Did you provide technical assistance to the parties? Can you give some examples?


Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Changing gears completely again, we’ve talked on and off about giving technical assistance to parties. You’ve talked quite a bit about what you would do with the minority parties, but did you bring technical assistance for the majority parties, the authority figures?

Answer:
There was less of a need, but yes, we would put them in touch with counterparts and other communities who had experienced the same things. Sometimes you would do that for your own credibility, but sometimes they would have useful advice for their colleagues. Sometimes you would provide a police chief with firearms policies from other cities, sometimes you would bring a consultant to a police department from another city’s police department. That was very popular. I mentioned that I did that at the Minnesota reformatory. I brought in a corrections commissioner from another state. Sometimes we provide training for either party. You’d work with police or you’d help people put training programs together that would bring the minority community into the training process with police.

Question:
And what about technical assistance for the minority community?

Answer:
Sometimes it was advice based on your experience elsewhere, sometimes it was paper based on things they could be doing or things other communities generated elsewhere. Sometimes it was people, bring in a consultant to work with them. Sometimes it was putting them in touch with people from other communities. That was typically what the technical assistance was comprised of. And sometimes training. I guess you could call the types of things you just do in your day-to-day work technical assistance, even though it wouldn’t be labeled that. It’s helping them sort out their organizational matters when you’ve developed a relationship that enables you to do that.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I'd met with some of them individually. So what they decided was, they wanted, it was kind of interesting because the principal said he wanted to value the multicultural group, which was headed by an African-American student, and their choices and their decision. The decision that they made was, they wanted to hand out this flier during lunch and then they wanted to get the flier back and then evaluate where students are and what the thinking was, about the climate of their school. They did that and of course during lunch, they didn't get any back. The principal tried to convince the organization that that might happen, but they felt they wanted it to be free and natural and of choice, not something that was required. But I recommended that we go out and do that survey again but in specific classes because that survey would be important. We would get a real ground-level analysis of the tension level within that school. The survey would be very helpful, so why not do it? But he said he didn't want to violate the trust of the organization. And I said, "Let's change it around and say we tried it your way, but it's a great survey and we really need to get the reading, so could I put it in the English classrooms, and get a reading?" And it appealed to them. They were able to do it. So what we're doing now is we're doing this survey, and the data of the survey will be used to make a determination as to what our next steps will be. If we see any level of tension, or anxieties of any students, then we can properly figure out what resolution would best take place. The other thing that I thought it was good that he asked was, "Could we teach peer mediation to the students?" So, we said, "Okay." That's a given. We can do that. We'll probably do that at a minimum at the school, if not more, depending on what's in the analysis.





Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Answer:
The CRS's person's role was technical assistance. A lot of what we did was considered technical assistance. We would help them know what resources they needed, what equipment they needed, who needed to be there, and how to get information back into the community. A lot of times the media wasn't the best way to get the information back to the community. If you're going to create a curfew in a community, you need to work with the community leadership to do that so you don't create another problem. Those kinds of things were considered technical assistance and we were coaching and teaching and giving resource information about what you need to make that happen.

Question:
How did you decide that was the appropriate response as opposed to a more intensive conciliation or mediation?

Answer:
If technical assistance resulted in a remedy for the parties, then that drove it. Sometimes it didn't, like the community where I ended up with five different groups and five different issues. Certainly technical assistance is the beginning. Everything you're doing is basically technical assistance. If it were an outside term, it would be a consultant to the group. But then you move on toward developing a remedy that has systemic long term benefit.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The biracial parent council we formed in South Boston did do that. That was one of the most remarkable groups of people that I have ever met. I remember the day we formed that group. The basic strategy of South Boston was, "Don't do anything that the court orders you to do." A lot of parents weren't even sending their kids to school because they were ordered to go. When the court ordered the formation of biracial parent councils, it was up to me to try to make this happen. We had a meeting, and the auditorium was packed with parents who wanted to make sure that no one would cooperate with this. So here I was, with my little briefcase, in front of an audience of a thousand, talking about the value of forming biracial parent councils. We did not have an election that night. Somehow I guess I had done enough talking and the right talking that it eventually worked. We asked people to please let me know if they would be willing to participate in something like that. And we got about half a dozen or so parents who contacted me afterwards. One of the them told me afterwards that he came because he knew that "the Justice Department" would be there, so he figured there wouldn't be any problems. When he realized that "the Justice Department" was this one lady walking in with a little briefcase, he was really upset. "What do they mean the Justice Department was going to be here what the hell is she gonna do?" he asked himself.





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you ever give the low-power groups technical assistance? I know you said that you helped kids or inmates learn how to negotiate. Did you do anything else to help them frame their interests or their concerns, or otherwise help them present their case in a more effective way?

