Did you assist the parties design other structures to prevent a recurrence of the conflict?


Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The last issue, and we were saving this one, was the Inmate/Staff Advisory Council, ISAC, that would be established to deal with future problems on any matters unresolved from our agenda. ISAC would be there, and the question was who would be represented. Everybody agreed the culture groups should have representation. Nobody felt they shouldn’t have special representation. Every cell block plus culture groups. That’s when the Italian leader said, not the Italians. He understood. He'd grown some in that process and there was a lot of that kind of transformation. An angry Hispanic inmate said to Charlie Davenport, the associate director who was viewed as compassionate and a friend of the inmate, "You don't even know my birthday. You don't care about me. You deserted me, you took a promotion to be associate director. You used to handle programs, now you're associate director. You deserted me. You don't care about me. You don't even know my birthday." That was a stinger. People saw how they were seen. So they set up ISAC, and the big controversy was if there is a reorganization of the institution, will they still permit the inmate groups to come together in culture groups? The answer was yes. The administration yielded on that critical issue. That was a big concession, but it also was the last issue.



Stephen Thom


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

He said, "Steve, I want you to develop a comprehensive conflict resolution program for me; I think money is coming down." This is right after Columbine. And I said, "Why do you think that?" He said, "Steve, white folks are getting hurt now." I didn't ever think about that, but sure enough the state came down with this money, we had $240,000 dollars and so I gave him a proposal of a program where we did peer mediation, peace builders, anger management, we instituted problem solving in every classroom, and we did Spirit at the high schools and we did community dialogues and we made that as a package program for this whole school district ).





Silke Hansen


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

But before school opened we did a lot of work with community leaders, including clergy, with the school system, and police department, trying to do some contingency planning. We assumed that there would be demonstrations, but we wanted them to remain peaceful. So we planned what these groups would do in case of an emergency. Who was going to be the liaison between school and police for instance? We also started looking for ways to form multiracial student councils so that, as these new groups of students were brought together, that they would have a mechanism for being able to work together. Unfortunately, in South Boston, that was next to impossible, because white kids and certainly their parents were very clear that they didn't want to do anything to try to make this successful.



Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

In this case did the agreement call for continued communication between the parties?

Answer:
No, I don't think we had to put it in there other then that ALANA was a recognized group and I think the understanding was that if there were problems the reports would come back. Their relationship had developed to such an extent that the student leader could pick up the phone and talk to the chancellor. There was a real good relationship that had developed.




Martin Walsh


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The mechanisms to continue that dialogue and feedback were there in the reports from the Chancellor to the school newspaper.





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Question:
Would you try to set up mechanisms before you left that would enable the people to go on without you?

Answer:
Oh sure. And it was done, again, because of my relationship with the people that I had been working with. Had that not been established, I would have left at the end, because another case was always waiting. But from this case, we went onto Compton, where there were tremendous problems. Compton was connected to the riots -- the case involved the schools, the community, and the police department -- the police department versus the African American community, which is the majority group there. There were also problems between the police and the Latino community. It involved drugs and crime, on the part of both minority groups.... well, I shouldn't say it that way. Really it was both majority groups -- the African Americans and the Latinos, because the white group is very small in that area. There were a host of problems. The police department felt like the step-child of Southern California's law enforcement community. When I got involved with them, of course I got involved with the chief. But then within two or three months, he left the department because he had pilfered some money from one of the police groups. So that left a bad taste in the police department's mouth. He also happened to be white, and that created an even bigger problem, because most of the officers were African American. Luckily, they appointed an African American chief who had been with the department from his patrol days. He knew the city, the city knew him, he knew the officers, and he knew where a lot of the hidden problems were. So we were able to work with him. After starting over here with getting together and sharing food, we went into Compton, where we developed an advisory group to the Compton police department. Again, the advisory group was meant not necessarily to be just advisory; it was meant to sort out a lot of the concerns that both the department and the African American and Latino communities had. This had a lot to do with the problems with the schools and the violence occurring at the schools. At this time, between the Latinos and the African Americans, there were gang problems of all kinds -- African American-versus-African American, Latino-versus-Latino, and Latino-versus-African American. That advisory group was developed, and that all came out of the African American and Latino participants in that group. In this case, it came from us where I suggested to them, "What do you think about doing something with the Compton police? They agreed, and that began the get-together with these folks. Incidentally, when we first began to get together with the African Americans and Latinos, we met in a meeting room of a Mexican restaurant. Then at other meetings, we'd meet at some hall in the African American community and then eventually we met in the police department's roll-call room. That's how things evolved. It was really engendered by their relationship with the police at our gatherings once a month.... maybe it was every two months. Anyway, they felt they could carry this on beyond just eating dinner with them. The police chief, the guy that had to leave, was very receptive. But when this other fellow took over from within the department, and he continued this fellowship.




