Over the past several months, the deaths of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, and others at the hands of law enforcement have sparked movements across the country, bringing to the surface deeply embedded systems of privilege and oppression. Although these events were not unique, they are serving as a catalyst for change, with effects rippling throughout communities who have had enough. Individuals are becoming activists and taking up the simple–but powerful–message that black lives matter.
As these events unfolded, we delved into our clinical work with the Community Relations Service (CRS) of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), the agency tasked with serving as “America’s Peacemaker” for the DOJ. CRS is mandated with helping local communities address conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin and preventing and responding to violent hate crimes as defined by the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Our project consisted of helping CRS determine the conflict resolution needs for the nation over the next 50 years.
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