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Abstracts | Rethinking Systems Design for Racial Justice & Equity

Speaker Biographies are available here.

An agenda for the day is available here (it works best if you print double sided, flipping on the short edge, then fold in half)

The following abstracts were prepare for the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution's symposium series Rethinking Systems Design for Racial Justice & Equity.  Developed in collaboration with The Ohio State University's Divided Community Project, the Harvard Negotiation and Mediation Clinical Program, and Stanford Law School’s Gould Center for Conflict Resolution, the three -part series features national and international practitioners, academics, activists, and other stakeholders to share experiences, challenges, resources, and strategies to tackle these difficult issues.

Abstracts featured on this page will be developed into law review articled and published in a double symposium issue of the Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution.  Abstracts are featured in connection with the symposium where their respective authors are scheduled to speak.

Click HERE to register!

Abstracts for the March 11 event at OSU are listed immediately below. 
Abstracts for contributions featured at SLS and HNMCP are available here.

Part A (9:10 to 10:25) | Practitioner Observations from the Field

This interactive conversation will feature breakout groups facilitated by Moritz-trained mediators and short presentations featuring:

For context, feel free to review the following abstracts

Dukes & Cozart headshot

Authors: Frank Dukes & Selena Cozart

On June 18, 2021, the day before the very first celebration of Juneteenth as a federal holiday, a less heralded but closely related event took place. The Montpelier Foundation (TMF) board of directors, the Montpelier Descendants Committee (MDC), and the National Trust for Historic Preservation (who own Montpelier) issued a joint press release about a June 17 vote “… based on a proposal from the Descendants, to approve bylaws to establish equality with the Montpelier Descendants Committee (MDC) in the governance of James Madison’s Montpelier, the home of the fourth president and “Father of the Constitution.”

This agreement was reached in part by mediation support from two mediators from the Institute for Engagement and Negotiation at the University of Virginia, Selena Cozart, Ph.D., and Frank Dukes, Ph.D. We proposed to address questions specific to this case in our paper; however, this work is not only challenging. It is rarely complete. By the time we began writing, we were once again working hard to help the parties recover from ruptures and divisions that reemerged following the approved changes. We ultimately withdrew from our effort to facilitate negotiations as mediators. And because the nature of the mediator role includes a promise of confidentiality, we cannot write anything about the Montpelier issue related to our role as mediators that is not part of the public record. 

However, we have worked together on several other projects involving race, history, and conflict. So we embarked on a series of conversations intended to explore together the challenges that work raises, lessons we've gathered from conducting that work together and addressing those challenges, and the implications of all of this work. Our guiding questions have included:

  • What have we learned about ourselves while doing this work together?
  • What changes have we seen over time in how institutions and communities are responding to conflicts and other challenges related to race?
  • How have we as a co-mediation team navigated our relationship as well as our relationships to the key parties throughout various processes?
  • In what ways have we encountered white supremacy culture, with what types of outcomes?
  • What lessons might be offered to the conflict resolution field concerning issues such as neutrality, power, race, gender, and historical trauma?

Kristen Blankley headshotAshley Votruba headshot

Authors: Kristen Blankley & Ashley Votruba

Discussions about race are occurring in most communities across the United States, as well as internationally. Issues involving race, policing, affirmative action, or similar topics are not limited to large metropolitan areas or those approaching a “majority minority” population. These issues affect all communities, although the impact on the community and motivations of government, business, and private participants may vary significantly in rural America. Leading discussions and conducting fruitful conversations in rural and predominantly white communities may face unique challenges. Concerns may exist regarding adequate representation of minority groups, without running afoul of the dangers of tokenism. Underrepresentation may also lead to problems involving “white saviorism” and the effects of any community proposals made on non-participating minorities. Compared to more metropolitan areas, conversations in rural, predominately white communities may particularly benefit from explicit conversations about their own social identity, as well as their preconceived notions of minority racial groups. Self-reflection and even educational components may serve a particularly important role in preparing participants in rural communities to engage in these important conversations. How these conversations are designed and implemented, however, will differ from conversation to conversation. This paper discusses considerations for when those conversations occur in the United States within rural and predominantly white communities – whether those conversations center on police activity, resource distributions (such as public assistance), or diversity and inclusion within schools, universities, employment, or the public sector.

