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Organization: Community Mediation, Inc., CM
The following information may be cited or quoted as long as the source is accurately mentioned and the words are not taken out of context.
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PROGRESS: Has your organization seen progress toward a culture of peace and nonviolence in your domain of action and in your constituency during the first half of the Decade?

Community Mediation, Inc. (CM) is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting peace and justice by enabling individuals, groups and communities to resolve their conflicts themselves through mediation and other nonviolent means.  Locally, we provide staff, trained volunteer mediators and other resources to resolve disputes.  CM also offers training and education to broaden the uses of mediation as a valuable tool in conflict resolution.

The major progress we have seen during the first half of the Decade is the continued growth of our Dialogue Project described below.  The dialogues began between local religious congregations, but since 2002 have included dialogues involving a number of local police departments and members of the communities they serve.

OBSTACLES: What are the most important obstacles that have prevented progress?

The major obstacle we face is the lack of adequate and consistent funding for the work we do.

ACTIONS: What actions have been undertaken by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the first half of the Decade?

The DIALOGUE PROJECT (DP) is a collaborative effort between CM and Interfaith Cooperative Ministries, Inc. (ICM), a council of 43 faith communities, including Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Unitarian and Baha’I congregations.  In 1997, CM and ICM established the DP in response to the severe racial tensions created in the greater New Haven community by the tragic shooting of an African-American New Haven resident by a white East Haven police officer as a result of a traffic stop.

During the DP's first six years, more than 2,000 individuals from more than 100 organizations have come together to dialogue and develop actions plans to remedy racial and ethnic discrimination in our community. The DP uses the dialogue model developed by the Study Circles Resource Center located in Pomfret, CT. See www.studycircles.org.  The dialogues usually progress over five sessions, moving from building personal relationships to developing joint action plans. We have held dialogues between believers from all different faiths, community-based dialogues that bring citizens of different racial and socio-economic backgrounds to the same table, and workplace dialogues that enable co-workers to discuss racial issues in a safe and productive environment.

In 2003, the City of New Haven continued to contract with CM to administer a major grant on racial profiling, which the New Haven Department of Police Service (NHPD) had received from the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services of the United States Department of Justice.  In 2003, the Community Justice Dialogue Project (CJDP) brought police officers from East Haven, Hamden, New Haven, Southern Connecticut State University, West Haven and Yale University together with African-American and Latino citizens of New Haven to discuss and develop action plans for addressing the issue of racial profiling.  For more information about the CJDP, see www.cjdp.org.  In addition to these police/citizen dialogues, the CJDP Advisory Board proposed the formation of a new Police Citizens Relations Council to oversee the implementation of action steps developed during the CJDP-sponsored dialogues.  

In June 2003, CM and ICM jointly hired a new DP Coordinator Sharon Stoyer, who had been working as a CJDP intern.  In 2003, in addition to the CJDP dialogues, Sharon coordinated a number of other dialogues.  At Wilbur Cross High School in New Haven, dialogue participants focused on how to get more parents of African-American and Latino students involved with the PTO.  At Southern Connecticut State University, the dialogue involving college students and campus police focused on bridging the gap between student life and law enforcement.  Another youth-oriented dialogue brought together 17 African American and Caucasian students from the Makom Community Hebrew High School in Woodbridge and the Hill Regional Career High School in New Haven.  Finally, approximately 20 congregants from the Muhammad Islamic Center and the Unitarian Society of New Haven held an interfaith dialogue series.


The Dialogue Project in Hamden.

The Dialogue Project in Hamden.

The Dialogue Project in East Haven.

ADVICE: What advice would you like to give to the Secretary-General and the General Assembly to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence during the second half of the Decade?

I would recommend that the Secretary General and the General Assembly urge member states to provide more funding for initiatives and organizations promoting the culture of peace and nonviolence.

PARTNERSHIPS: What partnerships and networks does your organization participate in, thus strengthening the global movement for a culture of peace?

National Association for Community Mediation
National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation
Study Circles Resource Center
Interfaith Cooperative Ministries, Inc.

PLANS: What new engagements are planned by your organization to promote a culture of peace and nonviolence in the second half of the Decade (2005-2010)?


Postal address of organization

134 Grand Avenue New Haven CT 06513

E-mail address of organization

mail@community-mediation.org

Website address of organization

www.community-mediation.org

Highest priority action domain of a culture of peace

Understanding, tolerance, solidarity

Second priority action domain of a culture of peace

Democratic participation

Highest priority country of action (or international)

United States

Second priority country of action (or international)

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Organization: Community Mediation, Inc., CM

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