OSU’s Lantern Highlights DCP’s Work

On October 17, 2019, Ohio State University’s student newspaper, The Lantern, featured the Divided Community Project.  The article highlighted how the JAMS Foundation’s recent $300,000 commitment to the project will enhance and sustain the Project through the 2021 calendar year.

DCP Director Becky Monroe is quoted saying, “Our mission is to help local leaders strengthen community efforts to transform division into action.” Deputy Director William Froehlich highlighted DCP’s connection to Moritz’s top-ranked Program on Dispute Resolution, “We take mediation concepts and skills we teach in classes here and apply them to communities with division and tension.”

Take a look at the full article here.

JAMS Foundation Announces Sustained Support for DCP

From the JAMS Foundation website

JAMS Foundation Continues Support of Divided Community Project with $300,000 Grant

October 03, 2019

Two Join DCP Steering Committee

The Divided Community Project welcomes Chief RaShall Brackney and Kyle Strickland to the project’s steering committee.

Chief Brackney was appointed Chief of Police for Charlottesville Virginia in 2018 and comes to DCP with decades of police experience as the former Chief of Police of the George Washington University and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police.  Dr. Brackney is a recognized expert in the areas of harm reduction, procedural and restorative justice practices, and community-police relations. Dr. Brackney earned Bachelors and Masters Degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University and a Ph.D. from Robert Morris University.  Her complete biography is available here.

Kyle Strickland is the Senior Legal Analyst at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race &Ethnicity at The Ohio State University.  His work focuses on local and national civil rights issues, criminal justice reform, fair housing policy, and equitable access to education.  Kyle earned his law degree from Harvard Law School, where he served as Student Body President. Kyle, a native of Columbus, earned his B.A. in Political Science from The Ohio State University.  His complete biography is available here.

For more about the Divided Community Project’s steering committee, click our “project designers” tab.

DCP Secures Grant to Host 2020 Academy

The AAA-ICDR Foundation announced that the Divided Community Project – working in partnership with the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution – will receive $45,000 to host a second Academy Initiative in March, 2020.

In March 2019 DCP conducted an inaugural “Academy” for four selected ‘core leadership’ groups from Memphis (TN), Portland (OR), Charlottesville (VA) and Kenyon College.  Build on the inaugural Academy the AAA-ICDR grant enables the project to

  1. Strengthen relevant training materials, pedagogues, and resource materials.
  2. Expand network of local leaders, sharing lessons learned in strengthening local resiliency.
  3. Host a second Academy in March 2020.

Additional information about the Academy Initiative is available here.

Project Publishes American Spirit Storytelling Guide

For the complete document “Hosting American Spirit Storytelling Conversations,”  click here.  Here is a short summary pulled from the report: 

This storytelling initiative builds on the work of a diverse group of Americans who were convened by the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s Divided Community Project late in 2018 and came to a consensus on some over-arching aspirations that Americans share and value deeply — an American Spirit. They agreed that Americans seek to be innovative and a positive, “can do” people and to unite in our determination to be inclusive and to appreciate individuality. We have not achieved our goals yet, but that is no reason to abandon them.

After all, the preamble to our Constitution acknowledges that we are not perfect and should try to improve constantly in its statement that we are in the process of becoming “a more perfect union.” Polling indicates that people agree with these goals. Sharing compelling stories that illustrate those who embody these goals in their daily lives will bring these goals alive not only for those who attend but also for others who hear the stories. For an explanation of the historical groundings of this spirit and more detail on pertinent polling results, see the American Spirit website.

This guide is full of ideas for prompting creative storytelling by a gathering of neighbors and friends, but it is a guide only. A special part about this storytelling is that you have the flexibility to complete what works best for your group!

For more on the American Spirit, take a look at the American and Community Spirit website, https://moritzlaw.osu.edu/american-spirit.

Project Hosts Inaugural Academy in Chicago

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:

  1. Strengthen each participant’s skill set in conflict resolution-related planning, capacity building, and dispute resolution.
  2. 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.
  3. 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).

Project Publishes Community Spirit Toolkit

For the complete Community Spirit toolkit, click here.  The report’s executive summary follows:

When community members realize that the vast majority of them share a basic aspiration -a sense that can be termed the “Community Spirit” – they will treat each other with more respect and consideration and feel that they belong to something bigger than themselves. This rationale, though in the context of the nation rather than the community, has recently spurred historians and commentators across the nation to call for an articulation of the current American Spirit to counter this period of deep division and alienation in our country. At a local level, communities can benefit as well from identifying a statement of what they value that helps unite their residents across their differences. They may become more engaged in improving the community and more willing to solve problems despite their differences. In this guide, the Divided Community Project suggests  process to help communities articulate their spirit.

The guide applies what was learned from other communities and from an American Spirit initiative to suggest a collaborative process that any community can use to identify and express its own spirit. Each community will select among these processes, and some communities may even find the identity so self-evident that they skip many of these steps. Erring on the side of overinclusion, this guide elaborates on the following steps that any community can follow:

Conduct research aimed at securing answers to four key questions:

  1. What are the current challenges facing your community?
  2. What diverse communities of thought and experience exist within your community?
  3. What is special about your community in terms of history, geography, traditions, and more?
  4. What are some ideas for a statement of community spirit from elsewhere or from those already being floated in your community?

