Call for Scholarship on Race Equity Efforts

Call for proposals:  Collaborative Efforts on Race and Racial Equity

UPDATESymposium collaborators have received interest from several potential contributors who do not have the privilege to develop symposium contributions in the course of their regular work.  Thanks to support from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, the collaborators can offer a modest stipend to provide support to authors and co-authors from BIPOC and underrepresented communities who do not hold traditional academic positions. If funding permits, individuals new to academia may also be considered.

The Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution, in partnership 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, is pleased to announce a call for submissions focusing on the work of collaborative efforts addressing truth, action, reconciliation, and healing in the context of race and racial equity. Authors accepted for this publication will be invited to attend a symposium focused on the same topic to be scheduled in the first quarter of 2022.  Final publications will be due on June 15, 2022.

Submit your proposal using this link.

The primary goal of this publication is to explore the multi-layered racial equity initiatives that are emerging across the countryOver the past several years, various cities, states, and communities have begun designing and launching processes for surfacing histories and lived experiences around systemic racism, and moving towards reconciliation or action at a community, legal, or policy level.  While many of these efforts have been bolstered by public support, they also face a litany of challenging design questions and practical barriers.  This publication and symposium seek to bring together national and international practitioners, academics, activists, and other stakeholders to share experiences, challenges, resources, and strategies informing such initiatives. 

Contributions may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Defining purposes, goals, and scope of these initiatives
  • Choices about the conveners of these initiatives and the process of building initial buy-in among stakeholders
  • Conflicts that may arise among stakeholders involved in design and implementation
  • Managing practical considerations such as funding, bandwidth, and fatigue
  • Engaging a wide range of stakeholders to contribute to and become involved with the initiative
  • Creating a feedback system for gathering community input to incorporate into design and process decisions
  • Barriers confronting these initiatives and ideas for addressing them 
  • Precedent models from the United States or abroad

We welcome submissions from diverse perspectives and in a variety of forms.  Some contributions may take the lens of dispute systems design, law, history, social science, or critical race theory; others may take an interdisciplinary approach; still others may recount and explore a particular initiative and its experience in the United States or around the world.  

If you are interested in contributing, please submit a title and working abstract by Monday July 26, 2021, at the latest, using this link.  Authors whose works are selected for publication will be notified by Friday August 6, 2021 (or earlier).  Abstracts should be developed into drafts no later than January 15, 2022, and will be distributed to fellow symposium contributors (to take place in February or March, 2022).  Final contributions may incorporate ideas developed during the symposium and will be due on June 15, 2022.  

For more information on this call for contributions, please contact Bill Froehlich at

Smallwood Named DCP Executive Director

Effective June 2021, Carl Smallwood (; 614.688.3075) becomes the Executive Director of the Divided Community Project, housed at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Carl has served as co-director of DCP for the past year, teaming with DCP staff and steering committee personnel Josh Stulberg, William Froehlich, Thomas Battles, Nancy Rogers and others to sustain and expand DCP programming activities in what emerged as a year of unprecedented social justice challenges.   Carl helped design and implement such DCP initiatives as conducting quarterly Thought Leader conversations; convening “leader to leader” discussions among local government personnel, law enforcement officials, faith leader groups, business leaders, and civil rights advocates to address public protests challenging police practices and health care service delivery; helping city leaders organize after-action reporting processes to examine police shootings; organizing university-wide discussions involving students, faculty and campus administrators both pre-and post 2020 presidential election and 2021 inauguration-day events; and  assisting public officials and private organizations design Truth and Reconciliation-style processes to address systemic change.

Grande Lum, chair of the DCP Steering Committee, former director of the Community Relations Service of the U.S. Department of Justice, and current Provost at Menlo College, said: “Carl’s insights, experience, leadership and humanity are perfectly matched to DCP’s mission and our country’s multiple challenges and opportunities.  We are tremendously excited and gratified that he will continue to lead our efforts. I would also like to thank Josh Stulberg for his tremendous service as co-director.”

Carl is a retired partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease LLP in Columbus, Ohio following a successful career resolving disputes by litigation and negotiation.  He is a past president of the National Conference of Bar Presidents as well as the Columbus Bar Association.  For more about Carl, click here.

New Partnership with Mershon Center

The Mershon Center and the Moritz College of Law’s Divided Community Project recently established a partnership with the goals of building peace and strengthening dispute resolution efforts in the United States and around the world. The partnership resulted in a first-of-its-kind set of ideas in a guide aimed at helping communities in the United States address and advance racial equity through structured and collaborative problem-solving.

The guide, titled “Planning Initiatives for Working Together To Advance Racial Equity,” was initiated after a confluence of events in 2020, including the killing of George Floyd and health and economic disparities exacerbated by the Coronavirus pandemic, brought mass protests and calls for greater racial equity in the U.S.

