skeptical of your role? You mentioned that you expected the print media, or part of the media to be a little tentative of your intervention, but did you find anyone in the community group also?

Answer:
Oh yes. Initially it was at best lukewarm. They didn't know who I was. Actually I was hanging, if you will, on the reputation of the two conciliators who had been here for some time. They gave me some credibility as a so-called "expert."




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Tell me about the role of trust in this case. How important was it? And how did you try to build trust with the reluctant party?

Answer:
I suspect that with this one initially reluctant individual, there was never one hundred percent trust. I would like to think maybe there was seventy-five percent. I would guess that he decided there was some value in spending his time this way; it was almost more a matter of confidence than of trusting. He began to feel maybe it was worth doing, and I think others in the community felt -- more than he did -- that it was worth doing. I don't think he ever got enthusiastic about the process.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Were there any parties for which you had to work extra hard to gain their trust? Parties that didn't want you to be there, and you had to really show them something above and beyond?

Answer:
I don't recall specifically, but the property owners would probably be the more tenuous relationship. They would have been more suspicious than the others, but I don't know. Again, I think that consistency is key and I try to let everybody know what I'm doing.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did any of the parties ask you to do something that you were not able to do?

Answer:
I don't recall offhand. If they wanted me to meet with them, I made sure the other side knew I was meeting with them. I offered to meet with them if they wanted to, that sort of thing. I don't recall anything that I couldn't do, I tried to accommodate their needs as much as possible. It's a part of building trust over a number of meetings, when they would realize that I was communicating what I was doing with the other side. That's part of the trust building process.




Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What was the role of trust in this particular case? Was that important?

Answer:
Yeah the fact that it was taking place here in Atlanta and the fact that CRS in this office has a good working relationship with the city, county, county sheriffs throughout the state, county police, and state patrol. That history had a lot to do with allowing us to enter. Because the key actors in terms of law enforcement were the City of Atlanta and Georgia Bureau or Investigations (GBI) and Atlanta State Patrol. Those were probably the three local power makers.

Question:
Ok.

Answer:
So we already had working relationships because of other casework with them and that trust level was already there on both sides. Generally speaking, if you have a respected law enforcement person who speaks up for you that takes care of about 80% of that trust with all the others because if he buys then everyone else agrees it's okay. We had very good rapport with all the law enforcement agencies, even at the federal level.

Question:
So you didn't have to do anything to build or sustain any type of trust because it already existed on a high level?

Answer:
Yeah.




Julian Klugman


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Just talking, telling her what I was going to do, and who I was, where I was coming from and she just decided to take a chance.

Question:
Did it happen in one sitting?

Answer:
Yeah, we spent about two hours together and we talked and I didn't violate her trust, and I briefed her. She got briefed on everything.




Julian Klugman


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
Oh, of course. First the Indians had to trust me, and I had to trust them.

Question:
So what did you do to try to get them to trust you?

Answer:
You start by asking questions. "You can't bring up everything. In what order do you want to bring this up? What are you willing to settle for? What is the bottom line position? How do you want to present this stuff? Who will be your spokesman?" That wasn't easy because it turned out to be the woman and her son. There wasn't a lot of leadership in the Indian community. "You don't want five people talking, so who is going to be the spokesperson?" The woman chose to be the spokesperson. You've got to defer to her. Let's go through the ground rules on mediation. Then I had further complications. I had people there from the outside. The U.S. Attorney, a very liberal guy, had hired a young Indian woman who was the first female Indian person to get a law degree in Oregon. She was there. I had an Indian guy from the state who was part of the Alcohol Control Commission of the state. He was an Indian official with the state. He wanted a piece of the action.

Question:
And you decided that, you didn't leave that up to them?

Answer:
Well, it was both. Remember I was supposed to know everything there was to know about mediation. No, there has to be only one spokesman. If you want to advise, you can't do it openly. I said, " I'll call a recess if you want, then you can caucus with the Indian group. If they want you in their caucus you can advise them, but you can't interfere with the mediation process.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
You have referred a couple of times now to "the danceĒ. You've had a really nice description of mediation as a dance that you're now referring to but haven't put on tape. Do you remember how you put it before, can you tell us again?

Answer:
I came up with the imagery in the middle of a mediation one time, sitting around a table. Because of the dynamics of what was going on, I realized that I was kind of having to move back and forth with the parties with where they were with their anger and frustration, with the establishment's sense of indignation, and trying to move with them and keep them moving toward the goal that I had. That goal was for them to begin to talk to each other. I realized that when mediation and conflict resolution is really working well, the mediator can go in with the skills he or she has, but listen to the parties and move with them on their level of info, frustration, indignation, whatever that is, empathizing with and understanding them, whatever their mood or tune, or dance is at that time. If you're not willing to dance with them, they're not going to trust you. They'll play my tune later if I've danced with them. But if I haven't been willing to dance with them they're not willing to play my tune, they're not going to go with me, when I want to take them somewhere. I think that kind of movement is what captures me when I'm thinking about mediation. It's exciting. You go in, and some people are just doing the tango and you've gotta go with that. You're trying to get them to some harmony, maybe a waltz. I don't know music that well, which is kind of interesting that I use that imagery, but it just fits so well for me. When I teach mediation, I use that imagery with new students, you have to be willing to understand where the parties are. Think about it in terms of being willing to dance with them. You may not enjoy the rumba, but if that's where they are, you're going to have to start there and then move with them and get them to where they trust you enough to take the rhythm that you've got going for the mediation.













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