Answer:
We did that with students at a later time. But it was more helping them to do the mediation themselves.

Question:
Peer mediation?

Answer:
Yeah, peer mediation. But I didn't get into that much. With inmates, the only time that I would sit down and talk to them was when we were actually doing mediation where we felt that we had to discuss with them what it was that was about to take place, because more than likely they didn't know.




Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Let me switch gears for just a minute and ask if you ever provided technical assistance or trained the parties?

Answer:
All of the time.

Question:
What kind?

Answer:
We provided technical assistance to law enforcement, to teachers, and similar groups. It's generally very basic conflict resolution methods.

Question:
So you did that independent of cases. You just trained minorities and tried to make them mediators?

Answer:
Typically, when groups had state conferences, or national conferences, we would provide that mediation training. Or, someone would know about our training and come and make the request.

Question:
With what sort of organizations?

Answer:
Again, minority organizations. The Urban League, NAACP, LULAC, GI Forum, to name a few.

Question:
So you'd actually go to the national conference and provide dispute resolution?

Answer:
Yes.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Can you think of other kinds of technical assistance that you might have provided to the non-black parties?

Answer:
Yes, with the sheriff. He realized that training for his officers is extremely important. So he started instituting a whole new training program for the Sheriff's Department and the Board of Education, to get them to realize that the responsibility of recruiting minority teachers wasn't mine, or the blacks'; it was their job. Not to put that burden or that requirement on us, or by saying, "You find them, we'll hire them." No, you're the Board of Education and you have the money and you can find qualified black teachers. To the white bankers, for instance, I would say, "There you have X number of dollars coming in on deposit from the school system or the health department, and all these tax monies coming in and you don't have any black tellers or anything else. You need to start having some black tellers." I went to the merchants and told them that they needed to start having black employees in the supermarket. Not in a demanding way, just showing them how unfair it was for them to continue to have all these positions available and no minorities working in these positions. The first thing they say is, "Well, we don't have any that're qualified." Well, how many whites do you have that were not qualified but they were trained? So a lot of good things have happened in Washington and Wolford county.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
It sounds like you've taken the position that you're going to support them in establishing their community.

Answer:
Oh yes, because they're right in what they're doing. They are right, they have every right to building permits. There were no building codes until they became interested in building that village. And all of a sudden, the establishment came up with all these building permits, and a code of ordinances and so forth. So do you know what I'm going to do? I've already thought about it. Shady Dale, which is a place about as big as this room, is an incorporated community. Cornelia presently has 5 times more people in their village than Shady Dale does. So, as soon as they get the surveying done and all the other things, I'm going to have them become a separate independent community and have them incorporated where they have their own government. I'm going to suggest that to them. They can have their own city council, their own commissioner. They will probably have a few thousand people there in a few years. Right up the street from where they are located, the woman who designs all of Tony Morris's clothing lives there, and she's building a bed-and-breakfast place. A beautiful place, it's a thriving community. These people have money and they have a lot of talent.




Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Does this mean you drafted the letter?

Answer:
I did some drafting, yes. This goes back to the question of how the parties are trusting you-- whether one side or the other is going to suspect you of taking sides. My moral, professional take on that is - and I'm perfectly willing to say this to both sides - I am assisting in some ways to make the process we've all discussed and agreed on possible to get to some kind of resolution.

Question:
Did you give any assistance beyond drafting agreements and just helping them understand the process?

Answer:
When we got into the actual mediation process, the first joint meeting was with either five or six members of each team. I had attempted to assist particularly the tribal folks but I went over the same thing with the town folks, the elements of negotiation and what's involved. You're trying to reach these other folks, you're trying to persuade them. Of course I'd gone over all that stuff with both sides. But I think it's fair to say that the tribal folks had had almost no experience in negotiation and needed more help in that regard. When we got into the first joint session that evening, I was chairing the session, and the agenda involved the demands that the tribal group put forth and the concerns that the town had. But it was hard to get anything moving.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you offer any type of training to various parties that were involved in conflict?

Answer:
Well, I would talk about mediation and explain the guidelines. I might also expound on how they might comply with these or fulfill these, or react to these in the mediation. But I know that for some mediators before mediation starts they'll have training sessions with one of the other parties on how to negotiate, and I've never done that. I felt like it could be difficult to my image of impartiality. I would always try to do the same thing to both sides, and let each of them know that I was doing this. We have had cases that would eventually be taken through a process where you ended up in a training session, but that's a little bit different from what you were asking.

Question:
We talked yesterday about the training that was given to police officers. How did that come about?