“The Divided Community Project has worked since 2015 to address both deep-seated and erupting division in communities,” said Carl Smallwood, co-director of the Divided Community Project. “In 2020, we sensed a shift in public attitudes and perceptions, and a renewed willingness to address racial inequity in the United States.  We felt a meaningful response required processes aimed at more than racial inequity in policing, to reach health care, housing, education, etc., and turned attention to design processes to help communities achieve that change.”

By late summer 2020, Smallwood and the Divided Community Project group began conversations with community leaders around the country and world who had experience working with truth and reconciliation commissions, to better understand the potential and challenges of using such a process in this country to advance racial equity.  This is where Mershon Center’s Associate Director Teri Murphy became an integral part of the Divided Community Project group.

“Teri’s background in conflict intervention and peacebuilding at an international level helped us learn from people who had been doing this type of work internationally for years,” said Nancy Rogers, Professor Emeritus, The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, and former Ohio Attorney General. “Having their input helped us better understand which processes worked in other contexts and what some challenges were.”

Through dozens of conversations with people across the globe experienced in working within divided communities, and one key event in January 2021 involving over 50 contributors, the group took what they learned from these conversations and began developing the guide – which includes sequenced collaborative processes focused on change–that aim to enhance racial equity and afford each person the opportunity to thrive.

These guidelines, and the Mershon/Divided Community Project partnership, are just the beginning of an initiative aimed at advancing racial equity and working toward peace and justice, whether at a municipal level or globally.

To learn more about the guidelines and how to implement them in your community, click here.

Those interested in more support are welcome to contact the Divided Community Project team:

The Week of April 19 – Ideas for Local Leaders

The Divided Community Project offers these brief resources, in case they might be helpful as you do contingency planning regarding your community’s reactions to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial for charges stemming from George Floyd’s death:

  1. A checklist of reminders and ideas for that preparation.
  2. A rough draft of a plan that U.S. Community Relations Service mediators have used with communities preparing for similar a similar situation.
  3. A short video Ideas for Local Leaders
    • Police Chief for Charlottesville, Virginia, RaShall Brackney
    • Menlo College Provost and former Community Relations Service Director Grande Lum
    • Director of Neighborhood and Community Engagement for Sanford, Florida, Andrew Thomas
    • Former Community Relations Service Conciliator, Ron Wakabayashi


Ideas for Leaders Speaking Out Against Hate

Violence against Asian-Americans has increased signficantly in recent months.  This week, the country has been mourning the tragic shootings at Atlanta-area spas.  Anti-Asian violence has been simmering across the country, particularly on the west coast.

We asked our colleagues, Tom Battles, Ron Wakabayashi and Becky Monroe, who have spent their careers dealing with these hate issues for additional ideas.  They suggest that community leaders can encourage the targeted community to build capacity by establishing systems to alert each other when conflict or when potential conflict is likely to occur. Sometimes a perpetrator may be stalking area the area looking for potential victims and the call tree-type mechanism alert system can notify key contacts in communities to warn the most vulnerable that strangers are in the community or an incident has occurred. They note that people have missed opportunities to help by using an overly restrictive definition of a hate incident, focusing only on incidents that might constitute crimes.  If it feels bad or is frightening, then the act or insult is causing harm and worthy of a response.    

Here are a series of resources as you consider speaking out in your community:


DCP’s New Guidance for Collaborative Racial Equity Initatives

Read the Newly Published Guidance Here

A confluence of events, including a pandemic, protests, and business and school closings disrupted our country in 2020 and, despite deep political differences, there is broadened support for structural changes to advance racial equity.  This may be an ideal time for Americans to pursue this goal at the local, state, and national levels.  A multi-pronged, sequenced approach has a mutually reinforcing effect.  Whether it is called a truth commission or something else – that process facilitates the collaborative problem-solving over a period of years to achieve the equitable society that will afford each person the opportunity to thrive.

There is no single blueprint for the kind of transformative process that seeks to provide equity and “raises all boats.”  Planners will tailor the process to the context and their goals.  This site is designed to share resources for leaders and planners dealing with the inevitable challenges that arise in an initiative to advance racial equity.

Read the Newly Published Guidance Here

DCP to Host Three 2021 Virtual Academies

DCP is excited to announce the application window is now open for its summer virtual Academy series.

The first academy, a Community-Focused Academy, will be held from June 13-15 and will convene core leadership groups from cities seeking to address divisions that are tearing at the social fabric of their communities.

Ideally, the core leadership group will be approximately 8 people and will ideally include two representatives from municipal infrastructure (preferably a high-ranking police official and a city manager or the equivalent), two representatives from the local non-profit community, two community advocates, a member of a religious organization, and a representative from an educational institution.

The second academy, a Campus-Focused Academy, tentatively scheduled for July 11-13, will convene leaders from University campuses who seek to identify and address divisions tearing at the fabric of their institutions.   Ideally each core leadership group will be approximately 8 people and will ideally include two representatives from the president’s  or provost’s office, a representative from diversity and inclusion leadership (may overlap with the first category), a campus police representative, a faculty member, a communications expert, a student affairs staff member, and a student leader.