This paper will draw on theories from literature in the areas of stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination, as well as the emerging literature in anti-racism, to determine how these theories might overlay with dispute system design. These theories should inform practices for discussing difficult race-based conversations in predominately white rural communities about race and societal changes rooted in a system of racism and white privilege. This paper will address the important dispute system design and facilitation elements, such as stakeholder analysis, agenda setting, facilitating dialogue, and consensus building. The authors draw upon their experience as process designers and facilitators working with municipalities and universities in predominantly white rural communities to enhance their discussion.

William Froehlich headshot

Author: William Froehlich

In the summer of 2020, communities announced collaborative action in response to the murder of George Floyd and violence against so many BIPOC individuals.  Many communities moved with haste to enact or test structural change; others launched initiatives with great fanfare but have taken little action; still others may be considering how to take the next step to bend their communities toward justice.  Collective intentions to address racial inequity face dynamic multi-faceted barriers, many of which cannot be addressed swiftly or with ease.

This piece presents practice-based ideas for breaking through barriers to racial equity by leveraging the institutional memory of those charged with resolving “disputes, disagreements, or difficulties relating to discriminatory practices based on race, color, or national origin” pursuant to Title X of the 1964 Civil Rights Act: the conciliators of the Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service (America’s Peacemakers).  Using two data sets, this piece collates advice from conciliators who have worked on race equity initiatives.  For example, how can efforts build buy-in and trust among a range of broad stakeholders, how to incorporate community feedback into such initiatives, and what models have worked (or failed)?

First, this piece mines lessons from oral history transcripts of interviews with nineteen CRS conciliators as recorded by Heidi and Guy Burgess in the early 2000’s.  Transcripts include conversations with Wallace Warfield and Dick Salem, among many seasoned conciliators.  This original data set includes discussion about whether race is a factor in building trust with conciliators, how to work through tense race relations, and how to work effectively with minority, ethnic and indigenous communities. 

Second, this piece leverages a developing data set which intends to update the Burgesses’ twenty-year old oral history project through the development of additional new oral histories illustrating the work of CRS conciliators including conversations with Ron Wakabayashi, Thomas Battles, Timothy Johnson, Rosa Melendez and others.  This new data set builds on the original work and focuses on emerging challenges tied to social justice and social media, strategies for working with those who demand justice and refuse to join a formal or informal dispute resolution processes, and strategies for working collaborative in a politically polarized environment.

The arc of justice is long.  Collated, practice-based lessons from prior efforts might encourage communities to take one more step toward race equity.

Part B (10:30 to 11:45) | Race & Policing: Design Intervention

This session will highlight two initiatives that imbed dispute resolution concepts in urban law enforcement training and will feature comments from former law enforcement leaders. Featured participants include: 

  • Featured participants include:
  • Featured law enforcement commentator: Dr. RaShall Brackney, former Charlottesville (VA) Police Chief
  • Facilitator: Divided Community Project Director Carl Smallwood

