Did you provide training for the parties? What types of training? Who did it?


Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Tell me a little bit about this human relations training that was done with the community.

Answer:
Okay. It would start off -- and this is the Native American group -- it would start off with them presenting a historical account of that particular Native American group and their concerns. They would really deal with all of the harshness that they've been treated with all of these years from the United States Army that came through there, from the state militia that came through there. Then, of course, when law enforcement was the sole group that enforced the law, they had to endure abuse from them as well. It's a fact that the US Army and the state militia did treat these people not only harshly, but criminally back in the old days. It was a fact that the sheriff's department had treated them criminally, though no one had ever really been taken to court and found guilty for this kind of activity. They have a distinct distrust of the US Army, even though they've been heroes in the army. The state militia no longer exists because of what happened to them. So that was part of the training. The other part was helping the deputies understand some of the cultural traits that present themselves during a confrontation with them. One of them, of course, was, "The reason that we get very defensive is because of all of the things that I have spoken to you about regarding the way we've been treated. We hope that you understand that when you come up to us, and you tell us to roll down the window, and you come on with your voice of command, saying, 'Open the window; let's see your license,' that we are going to respond in kind. There are better ways of approaching us because we're not going to hurt you." They say, "Obviously, we understand that you have to use caution, and you have to be concerned when you approach an automobile," because most of the stops made up there are dealing with drunk driving, and you're going to have to be careful. "But at some point you have to understand that we're not going to do anything to you, and that therefore you ought to be able to treat us better." They also sat their deputies down amongst themselves, because maybe in the training there would be three people. They would sit them amongst themselves and have them discuss some ideas about how things could be improved, and these folks would go around the table, sitting down with them and exchanging ideas about whatever it was that they were discussing at that table. Then in the end, there would be a bringing together of everything that they had talked about.




Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did this training that you were talking about have any significant effect? Were you able to see any changes in behavior in the deputies that went through it?

Answer:
Not so much that. {Angel Alderete) Where it had some effect -- and it wasn't great, but it had some effect -- was the sheriff saying, "I'm going to meet with these folks." So he gave them an equal footing with the white business people. He was readily meeting with white business people. But since the African Americans and the other minority groups didn't have those kinds of capabilities, it was good for them to be able to sit down and talk to the sheriff. And you saw the deputies, as soon as they saw the boss sit down and talk with people that had been complaining against them, they pulled back a little bit. I doubt the training had any significant impact.




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.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
You mentioned coaching. Did you coach everybody together, or did you coach some groups individually?

Answer:
In the initial contacts, part of that would occur with the individual groups, talking to them about what's going to happen. Certainly you have some rage, certainly you have some interest in sharing that feeling that you have. But what is it going to get you? You need to be very clear about what your concerns are and they need to be definable. They need to be stated in a way that they can be resolved. Saying you're angry at the administration because they're not responding to you, doesn't tell the administration anything and there's nothing they can do to respond to that. So coaching them to really clarify what their concern is. That's definable, something you can respond to. Not being treated fairly in student government is a valid concern, but what does that mean? You can't be elected because it's always at large, so you can't have representation at student government, that's specific. So I coached them in being prepared to sit at the table. I think that's always a big part of it. Not diminishing someone, is making sure they are prepared for what's going to happen. If you put somebody there and they're not ready, then they feel like they've been put down by the other parties that can talk more easily. The other party is more prepared with the response, then you haven't done them any favors. My coaching there would be getting them ready to come to the table and feel confident. The student had as much power at that table as the vice president of student affairs. There was no power and no rank. And that was part of my process, my responsibility. And everybody had to agree to that, the tenured faculty included. They had no more influence on the group than a student did.

Question:
Did you do any coaching of the faculty or the administration?

