Keeping the Peace or Making Peace?: A Mediation
by Tim Cooper
Summary written by: Mariya Yevsyukova, Conflict Research Consortium
Citation: "Keeping the Peace or Making Peace?: A Mediation." MCS Conciliation Quarterly. Winter 1991. Vol. 10, No. 1. Pp. 10-11.
Mediation of gang related conflicts is not an ultimate solution to gang violence. There is a need to look deeper inside the issue of why young people turn to gangs. Just signing agreements will not reverse their sense of powerlessness, lack of control over their lives and such social problems as limited opportunities, racism and dysfunctional families. Preoccupation with mediation might lead to resolving "surface conflicts" instead of addressing problems deeply rooted in our society that cause gang behavior (p. 11).
The author provides examples of the work of two pastors. The Reverend Charles Mims and his deacons started working directly with gang members, offering "them friendship, an advocate and the gospel" (p. 10). In 1988, they organized a so-called "gang summit," where representatives of eight gangs participated. Signing a peace agreement was not an ultimate goal but signified the beginning of the reconciliation process between gang members and the society. Mims's goal is to reach these gang members and find a way to bring them back into the society "through classes and one-on-one attention" (p. 10). Luis Samudio, Mennonite Brethren pastor in East L.A., developed a 12-step gang recovery program. He also works with the families of gang members who are going through the program.