For context, feel free to review the following abstracts

Stephanie Blondell headshotSukhsimranjit Singh headshot

Authors: Stephanie Blondell + Sukhsimranjit Singh

Overview In 2017 the Los Angeles Women’s Police Officer Association (LAWPOA), in cooperation with the Straus Institute for Dispute Resolution was awarded a grant through the Open Society, Soros Foundation. The grant project is ongoing. The grant proposed training to build trust and legitimacy through shared police and community experience. An excerpt from the grant proposal outlines the project: “A national conversation is taking place about the use of force and related police policies and procedures. The resulting dialogue illustrates an incongruent understanding of the problem between both sides - police, and community - creating further frustration, and lessening hopes of healing the fracture in the relationship. The foundational damage to this relationship occurs where the breakdown of trust and legitimacy intersect. Thus, a critical appeal for interventions exists, one that allows the protected and the protector an opportunity to return to relational fundamentals, effectively improving engagement in everything from dialogue to calls for service. The program is designed to incorporate all perspectives of the police community divide in a two-part training and experience to promote trust, problem-solving, and legitimacy in a neutral environment." The project was named C3 by participants of the pilot project, composed of both community members and law enforcement. C3: Community, Cops & Conversation. The project is not exclusively focused on racial divisions between the community and law enforcement. The convening process pointed to not only race but other areas of social justice inequity, as well as policing practices (and lack of policing practice) for the seemingly irreparable lack of trust. The majority of the curriculum, convening methodology, and conversation are informed by racial inequity, cross-cultural theory and dispute systems design. Article Methodology The article proposed will be a “learning organization” analysis of C3, for continuous improvement. The curriculum is still evolving, changing, and improving. The authors will take a “lessons learned” approach, first, labeling a system/design concept; second, describing in narrative form the challenge presented; and third, proposing a solution. Section ONE will be an overview of the Los Angeles community (demographics and community activism), as well as an overview of LAPD with a brief historical overview of the Department. The Rodney King beatings taking place in the early 90s, the consent degree issued by the Department of Justice in 1997 and lifted in 2001, to more recent national and local incidents will be addressed through the lens of the LA Community, with a particular focus on black and brown Angelenos. The LAPD is a “minority-majority” workforce with 49% of the workforce Hispanic, 19% other people of color, and 30% caucasian. Most officer-community interactions are BIPOC to BIPOC. These dynamics as well as others will be explored in order to highlight particular design elements that were chosen. Section Two will be an overview of the interest-based stakeholder design process and the curriculum that emerged. Section Three will be lessons learned. Each lesson learned will 1) be framed, 2) explored through the narrative to bring C3 to life, and 3) reflected upon by the trainers, participant community members, or law enforcement. The paper will focus on specific examples such as the following. 1) Convening. In the pilot, the convening failed. Half of the community showed up and the second day even fewer participants. 2) Power Imbalance. Constituents from the design team had different ideas of how to train stepping into each other shoes. There is an inherent power imbalance in stepping into an officer’s shoes which is defined and authoritative as opposed to the amorphous and diverse experience of community members, mostly BIPOC. 3) Practical Considerations Matter. Deployment is difficult during Covid and when Departments are losing officers due to attrition over the last year. Never has there been more money for “defunding the police” type activities, and never has it been harder to deliver that training. 4) Political Pressures: The grant was held up for 2 years due to the granting course being too “liberal” for some of the LAPD constituents (unclear if this will be discussed.) Section Four will be a call to best practices in community law enforcement trust-building activities with a particular focus on large metropolitan diverse communities.

Lee Drake Passano Villasanti headshot

Authors: Katrina Lee, Simone Drake, Kevin Passino & Hugo Gonzalez Villasanti

Over-use of force by law enforcement officers in the United States persists, along with the resulting state of crisis in Black communities. Massive protests in 2020-2021 calling for racial justice and for law enforcement reform have not been effective in turning the page on disproportionate use of force in interactions with Black civilians. Meanwhile, as protests and calls for legislative action and policy change continue, police training and work continue. Studies show that traditional Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) training practices produce resentment and resistance, specifically in the context of law enforcement. The authors–scholars from law, critical race and gender studies, education, and electrical and computer engineering–have taken a multidisciplinary team problem–solving approach to the crisis situation, with a focus on police training. We launched a project, funded by a grant from The Ohio State University’s Seed Fund for Racial Justice, that seeks to intervene in traditional DEI training at the Columbus Division of Police. Through innovative software development that augments in-person police training related to DEI and cultural competency, the project reflects a collaborative focus on critical race and gender studies, and negotiation and mediation tools. This article will first describe the problem our project seeks to address and our multidisciplinary problem-solving approach. It will then provide a critical overview of the research this project builds from and outline the project methodology. The methodology includes using real-life policing scenarios, coding and software design, site visits, and engagement by students in the “Antiracist Technology” engineering course at OSU. Finally, we share proposed related research.

Part C (noon to 1:05) | Form and Substance with john powell

john powell headshot

This keynote address will feature remarks from john powell, director of the UC Berkeley Othering & Belonging Institute, and conversations with session attendees.

Professor powell's draft symposium contribution is now available at this link


The demand for racial equity has acquired greater intensity and urgency in recent years. Advocacy groups are demanding policies designed to address racial inequality in housing, the criminal justice system, and health care systems, among other arenas. These proposals differ in critical ways that are both substantive or form-based. In some cases, proposals argue for race-specific or race-targeted interventions; in others, they call for universalistic or economic/class-based interventions. Many of the proposals being floated or attempted are new programs or initiatives, while others are better understood as reforms or adjustments to existing programs. At the same time, many demands relate not to specific policy changes or new programs or policies, but are rather process based interventions, such as directives to  collective data, establishing benchmarks, and evaluating progress; or stakeholder processes designed to widen potential sources of input for institutions and among administrative officials.  