Answer:
Well, we arranged for that. You didn't ask this question but I'll answer it anyway. When you have a minority group that has limited resources and had problems with, for example an institution that has a lot of resources. When you get down to the point of fashioning an agreement, the last thing you want is for one side (it's usually the institution) to commit itself to doing all the things and the other party not committing itself to doing anything. So when you have this situation where your minority resources are limited it taxes the brains of everybody when they're trying to fashion an agreement and think in terms of each other. What can we work out that would help you, where you could help us do these things. Cross-cultural training was an area that seemed to fit into this, so that you know that is one area. Another one was the idea of promotion of careers in say, the criminal justice area. The minority community might be alienated especially by the conflict they are dealing with and would not entertain such thoughts. But if you have leadership that are urging people to get into this area and we will help you fill out an application for employment or maybe they could generate a scholarship or that sort of thing, it's a way of trying to balance the commitments.

Question:
I just realized when you spoke with us before I was misinterpreting the term promotion, I was thinking about moving up in rank.

Answer:
That too, well in the area of affirmative action. I was referring to both the recruiting and promotions of the existing officers so they have a model they can see that it's that there is a future. It's important for them to be able to see this.

Question:
But the other sense of the word was that the minority community would try to get people to come into police work.

Answer:
Promote careers in that professional vocational area.

Question:
When you provided typical assistance to one group did you always inform the other group that you were providing technical assistance to the other group?

Answer:
Yes, I tried to be open and equal in how I would treat each of the parties. I don't remember any obvious instances where I either did this unintentionally or was accused of that sort of thing.




Wallace Warfield


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Right. How much do you involve the parties in designing the process?

Answer:
Well it depends. CRS’s broad conciliation work really falls into technical assistance; CRS had a huge technical assistance capacity. So when CRS was doing long-range kinds of trainings with police departments and citizens, or they would be doing work in.... I think one of the interventions that I was most proud of was the intervention we did in Syracuse, New York, to assist the school desegregation process. That was just a terrific and wonderful piece because it involved so many different parts of the agency. It was a conciliation effort, it was technical assistance resource, it was problem-solving workshops, there was on-the-spot dispute settlement taking place, and it was televised, with part of it done on public television. One of them was just before I came down to Washington. It was about ‘76 or ‘77, and it was a terrific case.....what was my point? My point was that in the process of doing that, we actually had a committee formed in the community composed of residents and educators who actually formed a kind of advisory team, as I recall, that we worked with throughout this process. And there were a lot of CRS cases, particularly the ones from the ‘70s, that had that kind of flavor. Silke did a lot of work like that I recall.

Question:
This is the first time I've ever heard anybody talk about problem-solving workshops. It might be because even though other people did it, they didn't use the same term. Tell me how that changed things and how it was carried on.

Answer:
Well, I think that in the case of Syracuse, there was a series of them, this was an initiative that lasted over a period of several months. Much of it was planning, and then there was a week or two of specific sessions, of all the different types, and one of them was working with educators around specific issues involved in going from a so-called segregated school system to a desegregated one that involved pupil transfers, curriculum development work, school climate analysis.....we did a force-field analysis with them there.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

We were mostly looking for what was creating tensions in the building, looking at what kind of training we could do for staff in the school on such things as dealing with a diverse student body. Since integration had just started, they hadn't had to deal with diversity before, so they needed to do some contingency planning. They needed to consider what was the relationship between say, the school and the police. We also talked with staff and students about their concerns within the building regarding diversity issues. We tried to develop ways of responding to the concerns and resolving some of those problems that would diffuse tension and create a healthy educational setting.





Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you provide technical assistance to any of the parties?

Answer:
Oh yes.

Question:
Can you talk a little bit about that?

Answer:
Well not directly. Through the North Carolina Human Relations Commission, because North Carolina has a statewide Human Relations Commission with the commissioner in Raleigh. With their assistance, we were able to get into the communities and assist them. Then, luckily, North Carolina has a number of major learning institutions like Fayetteville State, North Carolina State, Bennett A and T, and all these institutions. You're able to identify people who are quite resourceful and very knowledgeable. Then you always had HUD that could provide some financing. You had reconstruction -- what was it -- RF reconstruction financing? Whatever. The banks are required to spend X number of dollars for the purpose of helping minority development. Then there was the Department of Agriculture. But the thing is that the blacks in that area of North Carolina start coming together county-by-county over multi-county areas, pooling together their resources and they have grown stronger and stronger. Now you have a number of black principals that are gathering in that area. You have black businesses that are thriving, you have one black minister in Washington now. He's done so many things. He has a computer program for children, he has a senior citizens home, he even has houses for victims of AIDS. So it's really come as a total community involvement spreading over several counties.