Answer:
Yes, the same kind of thing. Sometimes from a different perspective of being able to hear and listen to the students or listen to the other group without becoming defensive. It was that whole issue of helping people understand that being defensive is not helpful and it doesn't help resolve problems. It just entrenches people. So the coaching may be different, sometimes not. Generally it was more from that side of, you do have the power, but what's going to happen to you if you don't have the students. What's going to happen to you if the community believes that you are this kind of institution. You're more likely to be appealing to their public relations image than anything. Coaching them in that sense would be more geared toward listening and not being defensive. It was hard for an administration or an institutional mind set to listen to things that they believe to be completely contrary to what they were doing. They believed that they were doing the right thing. For somebody to attack them with the opposite, it was hard for them to hear that. I could coach them in saying that community or the student's perception is that they're treated unfairly. Now if that's not true, don't you have an interest in helping them understand why that's not true? If it is true, then you should have an interest in helping them figure out how to change that. So either way there's a response. I never went in and tried to get an institution to say they were wrong. That would just be wasting time for one thing, and I didn't have to get them to say that. The only thing I had to get them to say was that things could be better. That's another one of those little keys, that if you go into an institution, or a minority group for that matter, and say, "Your system is deplorable, and if law enforcement people came in here they'd take you to court and everything's terrible." If you go in there like that, why should they listen to you? Why should they come to the table with you? But if you go in there and say, "this is what the community believes, this is how they feel about it, now if that's not correct, then you have an opportunity to help correct that perception. But even if some of it's correct, can your institution do better?" I've never had anybody say they couldn't do any better. And it's amazing what that one little thing will do for any kind of mediation. If you try to make the respondent say, "I was wrong," then it's a hurdle you may never get over. But if you can get them to say, "Well sure, we can all do better," then I can help you. So that was the dance to me. It's moving with them, where they are, and not trying to drag them somewhere. You dance them into the place where you want them to be, but if you don't keep the rhythm, then you're pulling and dragging, and they're not ever there in good faith.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Part of the end of each meeting was generally, what do we need to report back to our constituency groups? So there was reporting back. Part of that is keeping the constituency groups with you. One of the things that is a real danger, is that the group comes up with a solution, but all the constituency groups are still out here fighting and they don't buy into the solution. So part of the real process is keeping the constituency groups informed, and feeling like they're part of what's happening. That's part of the coaching too, helping them understand the value of that, making sure you report back to the group, get input from them on what they think. "Here are some things we're working on. Do you have any suggestions? What do you think we could do to make this work?” Keep that dialogue going so you really have all of them coming to the table.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Let's talk about training. Did you use training as an intervention technique?

Answer:
A lot. We used it a lot with police departments, partly as an intervention and also as a courtesy to the departments. We would go in and do a review of the polices and procedures for compliance and then do training on excessive use of force. So the police officers would understand what that meant and how it related to the policy. Sometimes there were no policies. Sometimes there was a policy, but nobody knew about it. Sometimes there were policies people knew about and they chose not to abide by it. One of the interesting dynamics in the law, which affected police departments, were the deep pockets where the municipality could be sued and become liable for a police officer's action. As soon as that was discovered, the number of suits against municipality skyrocketed. It didn't change the number of incidences of abuse, it just changed the legal response to it because it became lucrative for attorneys to consider taking it on. So all of a sudden, the cities were saying, "You're going to have to do this differently." The pressure came from the legal system and the municipal government to the police departments, where it had never been there before. They were saying, "You are bankrupting us." And literally, several small communities were bankrupt by these kind of suits. There was the custom and practice of the department, and then there was written policy and procedure, and many times they were completely opposite. They did not match. And that was one of the training pieces. There has to be integrity between policy and procedure, and the custom and practice. If you end up in trouble they're going to look at custom and practice and you are going to be held accountable, regardless of what's written down. So we had that kind of discussion with administration, and then we did the orientation and training with police officers about their liabilities. We'd explain that the department wasn't going to back them up anymore because they are going to become liable. It was an interesting dynamic. One of the real hard struggles for police officers now was that if they get in trouble, they may not have even done it, and it may be false. But the department, all of a sudden, had its own interest, separate and apart from the police officer. So the police officers became very isolated and I think that it created some really difficult times. Community policing though, has helped bring back together the interests of the community, the administration, and the police officers. They don't see each other as adversaries.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you go after an incident, or did you do it pro-actively?