While taking stock of the shape and form of various racial equity proposals, this article argues for the need to ground such interventions in a clearer and more nuanced understanding of the goal and definition of racial equity and to evaluate proposal based on goals.   Many of the differences in form can be traced to a lack of clarity in goals or objectives, with the implications for each in terms of public support, implementation challenges, and more. 

The paper ends with a bold new application to promote racial equity by suggesting a new design that would empower people, increasing participation and removing domination.  The application would be open to general use and could have special importance for racial equity.  As a new design, we call for experimentation.

Part D (1:15 to 2:45) | Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation in Action

This facilitated conversation will feature illustrations of truth, justice, and reconciliation efforts in action from the following participants.  

  • Rose M. Brewer (University of Minnesota) will discuss her engagement in Minneapolis' Truth and Reconciliation Workgroup.
  • Juanita Freeman (Judge, Minnesota Judicial Branch) will discuss her engagement in ongoing efforts with Mitchell-Hamline's Truth & Action Project.
  • Raff Donelson (PennState Dickinson Law) will discuss his engagement in ongoing efforts with Carlisle (PA) Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • Amber Johnson (Charleston, SC) will discuss her work with the City's Special Commission on Equity, Inclusion, and Racial Conciliation. 
  • Anusha Venkatraman (New York, NY) will discuss her prior work as the executive director of New York City's Racial Justice Commission.
  • Facilitator: Teri Murphy, Associate Director at the Mershon Center for International Security Studies and Co-Director of the Conflict to Peace Lab

For context, feel free to review the following abstracts

Rose Brewer headshot

Author: Rose Brewer

This paper examines the Minneapolis Truth and Reconciliation Working Group appointed by the City of Minneapolis Vice Councilperson Andrea Jenkins. The charge of the T & R Working Group was to consider what it would take for a Truth and Reconciliation process to occur in the City of Minneapolis. The several months long effort culminated in recommendations to the Minneapolis City Council on how the process should unfold. Thus the decision to appoint a working group as precursor to a formal Truth & Reconciliation is critical to understanding the how and why of such a T & R effort. While far from simple, the Minneapolis T & R Working Group grappled with the policies, politics, and practices which shape the social realities of Black/African descendants and America Indians in the City of Minneapolis. Critically, the imperative of T & R must be understood in the context of the racial history of Minnesota, the City of Minneapolis and the uprisings which occurred in the wake of the George Floyd murder by police officer Derek Chauvin. The working group contended with the shift in city dynamics given the contemporary and historical realities of race. The meta question is why and how must T & R be articulated in the City of Minneapolis?

Sharon Press headshotJuanita Freeman HeadshotRichard Frase headshot

Authors: Sharon PressJuanita Freeman Richard Frase

When George Floyd was murdered by Police Officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020, the Twin Cities became the epicenter of demands to examine embedded racism, especially in law enforcement and the criminal justice system.  The Dispute Resolution Institute at Mitchell Hamline School of Law decided that the contribution it could make to this imperative was to convene a project entitled, Truth and Action: Addressing Systemic Racism in the Criminal Justice System in Minnesota.

Our intent in designing this project was for it be a “transitional justice” project.  We recognized, like so many others, that our criminal justice system is in need of reform and that reform is not possible without first understanding the truth.  George Floyd was not the first Black man to lose his life nor was he the last one.  The reality is that the data showing disparate treatment of BIPOC throughout the criminal justice system exists and has existed for decades.  But data alone does not spark change.  Thus, the Truth and Action Project is designed to collect and analyze the data from each step in the criminal justice system from law enforcement through to reentry and including, decisions made by prosecutors, defense attorney, judicial officers, corrections personnel, and probation officers to identify where systemic racism has been baked into the system.  In addition to the data analysis, the Project will collect stories of lived experiences from individuals who have experienced disparate treatment and then use the stories to illustrate what the data shows – to make the data come alive.

The final steps in the Project will be to develop recommendations and action steps to implement the recommendations.  The first phase of the Project will focus on the Twin Cities with the understanding that there likely will be a need for additional phases to address the whole state.  We also believe that the lessons from this Project will be useful to others who wish to address these issues in their own communities.  

The article will begin with the impetus for the project and the process for putting it in motion.  In this section, we will also describe the challenges and opportunities of convening, as well as, the tension between recognizing the need for change now while at the same time, understanding that systemic change takes time. 