Identify meeting participants who – when joined together – represent the diversity of views within the community, offer needed expertise and buy-in, and are good listeners, creative, and thoughtful.

Prepare meeting participants by providing them with materials that explain the concept a community spirit – why it
matters and what about it gives it strength — and also that community’s special character and current challenges.

Devise a meeting agenda for a collaborative drafting of the community spirit. First, try the agenda out by facilitating
short small group pilot meetings with participants who have been given the preparation materials. Then analyze the
results, identifying challenges that persist despite preparation. Work with experienced facilitators to revise preparation
materials and adjust the ultimate meeting plans to overcome the challenges.

Develop a communication strategy to try out the ideas for a community spirit that emerge from the larger meeting
with a larger audience (Do the ideas for a community spirit resonate broadly and deeply?) and let others know about it.

The guide ends with a list of books on meeting facilitation. Click on www.AmericanSpirit.osu.edu to find: an example of a summary meeting agenda, a “behind the scenes” worksheet for facilitators that illustrates how detailed preparation can help, and a guide for co-facilitators. You can secure additional support from the Divided Community Project in the preparation, facilitation, and drafting of your community spirit and let the Project know about successes that can be shared with other communities by emailing Bill Froehlich, Deputy Director, Divided Community Project, at froehlich.28@osu.edu with a copy to americanspirit@osu.edu.

DCP launches Bridge Initiative @ Moritz

For all the details about the Bridge Initiative, click here.

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.

Read More HERE

Columbus Mayor Ginther Discusses DCP’s Midland Simulation

The Mayor of Columbus, Andrew Ginther, recently endorsed the Midland Simulation in a new video released after he and his staff participated in the two-hour simulation. The City of Columbus is one of several communities and organizations that have used the simulation as a tool to consider how to identify and address community division before a social crisis. In the video, Mayor Ginther states that the simulation provided a “realistic gauge” of mounting tensions that cities can face during times of division.

Following the two hour simulation, organizations engage in a discussion to unpack and apply the lessons learned to their own communities. Mayor Ginther discusses how the DCP used anonymous polling software to “candidly assess community division and tension in the Columbus community,” and explains how the simulation can assist cities proactively planning ahead of times of conflict. In Columbus, DCP used responses to elicit ideas in order to enhance city community engagement efforts, leverage work of community partners and to begin planning in advance of civil unrest and social crisis. Ultimately, the simulation encouraged participants to think creatively outside their usual silos and has helped the City of Columbus plan for the future.

If your community is interested in running the Midland Simulation or if you are interested in connecting with the project, please contact Deputy Director Bill Froehlich at froehlich.28@osu.edu.  Click here to review Mayor Ginther’s video.

ABA to Recognize DCP Executive Committee Member Josh Stulberg

Professor Joseph B. “Josh” Stulberg, the Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) at The Ohio State University Mortiz College of Law, is the 2019 recipient of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution’s Award for Outstanding Scholarly Work. This award honors individuals whose body of scholarship over his or her career has contributed significantly to the field of dispute resolution.

One of the nation’s pre-eminent mediator trainers, Professor Stulberg is the only individual to participate in conducting mediator training for the U.S. Attorney General’s original Neighborhood Justice Center programs in Atlanta, Kansas City, and Los Angeles. He has trained nearly 10,000 people across the nation and the world to serve in court, agency-based, or community-based dispute resolution programs. Professor Stulberg h as published more than 60 articles in professional journals on theoretical, policy, and practice issues in dispute resolution. In addition, he co-founded and serves on the steering committee for the Moritz College of Law Divided Community Project.

The Program on Dispute Resolution at Moritz, with this recognition for Professor Stulberg, becomes the recipient of all three major awards offered by the ABA’s Section of Dispute Resolution. In 2002, Nancy Hardin Rogers, Emeritus Michael E. Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution and Director of the Program on Law and Leadership, received the D’Alemberte-Raven Award, the section’s highest honor recognizing outstanding service in dispute resolution. In 2018, the Divided Community Project received the John W. Cooley Lawyer as Problem Solver Award, which recognizes an individual member of the legal profession and/or institution who has exhibited extraordinary skill in either promoting the concept of the lawyer as problem-solver or resolving individual, institutional, community, state, national, or international problems.

“I’m honored and humbled to receive such a special award,” said Stulberg “I’m also very proud to be part of the college’s Program on Dispute Resolution and the important work we’re doing to create constructive conversations that can yield tangible results and, hopefully, have a meaningful impact on communities.”

The Scholarly Work Award will be presented to Professor Stulberg on April 13th, 2019 during the Legal Educators Colloquium Luncheon at the Hyatt Regency in Minneapolis, Minnesota, as part of the ABA Section of Dispute Resolution Annual Spring Conference.