Were their other types of technical assistance, e.g. consultants, referrals to other communities, written materials?


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.





Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I can think of another case in which there was huge mistrust and even hostility between the parties. Some of the issues were complicated enough that it would require, or certainly benefit from, some outside expertise. So in that case, what we did was have each of the parties recommend a consultant who could provide expertise, and then we picked a third person within that field of expertise. So we had those three consultants or experts meet, and come up with some proposed approaches to dealing with the issues in contention. They did that successfully, and then they were able to sell those ideas to the parties, because they had credibility. So that enabled us to get them to agree to some approaches, and that would have been very difficult had we brought in only one consultant. If we'd had only one "expert," both parties would have said, "Is that consultant on their side, or is she on our side?" So having a panel of three worked very well in that particular instance. It was expensive for CRS, because CRS doesn't have those kinds of resources. But we did it in that particular case, and they did ultimately reach an agreement. So that's another approach to get past an impasse.

Question:
And those three consultants met by themselves?

Answer:
Initially. And then they served as resources to the mediation process, until the overall plan or outline was agreed to. And then when it came to finalizing you know, crossing the "t"s and dotting the "i"s that we did ourselves, just myself and the parties.




Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you ever try to leverage resources, such as using other organizations, to continue some of the work you've done in these communities?

Answer:
Not really. However, if there are local resources or leaders, we try to help give them some skills and abilities on how to follow up on their agreement. I don't do community organizing training, per se, but we do explore options and alternatives with the parties and identify other resources they can use. But if there isn't already something there, even getting a Vista volunteer would take time and resources that you just don't usually have. I think once there's been some basic agreement, and the communication is there, then you get a change in the relationship between the two parties. There are certainly communities where that was built-onto, and better relationships developed throughout the community, but it doesn't happen in as many communities as we would like especially those of us who have a community organizing background prior to being mediators. I know there have been times that I've gone into a community and sort of wished, "Gee, could I take off my mediator hat for a year and just do some community organizing here, and then come back as a mediator again?" That's because it's much easier to arrange for mediation if there's an organized community and institution, than if there is just a frustrated community with no organizational structure. They can't deal with the institution, and it becomes very easy for the institution to either divide and conquer or just ignore the situation, because the community isn't cohesive enough to really be able to make a difference. Of course, I'm sure that part of the community's frustration in many cases is that they think, "You're from the Justice Department. Why can't you make it better? Why can't you go and tell them what they must do? Why can't you make a difference?" And then when I say, "Well, my job is to try to help you to make that difference," I think they sometimes see that as a cop-out. They think, "If we could do it by ourselves, we wouldn't need you. But we can't, so what are you going to do?" I know that there have been communities which have been frustrated because I have come and nothing's changed. But the reason nothing changed is because there isn't even a core organizational structure to work with. It doesn't need to be hundreds of people, it doesn't even need to be a dozen, but there does need to be a community core that picks this up as an issue and stays with it and works with it. I know it's a lot of work, and it's slow and tedious, but the only way I can really make a difference is if they have that. I explain that, and then I work with that group to help them deal with the institution. That's one of the things we are trying to do now. We're trying to help communities form human relations commissions. Right now that's still at a very grassroots level. John Dulles who is the regional director for the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights for this region and I have worked cooperatively on a number of cases, particularly in Indian country. But unless there's some support from the tribal structure or the tribal government, it's very difficult to get that off the ground. Even though I personally think that in some ways it would be more effective if it were an even more grassroots initiative, there isn't enough of a grassroots core there willing to do the work, so here we are talking community organizing. "What are the entities that you would want to be a part of that?" I ask. We've conducted workshops on how to establish a core team how to decide who should be included . We have some brochures on how to form human relations commissions and I've developed that into a workbook too. But, we can't do that for the community. They have to do that for themselves. For example, there was one community that formed a small group that just started documenting every case of police abuse. It was a "who, what, when, where, why" kind of thing. They developed a chronicle of what was there. So when they then went to the city council or county commissioner, they had some documentation of what was going on, and not just anecdotal evidence. So we try to encourage at least starting with that piece. But it's difficult to make that happen if they don't see some immediate results. So that's an ongoing struggle.






Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

We registered it with the federal people you send written materials to and that kind of stuff, so that's registered there. It was a well-written report, I have to say that. We paid for it, we got it published, and we used the Latino brain power and they did a good job on it. So anyway, that's technical assistance. If all I provided was stirring the mud, and providing the money for the report and publishing it, that's technical assistance in my eyes. The brain power was theirs.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Did you offer any other type of technical assistance?

Answer:
Sure. A lot of times. We had training that went all the way into hostage negotiations, how to diffuse riots as you ran into the height of them, things like that.

Question:
What about training the minorities, or giving technical assistance to the minorities?

Answer:
Lots of times.

Question:
What form would it take?

Answer:
Sometimes it took place in the area of role playing, sometimes it took form in group interaction, lectures, things of that sort. It depends on what they wanted. Like the NAACP might want some training on how to resolve some internal conflicts that they may have within the office. Sometimes, a big one would be the Martin Luther King parade for the city of Denver. For twenty-five years, I was the trainer as far as the marches and demonstrations in town. The march for King's birthday, that was always my responsibility in this office here. I did that for twenty-five years.

Question:
And what kind of training were you doing?

Answer:
Marching. In other words, march order. How to march correctly, how to provide security during the course of a march, how to be able to diffuse potential riots.

Question:
So wouldn't this training be for the police rather than the marchers?

Answer:
No. This was training for the marchers. I would use the police auditorium down here and I'd have somewhere in the neighborhood of about a hundred people come in, or maybe two hundred, or maybe a thousand come in and we'd use their auditorium and I'd speak to them and tell them, "Well, this is the way this should be done." Sometimes I would bring in an expert from one of my other offices, like for example Henry Mitchell might come in and get things started. We had to train the captains, the march leaders and the march captains. We color-coded a lot of things as to who was responsible for what.






Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

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.



Edward Howden


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
What if you saw a situation where you thought that the minority group would probably do better in litigation than they would through mediation? Would you tell them that?

Answer:
I don't recall that that happened, but I think I would have asked them to consider that pretty seriously. I'd suggest "you might do a lot better that way." At the same time, I made the point that, put very simply, people had nothing to lose if they gave mediation a try. "If it isn't going to take too much of your time and energy, and it isn't going to take any of your money, why not give it a try?" That would be our more customary pitch. But if there were some compelling reason otherwise, I don't think we'd get in the way of litigation.







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