Answer:
If we were in an area and there were time and resources available, I would do it as a pro-active response if they were interested in it. If the department specifically called and asked, we would try very hard to do that. Anytime I was in a community, it was a service that I offered to the department. The training was pretty set and we could spend half a day. It was good public relations for them. The excessive use of force training was one of them. Principles of good policing was another, and it talked about some of the things I just talked about. Another really important piece was their mission statement. The police department's described mission whether it's protect and serve or law enforcement and arrest. That reflected throughout the department, one way or the other. Sometimes, there was inconsistency and one group believed it was protect and serve, but another group believed it was kick butt and take names. They all acted out in different ways, depending on who their field supervisor was. That in itself created conflict in the community, in how they interacted with the department. So one of the things we stressed a lot was to make a clear statement of what the mission is. That needs to be done in cooperation with the community. That way, the community and the police department choose the cooperative relationship between the two. That became part of our brochure that we did on commending and complaining about police officers. The first thing on there was the department's mission statement. Then, reviewing every police procedure that you have, or that you ever had, to see whether it enhances that mission statement or detracts from it. That became the benchmark. Does this policy enhance our mission statement? If it doesn't, we need to change the policy. If it does, then it's a good policy. That gave us a tool to be pro-active with the department and be a consulting resource to them.

Question:
Did you do other kinds of training beyond police departments?

Answer:
We did some training with housing authority people. One in particular, we would bring in teams from different community housing authorities, and we would do problem-solving and team-building and to respond to civil rights issues. Civil rights is our mandate, but they could use these skills in any situation. It was a problem-solving, team-building approach. I did the multi-culturalism diversity training with different groups, university students and faculty. A lot of the training was on the job. Often, I felt more like I was coaching and mentoring, being real careful to make sure I was modeling the skills of consensus-building and protecting interests. Those things were critical to every encounter and every community. That probably was the ongoing coaching, mentoring relationship. We did a lot of internal training.

Question:
You mean within CRS?

Answer:
Within CRS, in the last five or six years. There hadn't been a whole lot before that. One of the things that was a mission of that training was to create an environment where the veteran staff was honored and valued for what they contributed. They became coaches for the younger staff rather than it becoming competitive. That was successful. John Chase was kind of the dean of that group and there were about eight of us that were faculty for that effort. I felt good about it, I felt like we really were moving away from competing with each other to being a team and supporting and working with each other. I don't know what the situation is now.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Let's talk a little bit more about the issue of power disparity between the parties, and CRS's role as a neutral. Even though you say you are a neutral, you also, in a sense, try to empower the low-power group, do you not? How do you balance that?