Part E (3 to 4) | Reflections on Truth, Justice, and Reconciliation

This facilitated conversation will feature reflections on key concepts connected to truth, justice, and reconciliation through the lens of their scholarly, practical, and applied work from the following contributors:  

For context, feel free to review the following abstracts

Kang headshot

Author: Sooyeon Kang 

 Numerous initiatives have emerged in the wake of increasing community unrest in America. Some training initiatives have taken a problem-solving approach to help communities de-escalate tension and mitigate ongoing conflict, while others have taken a proactive approach to equip communities to plan in advance of unrest. The Academy Initiative, a program under the Divided Communities Project (DCP) housed at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, is an example of the latter that seeks to empower community leaders with conflict planning and conflict resolution skills ahead of significant unrest. Focusing on DCP’s Academy Initiative, this article seeks to trace the various impacts of this type of training on three distinct communities. Through interviews with community leaders in these three different localities, this article analyzes the context of each community prior to their participation in the Academy Initiative and draws out the benefits and challenges that have emerged as a result of participation. Taking a comparative case study approach, the focus is on synthesizing the similarities and differences of these communities to identify what local leaders can learn from outsiders versus what community leaders must cultivate from within to create stronger community cohesion. The findings suggest that collective leadership and a shared vision to make the community better, and the willingness to work with others towards that aim, is something that must be built locally. Once there is an identified group of local leaders invested in the work, outside experts can provide the insights and ideas on how to increase perspective taking, improve communication among local leadership and across the community, and to get community buy-in broadly. Strengthening the societal fabric through both organic and strategic means are necessary to mend the tears in today’s divided communities. 

Sarah Cole headshotNancy Rogers headshotGrande Lum headshot

Authors: Sarah R. ColeNancy H. RogersGrande H. Lum

Several U.S. cities and at least one state have convened multi-pronged initiatives to advance racial equity, and there are proposals to do so on a national level.  The attractiveness and special promise of these initiatives, often inspired by the famous South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, may lie in:

  1. the engagement of an appointed group of public officials and community representatives with each other and the larger public in open meetings;
  2. the ability to respond to a variety of goals related to advancing racial equity, including: recounting and commemorating the past and its continuing effects; remedying injustices, bringing about mutual understanding, respect, and conciliation across racial fault lines; and achieving major change that contributes to greater racial equity;
  3. the use of a single body that can sequence the multi-pronged initiatives so that achievement of one goal (e.g., truth telling about the past and its continuing effects) might positively contribute to achieving others (e.g., support for change and greater unity); and
  4. the current expanded public support for advancing racial equity in the United States.

Particularly because they are action oriented, these commissions depend for their success on public reaction to their work.  How a commission characterizes its work for those outside the commission – what we call “framing” -- is therefore critical.   In the academic literature, framing describes the process of creating a structure designed to facilitate discussion and resolution of an issue.  Frames provide the focal point for discussion participants’ attention.  Framing for a commission is by no means easy, however.  The illustrations in Part II highlight the struggles commissions have encountered and the multiple approaches to framing that commissions adopted. 

The collective wisdom on framing in a variety of disciplines, from mediation to political science, offers valuable ideas for commissions.  As discussed in Part III, while helpful, no single discipline’s counsel on framing fits a commission’s multiple goals and contexts.  Those involved in these initiatives will weigh both the applicability of the advice offered and the recent experience to craft their own framing approaches.

Drawing on illustrations of the emerging framing dilemmas and the framing literature across disciplines, we suggest a series of choice points and discussion topics for commission members, to help them select the framing that fits goals and context.   A theme that permeates these suggestions in Part IV is for commissions to focus on framing at the beginning of their work and then revisit the issue periodically throughout the process.  Moreover, commissions should tread tentatively as they frame their work and then jointly assess, reflect, and revise framing with an eye to achieving the highest priority aims.  We also offer some illustrations that offer promising ideas or cautionary tales.  But we, too, are treading carefully.  Analyzing these initiatives to advance racial equity as more occur and move to conclusion will yield deeper wisdom about framing.