The third academy, designed for Statewide Attorney General and Civil Rights Commissions, will be held from August 8-10 and will host teams from both state attorney general offices and civil rights commissions to develop approaches for dealing with polarized situations at the community and state level.  The core leadership group will ideally include a diverse cross-section of leaders within the office or commission.

For more information about the Academy program, please look here:

CPR Honors DCP Leaders with TWO Awards

On January 27, 2021, Project founders Nancy Rogers and Josh Stulberg, Project deputy director William Froehlich, and Project steering committee chair and inaugural director Grande Lum received awards from the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution (CPR) as part of CPR’s Annual Meeting.

Nancy, Josh, and Bill received the Outstanding Professional Article Award for their publication Sharing Dispute Resolution Practices with Leaders of a Divided Community or Campus: Strategies for Two Crucial Conversations, Ohio State Journal on Dispute Resolution [Vol. 35:5 2020].  Their article is publicly available on SSRN at this link.

Grande received the Outstanding Book in the Field of ADR for his book America’s Peacemakers: The Community Relations Service and Civil Rights (The University of Missouri Press 2020).  His book (co-authored with the late Bertram Levine) is available through the University of Missouri Press.  DCP celebrated the launch of Grande’s book in November 2020.  The event recording is publicly available at this link.

A complete copy of CPR’s announcement is available here.

William Froehlich, Josh Stulberg, Grande Lum, and Nancy Rogers, photographed in New York in 2016, shortly after the launch of the Divided Community Project.

DCP to host “Becoming Weavers in a Divided Nation” with Ohio State President Johnson

In partnership with President Johnson, on Thursday January 21 between 5:15 and 6:30 pm DCP will host “Becoming Weavers in a Divided Nation”, part of President Johnson’s Education for Citizenship dialogue series.  Open to the public, the event will take place on Zoom.  Look for details at this link.

Thursday’s event will be fast paced and feature:

  •  Introductory remarks from President Johnson
  • At least eight quick talks from students, faculty, and staff from across the Ohio State Community, including:
    • Sarah Cole, Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution
    • Norman Jones, dean and director, Ohio State Mansfield
    • Jacquelyn Meshelemiah, associate vice provost for diversity and inclusion
    • Teri Murphy, co-director of Conflict to Peace Lab, Mershon Center for International Security Studies
    • Gene Smith, senior vice president and Wolfe Foundation Endowed Athletics Director
    • Lena Tenney, diversity, equity and inclusion officer, College of Pharmacy
  • Inspirational comments from, David Brooks, New York Times op-ed columnist, and founder of the Aspen Institute’s “Weave the Social Fabric Project.”

President Johnson announced the details of her event in her January 14 message to the Ohio State Community.  We’ve copied excerpts of her message below:

Our “Education for Citizenship Discussion Series,” organized by deans, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and other university leaders, kicked off last night, and I was pleased to join hundreds in a virtual discussion about fostering deliberative democracy in this era of political polarization.

The Divided Community Project has planned the next event, “Becoming Weavers in a Divided Nation,” which is scheduled for 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, January 21.

 . . .

Subsequent discussions are planned for January 28 and February 4. We will hold additional conversations in the coming weeks. Details are available on the Education for Citizenship Initiative website along with resources for respectful and productive dialogue.

Fostering civil discourse – even, and perhaps especially – among those who strongly disagree, is a hallmark of what we do as an institution of higher learning. 

. . .

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., whose life and legacy we will celebrate on Monday, said: “Only in the darkness can you see the stars.” This is indeed a dark time for our nation, but it is also a time for us to look for those bright points in the form of opportunities to come together in peace. Please listen to one another, especially when you disagree. Stand up for what you believe, but do not engage in violence. Check in on each other and offer support to those who need it. Be kind and be safe, Buckeyes.

Quick Tips for Leaders facing Imminent Protests

Six days into 2021, we witnessed an insurrection at the Capitol in Washington, DC. Now major metropolitan cities and state capitals are bracing for protests—potentially armed protests.

In light of the potential for escalated tension in communities across the country, we wanted to distribute three short videos for community leaders who might be preparing for looming protests:

“Ideas for Community Leaders” with RaShall Brackney, Chief of Police, Charlottesville, Virginia; Thomas Battles, Lead Mediator, DCP’s Bridge Initiative @ Moritz; former Regional Director, Community Relations Service; and, Ron Wakabayashi, Mediator, DCP’s Bridge Initiative @ Moritz; former Regional Director, Community Relations Service.

“Ideas for Campus Leaders” with Nancy Rogers, former Dean and former Ohio Attorney General; and Noel March, Director Maine Community Policing Institute, University of Maine at Augusta; former U.S. Marshal.

“Ideas for Bar Leaders” with Carl Smallwood, DCP co-director, and former bar president.