Ernest Jones


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you provide any technical assistance to the parties involved in the police officer case? How did you help the parties strengthen their own capacity in how they dealt with the conflict?

Answer:
No I don't think we did anything along those lines. We're talking about the Louisville thing right?

Question:
Yes. No consultants, no referrals.

Answer:
No, I don't use consultants.

Question:
As a rule?

Answer:
I've never used a consultant.

Question:
Can you elaborate on that? You must have a reason why.

Answer:
Nope, just never have. I've never seen the need for one. I probably haven't known anybody that I would feel comfortable enough to say here's the person that's going to answer your question and you know I'm going to pay to bring him in and help you. See I know there are other people at CRS that like to do that all the time. I mean this is pure speculation on my part, but I'm not convinced at all that they can demonstrate that that made a difference; that bringing in that consultant did anything other than just throw in another point of view. If you have got to bring someone in as a consultant, then I think that person is going to come in and solve the problem. I don't know many people that can go in and solve the types of problems that we deal with.

Question:
When I think of it in terms of consulting, I think of it in ways that you just described but I also think maybe there was a case that you were involved with that you didn't have that much experience or background information on and so you consulted an outside resource to further develop your knowledge about the situation or you told one party that this is somebody that could help you.

Answer:
I mean I have made suggestions like I've told school systems to get in touch with their organization because they're a good source of information but that's not a consultant that's just making people aware of where some resources are.

Question:
That's a type of technical assistance.

Answer:
I know that's technical assistance. I've done that and I've put people in touch with the police department or a chief of police that I know has a particular program that I think might be applicable or that kind of thing.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
When they understood how their behavior was influencing the wrong kind of population, were they willing to change?

Answer:
Yes. Through education and law enforcement. Because law enforcement was ticketing them and costing them thousands of dollars in fines, and confiscating whole boatloads of shrimp that were caught illegally. In this community the Klan had announced a huge rally, and we helped the community get together to have their own rally so that they would be protected and not get retaliated on. We had spokespeople for the business community, the clergy, the educators and other sectors. When we had the community rally there was a lot of protection, we had plainclothes police officers and uniformed police officers. It filled the school auditorium and the Klan was there with their sympathizers. After the dialogue, discussion, and presentations, the city council voted to pass a resolution. It got coverage, and the citizens took the town back. I just helped the community to use all of its elements.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did the main group or the majority group make any concessions at all? It sounds as if the Vietnamese minority community adapted to make adjustments to accommodate the nine hundred other.

Answer:
We wanted to buy time that the Vietnamese would get to know how to do business and how to live in Texas. The American way let's say. And the locals would get used to the Vietnamese being amongst them. You go there now, the honor students in the schools were all Vietnamese. They were getting all the awards and getting scholarships so I think it was a matter of both sides understanding each other through that period. And we were the catalyst to make it happen and help the community realize what it was facing, and what they could do about it. They decided what they needed to do and they did it. We just kind of helped them along the way.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So in situations where they need coordination with police we set those meetings up and the police can provide security. Just like police provide security for everybody else. They cannot be excluded and that's helpful to them. I remember it's ironic, but they had issues back in '80, '81. We had set up an understanding between them and the Vietnamese fishermen and it kind of wasn't going the way it was planned. I had to come up with plan B which was I'll asked the leader of the Vietnamese shrimpers and the Grand Dragon if they wanted to meet one on one. With just me present and my colleague I had at the time. Each side said, "Yeah, we're not afraid of them." So I said, "Let's meet." We met in my hotel room. During the meeting the Dragon asked that I not take any notes. The Vietnamese brought two or three of his people but they stayed in the lobby and the Grand Dragon had somebody calling him like every fifteen minutes. But I did take notes.



Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

It does bring us back to strength and capacity issue. Did you find, let's say in the Memphis situation that you were able to do technical assistance for both sides, or many of the parties?

Answer:
You raise another important part of mediation. Technical assistance. Coming out of Memphis, we had Lee Brown, who was a consultant for us, and a gentleman from the University of New York in Buffalo, come to Memphis to do a finding on the relationship between the black community and the police. Their job was to document exactly what occurs and what happens to complaints -- when they were made, everything that followed. Then I took that report, and conducted a two-day symposium on the findings of the report and what needed to be done.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Q - Did you ever stay involved in any of the structures that were created after the settlement? A - No. And I don't know how that could ever be appropriate. Again, because it's their deal. They may call for consultation, they may call for some coaching, and I would do that, but it would be technical assistance, it wouldn't be anything beyond coaching.






Copyright © 2000-2007
by Conflict Management Initiatives and the Conflict Information Consortium at the University of Colorado