“Give us more detailed counsel for using social media when a community faces division.” A comment such as this one was the most common response to the Divided Community Project’s first two reports, Key Considerations for Community Leaders Facing Civil Unrest and Planning in Advance of Civil Unrest, issued in 2016. This report responds to that request.
We owe a great deal to persons who generously shared their experience, expertise, insight, research, and time for this report. Students in the 2016 Dispute Systems Design Workshop at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law contributed research and papers that provided a basis for a November 3, 2016 gathering of community leaders and social media experts. The language, words, and ideas contributed by Brooks Boron, Ben Cahn, Jennifer Mensah, Alex Pribil, and Robby Southers appear in this report. We are grateful to the Kettering Foundation and its legal counsel, Maxine Thomas, for partnering in bringing together some of the best minds from across the nation to Columbus, Ohio on November 3; to the JAMS Foundation for major support for the Divided Community Project; to the Littlefield Foundation, Nextdoor, the Ohio State University Democracy Studies Program, and the Ohio State University Emeritus Academy for supporting the project; and to Dean Alan Michaels, Laju Mansukhani, Barbara Peck, and many other colleagues at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. The event was shaped and facilitated by the Divided Community Project Steering Committee: Grande Lum, Director, Divided Community Project, former Director, U.S. Community Relations Service, U.S. Department of Justice; William Froehlich, Associate Director, Divided Community Project, Langdon Fellow, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law; Joseph Stulberg, Moritz Chair in Alternative Dispute Resolution, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law; Nancy Rogers, Professor Emeritus, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law; Chris Carlson, community/public policy mediator; Susan Carpenter, community/public policy mediator, trainer, writer; Sarah Cole, Bricker Professor of Law, Director, Program on Dispute Resolution, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law; Michael Lewis, community/public policy/business mediator, arbitrator, ombudsman, special master, JAMS; Craig McEwen, Fayerweather Professor of Sociology Emeritus, Bowdoin College; Sarah Rubin, Planner in Conflict Resolution, California’s Institute for Local Government; Andrew Thomas, Community Relations and Neighborhood Engagement Director, City of Sanford, Florida.
Those who attended the November 3, 2016 gathering included, in addition to the Steering Committee:
- Ralph Becker, former Salt Lake City Mayor, former Utah Legislature Minority Leader, attorney and urban planner;
- Norton Bonaparte, City Manager, Sanford, Florida;
- Kristy Dalton, CEO, Government Social Media, LLC;
- Professor Susan Nauss Exon, University of La Verne College of Law;
- Professor Dennis Hirsch, Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Director, Program on Data and Governance;
- Ethan Katsh, National Center for Technology and Dispute Resolution;
- Professor David Larson, Mitchell Hamline Law School;
- Giselle Lopez, Senior Specialist, Data and Social Media Analytics, PeaceTech Lab;
- Katie Nelson, Social Media and Public Relations Coordinator for Mountain View, California Police Department;
- Joseph Porcelli, Senior City Strategist, Nextdoor;
- Tracie Powell, Senior Fellow, Democracy Fund;
- Margarita Quihuis, Co-Director, Stanford Peace Innovation Lab;
- Colin Rule, Modria;
- Larry Schooler, Community Engagement Consultant, Austin, Texas;
- Carl Smallwood, Vorys Sater Seymour & Pease LLP, Chair, Columbus Community Trust;
- Kyle Strickland, Research Fellow, Ohio State University Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race & Ethnicity;
- Jonathan Tolbert, Social Media Expert, City of Columbus, Ohio;
- Michelle Vilchez, Executive Director, Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center, Convener, Strengthening Communities Project;
- Gwen Whiting, Director of Training and Leadership, Everyday Democracy.
Many of these individuals gave valuable comments on earlier drafts of this reports, as did Lisa Holder, Communications Officer for Sanford, Florida; Nelson Hewitt, Neighborhood Programs Specialist for the Columbus, Ohio Community Relations Commission; Cynthia Schmidt, Director at the Center for Law and Policy, University of Central Florida; and Scott Paine, Director of Leadership Development and Education, Florida League of Cities.
The Project has also developed a tabletop simulation to test community leaders’ preparation to deal with community division and a stress test to help communities plan and makes these available without charge to community leaders (contact William Froehlich, Froehlich.firstname.lastname@example.org).