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Community Relations Service


October 27, 2006

Contact: Diane Mitchum
(202) 305-2935


"A veteran mediator of some of this country's most historic civil rights disputes is retiring after more than three decades of service," Sharee Freeman, Director of the Justice Department's Community Relations Service (CRS), announced today.

Ms. Silke M. Hansen, whose exhausting legacy includes mediation work during the Los Angeles riots of 1992 to the explosive Boston desegregation case to refugee assistance in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, will be honored for her service on October 27, 2006, in Denver, Colorado, where she has been assigned to the CRS Regional Office since March 1980, as a Senior Conciliation Specialist.

A native of Hamburg, Germany, Ms. Hansen came to Jersey City, New Jersey, at the age of 10. She graduated from Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts in 1995. She was selected as the college's Alumna of the Year in 1982. After graduation, she worked with the VISTA program in a settlement house in New York's lower west side. She won a fellowship to Fordham University where she received her master's degree in Urban Education.

Ms. Hansen worked in Los Angeles after riots erupted in 1992. She was assigned to the Boston CRS Regional Office when U.S. District Judge W. Arthur Garrity, Jr., presided over the historic desegregation court case. The judge cited Ms. Hansen's assistance in helping to achieve harmonious implementation of the desegregation plans. Noting that CRS had demonstrated extraordinary skill in easing racial tensions and dedication to their mission often in hostile and pressure-packed situations, Judge Garrity said in a letter to the United States Attorney General, "none has surpassed Ms. Hansen in ability or generosity of effort or performance in adversity."

Ms. Hansen was assigned to the Denver CRS Regional Office after serving as a Senior Education Specialist in the CRS Headquarters' Washington, DC office, coordinating the agency's desegregation activities and providing technical assistance to regional Conciliators and school officials. In Denver, she was a founder of the Colorado Council of Mediators and Mediation Organizations (CCMO). She was cited as the Mediator of the Year in 1994 by CCMO.

In Denver, Ms. Hansen was one of the mediators who assisted in an $85 million national agreement between Latino organizations and the Adolph Coors Brewing Company in 1985. Following the mediation, the Latino organizations formed HACER, an organization that today continues to work with corporate America on development of programs for Latinos and other minorities.

Ms. Hansen will be honored by community leaders and organizations she has worked with over the years at a Prayer Service at Park Hill Methodist Church, located at 5209 Montview Boulevard, Denver, Colorado, and a reception in the church's community center following the service on October 27, 2006, at 5:00 p.m.


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Last Update November 6, 2006