Capacity Building through Systems Design

Will Reed

Former CRS Mediator, Denver Office

[Full Interview]

Were you able to reduce those hostilities that much in other situations?

Put it this way. That was one of my methods of operation that I went out for. Even though I was attempting to mediate something, I had an agenda myself. And one aspect of that agenda was to try to develop mechanisms, or suggest developing a mechanism within the mediation sessions that will speak to the issue of communication, keeping channels open at all times. And how are you going to do that when you start talking about police brutality? You want to look at doing that. When you start taking about better compliance with city laws or ordinances. When you want to start talking about better garbage collection in a minority community or anyplace else, what better mechanism could you have, or what better organization could you have where police, social workers, school officials and others are coming together with minority leadership once a month instead of letting a crisis develop? To answer your question about the proof that that trust level had been developed was that in some cases, the minority community, and in this case, the Indian community, elected someone they supported to be president of that organization. He served for about five or six years. Then somebody else served. But the idea was that this was ongoing. Here's a communication mechanism that remained open all of these years and it couldn't help but to serve to diffuse tensions as they existed throughout the country. It's the same way in Bingham's Hispanic community. It's the same way. These things came over a pretty long period of time. It took a while to discover how we could come up with something so that CRS didn't have to be back in this town every few weeks. What can you do to help? So instead of allowing somebody to use you as their flunky or something, you come up with a mechanism and in time you facilitated the scene. And if anybody else wanted to be the facilitator, then they'll be a facilitator.