Bob Hughes


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

My recommendation was four to six representatives would be at the table for each side, no less than four, maybe six or eight would be an ideal number. For the members of your team, you need a chair person, a spokesperson, and somebody to take notes for you. Don't depend on notes from me or the other party, you need to keep your own notes. Also, there needs to be somebody that I can contact readily to notify when meetings will be a link to your team. That's the negotiating team. Observers are there, those who have an interest in what's going on and who need to know because they could have a role in making or breaking the agreement after it's been developed, after the negotiations are over. There may be a need for other persons, or representatives from other entities to have an understanding of what's going on here, because of the potential helpful role they might play later if they have an understanding. Resource people or technical assistance people are examples. In this case, I'm not sure whether there were observers or technical assistance persons, but they probably played both roles, these three outside agencies.



Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Then we helped analyze with them what some of those things were that they could be doing to address that. Which was the better path? After many meetings everybody had a role to play in the creation of the Mayor's Task Force 2000, and we gave them technical assistance in that. Also discussing with them that if they were to focus on the future, that they could be better able to handle the present. They would then have a plan how they're going to reach that future and then they could withstand whoever came in and out, and whoever had other agendas and the city was not focusing on where they wanted to be. And they would decide where that place was, and how they're going to get there. It would be essential that before they decided where they wanted to be that they should discover where they were. And once they discovered where they were, and everybody understood where they were, then they could shed more light on where they needed to be and how they're going to get there. Through a lot of meetings and a lot of private discussions they did that and formed the Mayor's Task Force 2000, formed of all the elements in the community. There's always consequences for doing something, and consequences for not doing anything. So there were pretties, and as you know the mayor's African American, and the head of the chamber of commerce is African American, the board president who had been there twenty years is African American, or he just resigned, the head of one of the major employers, the hospital. Two of the city council members are African American. A lot of people they themselves credit that as to why the town was able to cope with a lot of things. Other communities are not composed like that, and may not have been able to handle it as well. Fifty percent of the population is black or about that much out of 8,000. This incident happened in the county. When we were discussing and I asked him what area are you going to cover because it was in Jasper, and we talked about creating a vehicle to take them into the future, but this vehicle would be Jasper owned and operated, they would decide where they would go, who was going to be in it, how the vehicle is going to be shaped, and how they were going to get there. The mayor and others felt that although it may be a Jasper vehicle that it would be inclusive of the areas outside of Jasper too, like the creek area where the killing occurred. Critics on both sides said that it wasn't going to work, it would be a white wash, they were going to hide things, and there's no problem. Yeah we've got problems, we're not perfect, but things are okay. Things have happened here, and there have been other incidents that have just been kept covered up and we have longstanding issues. We kind of agreed with them that the creating of a vehicle in a public manner through community dialogues and small town hall meetings they could discover where they were. All of those meetings were public and the way they organized the task force is it's composed of different committees. The task was to do a self examination of the law enforcement, of the education system, and of the business community. These committees are composed of representatives of the whole, but with representatives of those entities and the committee was going to take a self look, so then they organized these meetings. I had sketched out a skeleton of an organization but they even did me better. They got really sophisticated and came back with an official organization structure that really was great because it covered everybody. And everybody participating in the process of this self look. That's recommendable to any community, to take a self look of all facets of the community, and based on that self look come up with a plan. It's not like me looking at you and pointing out your faults, but together let's see what we can do better here. That was published in the newspaper, the results and the finding of all those meetings. So they proved wrong those that felt it was going to be covered up, because it was very obvious what happened right there in the paper.