Answer:
If you mean how do I justify that, let's start with that piece first. Very easily, because I don't think I can do an effective job of mediating between two parties if there isn't some balance there. So unless I help bring about that balance, mediation won't work. Of course, you can't necessarily assume that because one side is a minority community that it's the powerless community. That's another issue. But let's assume that, in fact, there is a power imbalance. Unless I can help balance that, and empower each party to effectively participate at the mediation table, we're not going to have an effective, successful mediation. So I explain that to the institution and I offer pre- mediation training to both sides. I also use that as a way to help each of the parties identify what their interests and concerns are, and what they hope to get out of this process. Sometimes, that's particularly important for the institution, because they often start out from the perspective of, "Okay, how much do they want, and how much of that are we going to give them?" They rarely think in terms of, "What do we want, and how much of that are we going to get?" The reality is that they usually do want something from the community, so this helps them become aware of that. This is another trust-building mechanism as well because I'm acknowledging that, "You need things too! What is it that you want? What is it that you're looking for?" I want to make sure that both sides are heard and that we can talk about how each side's needs can be met. I also let the institution know that it's in their best interests to have a well-trained, capable party on the other side because it will be easier to deal with and negotiate with them if they are capable. Part of what the institution is afraid of is that they will have a group of ranting, raving maniacs on the other side that they can't communicate with. So part of what I'm providing is some security, some format which is reasonable from their perspective. I may say to the institution, "Now, you understand that party A is angry and they're going to need to express that. But trust me, we're going to get beyond that, and get to problem- solving." So I lay the groundwork for there being some anger. I hate to call it "venting," because to me "venting" sounds too patronizing. I don't want to be allowed an opportunity to vent; I want to be allowed an opportunity to be heard. So, even though the term "venting" might apply, I avoid that word because it does sound patronizing to me. It has undercurrents of, "They're just spouting off, and they really have nothing to say." In most cases they have a lot to say, but they've never been allowed to say it and be heard before. Once both parties understand this process and it's really part of the ground rules or at least the "ground expectations" that's going to make the process much more effective. If I explain this to the institution, they'll understand that. They also understand that it's going to take less time to train a police department to come to the table as a team than it does the community (with a police department, it's easy, they just look to the chief if the chief says it's okay, it's okay, even though they're there as a team.) In terms of a community, they require a lot more ground rules, a lot more preparation, in terms of how they're going to operate at the table. If there isn't a clear leader, sometimes, I try to split up the leadership role. I try to have different people on the community team take responsibility for leading negotiations around certain issues, so that everyone is head-honcho for a while. But doing that, and helping them to identify their interests and needs, is going to take longer than it does with a police department or a school district. But the institution recognizes that when they're at the table, their time is going to be better-spent and there'll be less time wasted if we do it this way. So they're not worried about the time the fact that I might spend three times as much time with the community as I do with the institution. They understand that it all helps to lay better groundwork for the process at the table. The other thing that I have found and at first, I was surprised, but I've gotten now to where I almost expect it is that when I have those initial meetings with the community, I get a lot of that venting. I hear a lot of the anger. To some extent, it is almost directed at me. But I know it isn't really it's just that I happen to be there at the time, and they're saying, "Well, you're an official, so why can't you fix it?" I can see that there are some very angry, frustrated people there, and I usually say, "Look, I hear the anger, but I want to make sure that you can express that anger to the institution and help them understand why you're angry." Then, when we get to the table, all of that anger has already dissipated to some extent. I can recall at least one case where I actually called a caucus because the community was so calm, and said, "Wait a minute. You were chewing my butt yesterday and you were ranting and raving. What's going on here?" I almost had to remind them of the points that they wanted to bring to the table. Now that they were actually at the table and communicating that was such a big achievement already that the rest of their issues almost didn't matter anymore. My concern wasn't to advocate for the community, but if those issues weren't brought to the table, that would undermine the effectiveness of any agreement. So I thought it was important for an effective agreement to make sure that all of that was on the table. The preparation I did with them was important too. It gave them some confidence at the table they knew they were prepared, they had an agenda, they knew who was going to cover what, and they trusted me and the process, at least to some extent. The same was true for the institution: they knew that I was going to control the process, they trusted me to keep the discussions on track. That's empowering for both sides. The fact that they really are talking to each other as equals is very, very important for making that process work.




Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Sometimes we provide training or technical assistance where, basically, one group is taking the lead role in creating change.

Question:
What does training and technical assistance involve?

Answer:
We do a lot of training with police departments related to issues that are affecting their relations with the community. It can be from hate crimes to police-community relations to multi-cultural training. The training will sometimes be our response to an incident. This can be part of or independent of their meeting with the community. For example, we had a racial profiling complaint, but we could not get the people who filed the complaint to meet with the police to work it out. We wanted them and the NAACP in a meeting. The chief was willing to meet with people who felt they were victimized, but they did not want to meet. They just wanted to file the complaint and get a response to it. I think they may have wanted to file a suit. So we met with the chief and he was willing to take the next step. He said, "It would be good for us, good for the community to know that we are going to have a training program with you guys on how to avoid these types of problems in the future." It was a response to the situation or problem, but it didn't entail mediation or even the involvement of the community in the resolution process.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Do you provide that training?

Answer:
Yes. There's a school district right over here in Inglewood. This school had riots at one particular high school for seven straight years. And the last one became so overt that police had to come in and kids ran into the streets and went to the downtown area and broke windows and vandalized stores. The city came down and the superintendent was appalled, and the media attention was just overwhelming. So the superintendent asked CRS to come in. What we did with this school, was to partner with a local mediation service, Centinela Valley Juvenile Diversion Project, to provide mediation training to every school in that school district. We wrote our own curriculum and we trained. It's a real tight curriculum, that we train students for four hours a day for three days.




Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

In formal mediation and in more informal processes, are you doing a lot of explicit training as you go? Do you teach communication skills, negotiation skills as you go in a direct kind of way?

Answer:
I would say no. When you get into the mediation you are issue oriented. Certainly we are reminding them of ground rules and process, but we are only conveying that in terms of their behavior to the issues. The issues dominate everything that you are bringing forth in the mediation process. I think you can remind them of the process and the ground rules and that we need you to convey that information clearly, but I wouldn't say that I would be teaching anything. It is very impractical, to teach basic skills in mediation.






Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you provide any training?

Answer:
Of course. I provided training all the time. If you look up here, you'll find some of my books and some of my work where I provided training, especially in police departments. Go to the Boermont County jail and find out what training programs they're using for new officers. I started with Rosa in the area of training in the institutions. And then I got them to train every time there's a new class coming in, in community relations. Not only community relations, but conflict resolution. In the jail, the riots in that county jail have decreased about 85% since I started the program eighteen years ago. I did the first training program at the Boermont Jail. They needed some training, the Division of Corrections had told them that they really needed to get training, so I set up a training program for them for seventeen years. And then the Philips County Jail down here, they used to have riots all the time. But the riots have been cut to a minimum because they now have an adequate training program. I say adequate because they didn't have anything before. Nothing in the area of conflict resolution. It took me eighteen, nineteen years to put all of this together.

Question:
Before you were able to put it all together in a nice training session, did you provided any type of training for the parties who were in conflict, like immediate training? Sitting down with them, saying, "This is the way mediation works?"

Answer:
I did that several times. I don't know how effective it turned out to be, because you have new officials, things turn over, sometimes people may not want to embrace what you've done. And then there's other times, someone may say, "Hey, this is a good idea. We may want to keep this."




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I try to coach them to be clear, to present their needs, and to state their position. I start with, "What do you think is important for the other party to know? Who's going to say that? Who's going to present that?" I also tell both sides that part of my role as mediator is to control the process, and that I'm not going to let it get out of control. They also need to understand that there are some emotions here and there is some anger here and that is part of what we're here for, but to trust me, that I'll keep it under control. So far I've been able to do that. It's more than just coaching on how to be calm participants. It's an approach that they themselves pick up and use. Again I've not always seen that happen. I've seen it enough times to sort of almost marvel at the change in presentation. It's not a change in outlook, but it's a change in presentation. I think probably they're wanting to be seen as people who are sincere and wanting to work this out, so they believe that they need to appear to be reasonable, controlled and organized in making their presentation. So yes, I do some preparation towards that, but it's more than that, it's more than just good pre-mediation training.



Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you do anything to prepare the teams or coach them before they came to mediation?

Answer:
I think we did coaching. In one sense we really didn't have to work through the demand process -- one thing we do in a lot of our cases. We didn't have to do that. Alerting them to what the process was, and how it would work, yes, in both groups. And whom we thought should be at the table. That was part of our effort. And going over the general ground rules. Other than that it was more informal communication back and forth, of knowing in general that the students are going to have X numbers, and these are the issues, and talking with both sides, sharing with them just a sense of a reality framework to clarify what they were thinking so that the sessions themselves could be productive. A lot of information had to go out to the students. We hoped they would read all of it because the administration prepared a lot of information about what they were doing and trying to do, what some of the past practices were, a lot of information. The whole informal communication process was important. Also, we had good relations right from the beginning with the student leader who represented them and was an excellent leader.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

We can provide the money to get you trained -- that is, the transportation per diem, to the training site, as long as you're willing to provide the fees for training your team." He said that was fine. So then we paid for their way and the Department of Corrections paid for their training. I was also there at the training. I participated as a correctional officer and also provided some of the input that George couldn't provide in terms of CRS's interests. CRS's interests were that this program had to go beyond today. Let's just say that when you're getting all the training, and we get back and six months go by, the training should still mean something.



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

What we had to do was have them select the group of people that they wanted to train, and there ended up being about twenty of them. At the same time, we got the Department of Corrections to involve these people in their training in conflict resolution. We did that for two reasons. One is that thought I had about the teachers and the correctional officers, their having the same thing going. The other reason was that hopefully, in discussing at lunch or dinner or what not, having a beer, the corrections officers might pick up some techniques and ideas from the teachers. In the end, the whole deal worked out pretty well -- they found that they did have a lot in common with one another, and everybody gained some insight.



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.




Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What about in the context of the case? Do you do any training, especially with a minority group, in order to somewhat level the playing field?

