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Community Leader

Community leaders who are trusted by their communities have the opportunity to convene collaborative initiatives to identify and address divisions in their respective communities, including those connected to race and equity.  Below, DCP provides guides for community leaders considering or immersed in collaborative initiatives. In addition, DCP provides of-the-shelf resources for community leaders in the face of crisis.

For DCP's newest first edition report - co-published with DOJ's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services and Community Relations Service - titled Tools for Building Trust: Designing Law Enforcement-Community Dialogue and Reacting to the Use of Deadly Force and other Critical Law Enforcement Actions, click

Busy community leaders might also consider reviewing the following resources (linked here and listed below):

Collaborative Planning Processes

The following guides are designed for community and campus leaders who might work proactively to identify and address issues which might tear at the community’s social fabric. 

This document distills lessons from recent experiences with community unrest that can be useful to those who want to have a plan in place before turbulence occurs.  The planning suggestions offered in this document can be used to assess and improve the resilience of a community, identify issues and create ways to address them before they cause an eruption, and be prepared to deal constructively with unrest if it occurs.

For community leaders, social media presents valuable opportunities to engage community members, understand issues that underrepresented groups are concerned about, and encourage cross-community dialogue. At the same time, some users of social media may spread harmful forms of misinformation, engage in hate speech or online bullying, or use social media in various ways to take advantage of community unrest.

This guide discusses social media strategies for community leaders dealing with community division.

Ideas for Collaborative Race Equity Initiatives

The following guides are designed to provide ideas and steps for community leaders as they design processes to enhance racial equity and address division connected to public spaces.

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. A multi-pronged, sequenced approach has a mutually reinforcing effect. Whether it is called a truth commission or something else – that process facilitates collaborative problem-solving over a period of years to achieve an equitable society that will afford each person the opportunity to thrive.

Creating accessible public spaces that feel welcoming to residents and visitors can bring people together to interact across societal fault lines. Improving the symbolic nature of that space can contribute to their sense of belonging, inspire them, advance their understanding, and more. By moving proactively, leaders might also avert divisive, and sometimes violent, conflicts over symbols and public spaces. Beyond these potential benefits of a proactive planning approach to enhancing the public environment, a collaborative process can contribute to mutual understanding and appreciation.

Leading in the Face of a Community Crisis

The following resources are “off-the-shelf guides” for community and campus leaders facing imminent or ongoing unrest.

What begins as a normal day in a local community can erupt in protests and demonstrations by evening; looting and violence may follow as the evening progresses. The spark may be an incident that illuminates a deep divide among residents and touches emotional nerves. This document identifies for local leaders some considerations for actions that they might take in those critical early moments as well as in the weeks that follow. 

Intensified conflict and increased divisive incidents on campuses parallel the rancorous national political debate. Some portions of society, and therefore of the campus community, may feel disrespected and under attack. These students may become further alienated if others, those who are neither targeted nor most directly affected, seem dismissive when these students speak out.  The considerations in this guide come into play whenever an incident or conflict threatens to hurt or alienate a group of students or increase campus division.

Case Studies

This case study describes the work of Bloomington community leaders as they work with DCP through a community crisis and as they develop a task force on community policing.

This case study describes the work of Winston-Salem community leaders as they work with DCP and the Community Relations Service.


Study 1 illustrates the work of the Rochester Community Response Team, an effort launched through the work of a local dispute resolution center and a local newspaper, which began developing plans for a collective community response to civil unrest.


Study 2 describes Orlando Speaks, a new approach to police-community dialogue developed through a partnership between the City of Orlando, the Orlando Police Department, and Valencia College Peace and Justice Institute.



Study 3 discusses the Peninsula Conflict Resolution Center’s Strengthening Communities Project, convened by a non-profit dispute resolution center in San Mateo County, California.



Study 4 highlights the work of the volunteer Columbus Community Trust, convened with support from the Columbus Bar Association and the John Mercer Langston Bar Association, with support from the local U.S. Attorney’s office.



Study 5 describes Unity in the Community-San Leandro, a group of San Leandro (California) volunteers who convened in response to a series of local hate incidents.



Designed to simulation division in a metropolitan area and tested at the Moritz College of Law, this simulation has been used online and in-person with students at multiple institutions, with Ohio law enforcement leaders, and with community leaders in Canton (OH), Grande Rapids (MI), Winston-Salem (NC), as well as leaders from five state attorney generals offices.  Take a look at the general facts for the full multi-hour simulation or a video of dispute resolution practitioners engaging in the mini-Amory simulation.

Used with hundreds of civic leaders and students across the country, the simulation focuses leaders on strategies for broad-based community planning efforts, while giving students the chance to enhance leadership skills during a crisis.  Here are the simulation’s Midland General Facts.

The following documents are available upon request (they contain confidential information) to DCP Deputy Director Bill Froehlich (

  • Facilitator Instructions for working with community leaders
  • Facilitator Instructions for working with students
  • The complete simulation, including all confidential roles, “injects” and a corresponding PowerPoint

In this video, Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther describes his experience with the simulation.

Modeled after MidlandNew Lake has been used with a law student at the Moritz College of Law.  Here are the simulation’s general facts.

The following documents are available upon request (they contain confidential information) to DCP Deputy Director Bill Froehlich (

  • Facilitator Instructions
  • The complete simulation, including all confidential roles, and a PowerPoint to use with the simulation