Will Reed


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

The Blue Sky Interaction Agency, Indian Action Council. Guess who the chairman was for years? The police chief. And it was the police chief simply because of the fact that he began to fall right into things and the trust level was developed to the degree that they elected him the first president of the group. Now this group was a result of a mediation. There was a mediation between city officials, community activists, and community leaders. After the mediation, they agreed they needed some way to keep channels of communication open. Before then, the city of Big Sky had never had a mechanism by which the channels of communication would remain open between the Indians and the city administration. So what do you do? They decided that they needed some kind of organization that will address these issues and keep communication open by meeting periodically with city officials and community leaders. This was a proposal. Somebody said, "Well then. What do you call this group?" "Well, we don't know what we'll call it, but it's a good idea that we come together monthly and sit down and discuss these issues that will keep us from becoming hostile toward one another. We'll call it the Blue Sky Indian Action Council." Guess how long that's been in existence? Twenty five years. And it keeps the door and channels of communication open. That was a result of the mediation session.



Nancy Ferrell


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

If you want, they gave me permission to share the document we came up with. It's beautiful, it's incredible. The kinds of things that became institutional change and long term response. They created a long term process for responding to incidents on campus. That became institutionalized in and of itself.





Angel Alderete


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

It worked out with the city administrator and members of these groups, that they might be able to develop employment opportunities, not only for the adults, but also for the kids. Especially during the summer, because this is when these kids get into all sorts of hassles. It was a written agreement and they lived up to it.



Leo Cardenas


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

CRS always works a dispute so that whatever enforcement mechanisms are there, they're self-enforced, by the parties themselves. You know, we've never seen ourselves as having the capability of doing follow-up.

Question:
Were there certain things that you did to insure that?

Answer:
Well, in this case, the money and the commitment, and on both sides, like I said. It's easy to point to money, but it's the commitment and it's also the relationships that were established. And in this particular case, it not only established relationships here, because it eventually became a national agreement, but as a result of that, McGraw Hill then went into the four other cities and worked those programs almost voluntarily as a result of the agreement.




Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Then sometimes you'll say to them, "You know, your effort and everything you're doing is fine, but wouldn't it be a good idea if you would call the state Human Relations Commission to come in to give you some assistance in this?" Or, "Wouldn't so-and-so in the governor's office come in to help you? Think about it."



Bob Ensley


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

I had their leaders meet last week and do everything that they agreed to do. I told the county official to put it in writing because we didn't want another stumbling block once they got their permits. So they did.



Efrain Martinez


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

So does the community help in developing solutions, or do they help with the investigation, or both?

Answer:
Both. Hopefully the community working with authorities can create a climate of prevention. But if something occurs and everybody gets together to resolve whatever happens they see that it doesn't happen or help the prosecution. The police cannot be everywhere, something that we used to point out was the need for community cooperation.




Dick Salem


 [Full Interview] [Topic Top]

Did you do any other long term planning or any sort of constituency work to try to make sure the changes that were agreed upon really happened?

Answer:
Well part of the commission of ISAC was that it would review, it would serve as the enforcement mechanism if anyone had any complaints. The Ombudsman was also there for that purpose. I don't remember the wording of the agreement, but that was the enforcement mechanism built in.

Question:
And did it work?

Answer:
I don't know if anybody ever took a complaint. I think the real answer to that came 15 years later where the same procedures were still in place and I asked McCray, "Why did you leave them there?" He said, "Well they worked." Everything that came out of that was their design. I might have suggested some things or pushed some things in certain directions, but I believe that all came right from them.







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