Answer:
I would talk to the establishment and the minority group about learning how to clarify issues, and begin to strategize. I'll coach and train them. I'll sit in private with them, in kind of a teaching mode, and explain to them how to respond to a system and get what you need in a productive way. If you're going to do some destructive things, you can do that on your own. If you want to be productive, then I want to help you with that. A lot of the coaching, teaching, and technical assistance was not behind the scenes because I made sure everyone knew I was doing that. It wasn't undercover, I wasn't sneaking around and helping. Some of the establishment people weren't any more sophisticated about the issue than the community groups were, so I'd do the same thing for them. Generally, the issues were being generated out of the community because the establishment says they don't have any problems. The teaching and the coaching on the establishment side was to help them understand the dynamic of perception. I didn't feel like I had to make them fess up and say, "Yeah, we violated this rule," or, "We've not done all we can do." If you have to get them to confess, you're not going to get them to the table. If I could get them to say, "Sure, we could do better," then that's what I was after. My next goal is to help them emphasize and say, "We're not doing that. But, if they believe we're doing it, I understand why they're so frustrated." That was my next indication that we were moving in the right direction.






Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

But as a result of this incident, we helped create a community monitoring program in each of the schools. And we developed a tension assessment instrument and trained school staff in what to look for in schools to decide whether or not there were tensions brewing that might, in fact, result in violence. Plus we formed bi-racial parent councils. These were court-ordered. In Boston the schools really didn't do a whole lot, at this point, unless it was ordered by the court -- which made the court real popular!





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The Navy allowed us to use their training facility, and since this particular university was already using their training equipment, classrooms and so forth, we were allowed the same privileges. The Navy even provided us with video technicians to record our training. So we did that. We trained them for forty hours in conflict resolution. It really came out well, because they came back and did their thing, and I think it lasted about two years before fading away.



Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

But to answer your question, a couple of them. One is in Pomona where I worked with a group of Mexican Americans and a group of African Americans, getting them to come together, and that's tough to do.



Julian Klugman


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Timing is a big part, if something's going to happen. I don't believe in training where there are no problems. For example, if you don't have any racial problems, that's fine; that's the end of the discussion. But, then if we talk a little more, maybe there are a few racial problems. That's one of the ingredients, you have to admit you've got problems. If you think you don't have problems, forget it, you're not going to go anywhere.

Question:
But it sounds like what you're saying is that you're willing to kind of talk for a while to convince them they have problems. They don't just say, "No we don't have problems," then you leave immediately.

Answer:
Oh, I will. I don't have time to waste. You're a superintendent and you want me to come in a train your people because there might be problems? Because race relations are a good idea? That's not me. I'll give you the names of ten people who can do that. Five of them will be black, five of them will be Hispanic, eight of them will be women and they'll come in and train your people in race relations. And what will it mean? Absolutely nothing. Because look, you have to admit you've got problems, number one. Number two, you can do something about the problems. "Well it's the fault of the families, it's all in the home." Forget it. I can't go into your home, but I sure as hell can do something with the kids in school and with the teachers and with the principal and so on. We can do something about it. Number three, if you're willing to let people in, it's going to be a cooperative effort. We're not going to do it for people. You don't do it for people, you do with people because, otherwise, training won't work. Number four, it's tied into the system. It's not separate. It's not a separate race relations program. There are things going on during the day at the school. It's 40 hours; you've got to become part of that 40 hours. You have to be planned into it. "We don't have time." You have to make time. If you don't have time to do it, then nothing's going to happen. It's tied into a system of reward and punishment, because if you don't reward or punish people for the behavior you want, nothing will happen. Harry Truman integrated the U.S. army which was still happening when I was in the army in 1955. He said, "We're going to integrate." It took years to do it, but they did it. They did something very simple that changed everything. They said, "You cannot get promoted from second lieutenant to first lieutenant if you have racial problems and you're not dealing with it." It is a priority thing in the army and you won't get your promotion. That made all the difference in the world. Out of that came the Armed Forces Institute, because when people are motivated, then the training means something.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

In fact I'm doing a training of a police department out of Houston, another county. But I'm using one of the trainers a Houston police officer. There's an excellent trainer at the academy on cross-cultural communications processes. Although we have different backgrounds, how do we, as a human being's receive information and process it fairly? We use screens that let in what we want to let in, and then we react that. What you sent this way was not necessarily what I received. He's really good at describing this and through role playing and discussion he's very good at imparting that, so we used him in community problems between the African American community and Vietnamese store owners. And, it goes beyond cultural training, and cultural awareness, it's the next level I guess. Just us as human beings. How can we better relate to each other? No matter where we came from and no matter what path we took because it's basics that we all relate to. We all have arms, heads, and faces that's common for all of us. But there's a lot of other things that aren't common too.