Jan Martinez headshotCary McClelland headshot

Authors: Jan Martinez Cary McClelland

In 1996, the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) opened its hearings on apartheid’s human rights violations to the national and international media.  The decision, in large part, responded to the public’s growing suspicion that earlier commissions, held behind closed doors, had not included the right members, heard the right voices, or reached effective conclusions; in other words, the country bristled at the idea of a secretive process releasing a tome of a final report and then walking away without any further explanation to the public.  Unlike many other countries’ commissions that deliberately protected themselves from the press, the South African TRC’s activities were all recorded, and, in addition to short nightly pieces, the South African Broadcasting Company aired a weekly documentary program summarizing the weeks’ events.  Though the benefits and drawbacks of this approach continue to be debated, the South African TRC represents a landmark moment where media and technology were used to give the public greater access and transparency into the operations of such a commission.

Today, the State of California as well as many of its local governments and communities have embarked upon a similar mission:  to address racial inequity and injustice through a series of commissions directed to research, investigate and report on potential reparative and rehabilitative responses.  Many of these bodies are explicitly charged with producing recommendations for economic reparations—payments and/or other measures intended to repair the damage from historic and systemic injustice.  These include the California State Task Force to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African Americans, San Francisco’s African American Reparations Advisory Committee, the San Francisco District Attorney’s Office Truth Justice and Reconciliation Commission, and similar bodies at the state and local level directed at such questions on behalf of the Latinx, American Indian, and Asian-Pacific communities. 

This paper will take a case-driven, system-design approach to evaluate the decisions these commissions are making with respect to the use of media and technology in their proceedings.  The Bay Area is home to the modern technology industry; the industry has deep roots in government and academic institutions; so these bodies are perhaps among those best positioned to integrate innovative technologies into their proceedings.  Making the use of technology even more attractive and perhaps necessary is the fact that these commissions begin their work during a global pandemic, challenging the practicality and safety of face-to-face convenings.  By contrast, the technology industry has received its share of criticism for the failure to anticipate antidemocratic consequences of many of its products, and it has fallen into disfavor with some Californians, including many groups advocating on behalf of the very marginalized communities whose interests are at the center of these commissions’ work.  As a result, state and local commissions face competing pressures—to incorporate technology and in other cases to avoid it.  Some bodies have preferred to keep their proceedings behind closed doors, attracting the attention of some critics who prefer greater transparency; others by contrast have chosen to make all their activities fully accessible online and have faced numerous challenges resulting from such openness. 

The first section of the paper will take a critical review of the early decisions these California commissions have made with respect to the use of media and technology—whether to open access to their proceedings, whether to include a greater number of participants and testimonials, or whether to serve some other purpose.  These decisions can have cascading consequences, and just as there are risks to not enough technological access, there are risks to relying too much on technology as well:  such design decisions can amplify some voices while incidentally marginalizing and alienating others; they can err in estimating the media-and-technology literacy of intended participants and effectively lock the hearings’ “door”; and they can shape and distort the recommendations these commissions may ultimately reach. 

After understanding these early decisions, the paper will then turn to two commissions specifically—the San Francisco African American Reparations Advisory Committee and the San Francisco District Attorney’s Truth, Reconciliation and Justice Commission.  Looking closely at the mandates of these two bodies, the paper will propose design models by which each may use technology to maximize their interests of transparency and inclusion without sacrificing promises of confidentiality and other important goals.  Specifically, the paper will look for ways that—given the fact that both bodies emerge from the same city—they can avoid duplication and use distinct innovative tactics to explore different questions and benefit from each other’s experiments and learning.

Amy Schmitz, Oladeji Tiamiyu, and Colin Rule headshots

Authors: Amy SchmitzOladeji TiamiyuColin Rule 

Truth and Reconciliation Commissions have played a valuable role internationally in providing an outlet for meaningful dialogue concerning systemic factors contributing to regional instability. At the same time, technology has become an important vehicle for dialogue. This article therefore introduces considerations about how technology can be used to expand dialogue and strengthen the objectives of American truth commissions addressing racial inequities. As a larger segment of the population shows increasing preference for technology-based systems, this article emphasizes that technology can and should complement, rather than supplanting, in-person engagements to respond to differing stakeholder preferences for online and in-person interactions. In discussing how some social media platforms have played a negative role in issues of national concern, this article also emphasizes that there are alternate frameworks for developing online spaces that are inclusive and capable of fostering mutual understanding between different groups. The article acknowledges the benefits and risks of communication platforms. Just as technology has introduced benefits for transportation, commerce, and entertainment, technology can also transform how reconciliation occurs without geographic limitations.