In Chicago, on March 3, 4, and 5, 2019, the Divided Community Project (DCP) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, in partnership with the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution, convened its inaugural national Academy entitled: We, the People: Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Civil Unrest for Community Leaders.
The program’s goals were three-fold:
- Strengthen each participant’s skill set in conflict resolution-related planning, capacity building, and dispute resolution.
- Support and strengthen the development of a local ‘core’ leadership convener group to serve as a reliable resource for independent information and cross-sector collaborative planning and engagement to its public sector leadership.
- Provide planning opportunities for each leadership team to develop action plans to address their respective community’s challenges.
Following a national application and selection process, thirty-two persons comprising leadership teams from four communities – Charlottesville, Virginia; Kenyon College (Gambier, Ohio); Memphis, Tennessee; Portland, Oregon engaged in workshop activities, participated in cross-cutting dialogues, and heard a panel presentation from public leaders with experience in addressing challenges ranging from the Pulse Club shooting in Orlando to responding to the sustained, underlying social factors that shaped citizen demonstrations of Trayvon Martin’s shooting in Sanford, Florida.
Using the Divided Community Project’s tools as a resource—including strategies used in other DCP communities—participants advanced their efforts to design collaborative strategies to prepare for, address, or respond to resident or official actions that polarize community members.
Funding for this project is provided by the American Arbitration Association/International Center for Dispute Resolution Foundation (AAA/ICDR).