Question:
How does this come about?

Answer:
Oh, because we wanted to teach this course they do at the academy to rookies and others. But we wanted to do it in a community setting to help the community, the residents, and the store owners be better able to understand each other, and hopefully by understanding each other they would be more cooperative. This was to lessen the opportunities for violence, for thefts, and for problems. Of the seven stores that we targeted through this program we brought this training in because it empowered the strategic plans that we helped put together, the training's part of it. There have been no incidents, no robberies, no thefts, no vandalism, and no shootings in those seven targeted stores.




Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Have you done other kinds of training?

Answer:
Well, we do a hate crimes training in conjunction with other agencies.

Question:
Training who?

Answer:
Right now we're training a lot of police officers and police chiefs. We trained thirty-five chiefs in the Houston area at their request. They were members of the Harris County Police Chief's Association. We used the F.B.I., the district attorney, the U.S. attorney, the Houston police, and then we had a part in designing the program. We adjusted it to fit. It's an actual program by the Department of Justice. In every federal judicial district they have a vehicle to conduct this kind of training. It can be done in different ways but we chose to do it in the Houston area having all these components represented in imparting their particular expertise to local police officers. This included how to gather evidence of hate crimes, how to preserve evidence, how to talk to witnesses, how to look at the investigation and what other components you would not normally do when you're investigating a regular crime. If you think it's a hate crime or indication of a hate crime, what other things are helpful to present the best case you can to prosecutors. It also goes into getting accurate data. Some communities reported no hate crimes, some states, one or two hate crimes. Others reported two or three hundred. It's not that one state or city is more hateful than another, but it's just that they see what's happening differently. And now they're capturing the information better. So whenever you do something like this, it may result in the rise of the statistics. It's not necessarily the rise of incidents, but just in the rise of statistics. Because now you know you're doing it better. So that's one objective, more reliable data to get officers to become more expert at what they do.




Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The outcome was, finally, that they felt that the university could carry on a training program for the police department. So the community contacted a Hispanic professor at the university, and he put a program together on human relations and they then presented that to the police department. And the police department, after review, accepted that. In the meantime we brought in also some consultants to assist in the training. So the university, and I think there were two people from our department that assisted too. We provided ongoing training for the police department over a period of six month's time. That's all we were able to do. The community was happy with that because they were involved in the development of the training. They thought that was something very worthwhile.



Manuel Salinas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

But the I thought the training that the university put together with the human relations office, was well done. What I liked about it was that we were getting a lot of response from the officers and our recruits. In some human relations training, the officers don't really take part in it. I don't know whether they feel uncomfortable, or they don't believe you, or they say "I'm forced to be here," or "I don't pay attention anyway because I know my job." That's it. They feel that they know their job, and you don't know my job, you're not here everyday with me, you don't see what I see, I don't believe that you have much to tell me that I don't know. It is true. We don't see what officers see everyday. But by the same token, they have to open their eyes a little bit more and be more compassionate and try to understand what is being presented, so that maybe they become even better officers.



Ozell Sutton


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Got the police a body of training at which I was the main lecturer.

Question:
When you were providing this technical assistance, did you use community resources, other consultants? How did you know who you should include in your training?

Answer:
Well, you gotta know that. That's the part of your body of knowledge in a sense. I pulled together the black leadership that was concerned about this issue and we drafted. I already had the plan ready when the crisis developed. I had already pulled a body together of black leaders and we had to come up with who could assist us, and who did we need to bring in. We brought in two people from this agency and one person from the F.B.I. We didn't want any local F.B.I. And we brought in five people who helped us design that plan and then helped us in the training process.




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.



Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

From there on, a lot of our focus was on working with, supporting, and providing some training to those biracial councils, not just in South Boston, but in other schools as well. South Boston was my major assignment, partly because I was the white on staff, but in many ways, South Boston kind of became the standard against which to measure what we were doing in other schools as well. We also continued working with police, and tried to get our local organizations to participate as monitors, in an effort to get them involved in a positive way, even if they weren't interested in being advocates or anything.






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