Offering Communities Rapid Consultation on Processes for Addressing Community Conflict
Across the country, local government, law enforcement, and community leaders are grappling with increasing tensions associated with hate incidents and crimes, officer involved shootings, and other incidents that have a lasting impact on individuals as well as entire communities. These local government and community leaders understand better than anyone the needs of their communities and share a sense of urgency to respond productively to civil unrest. And it is precisely in these times of crisis when the expertise of a mediator with experience developing processes that not only keep initial protests safe, but also offer a path towards engaging the entire community in realizing more systemic reform, is most valuable.
The Divided Community Project’s (DCP) Bridge Initiative @ Moritz, a project based at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, seeks to fill this need as identified by local government, law enforcement, and community leaders. Upon request and at no cost, mediators and other experts with extensive experience in helping local leaders respond effectively to civil unrest and tension in communities across the country can help mediate conflicts between community and law enforcement, train local community members on effective strategies to keep protests safe, and offer technical assistance to executives and community members seeking to build sustainable infrastructure for inclusive engagement. In addition to their expertise associated with addressing community conflict, as people from outside the community, it may be easier for mediators to introduce and facilitate processes to meet the needs as identified by all the different parties in a community.
While mediators may introduce and help facilitate processes, the power driving the processes always comes from local leaders in the community, and they produce real results. Whether hosting tens of thousands in demonstrations without arrests or violence, or channeling demonstrators’ energies into planning improvements and tangible changes, working with mediators, local governments and leaders shape these processes as their own in order to help realize the full potential of their communities.