On January 2, 2019, Becky Monroe became the second Director of the Divided Community Project. Ms. Monroe comes to the Project with a depth of experience supporting communities in conflict, having served as Counsel and as Interim Director of the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) Community Relations Service, with the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, as a Senior Policy Advisor to the White House Domestic Policy Council, and – most recently – as the Director of the Stop Hate Project at the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law.
Under Ms. Monroe’s direction, DCP now offers communities rapid (free) consultation on processes for addressing community conflict through its new Bridge Initiative @ Moritz. Here’s a slightly edited except from DCP’s website explaining this new initiative:
As readers of this blog recognize, 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 is most valuable, not only in keeping initial protests safe, but also in offering a path toward engaging the entire community in realizing more systemic reform.
DCP’s Bridge Initiative @ Moritz 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.
Along with my DCP colleagues Nancy Rogers and Josh Stulberg, I’m proud to join DCP’s Steering Committee in welcoming Becky to Moritz in time to launch this exciting initiative. In addition to her role with DCP, Ms. Monroe will teach two classes at Moritz related to the work of the Project.
The JAMS Foundation and the Jacques M. Littlefield Foundation, along with the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law provide significant support for the Bridge Initiative @ Moritz and the Divided Community Project.