Advocacy Groups

An advocacy group interacts across a table

The U.S. Department of Justice's Community Relations Service (CRS) has a long history of working impartially with advocacy groups across the nation in a variety of ways to help support their efforts to:

  • Effectively address hate or bias-motivated crimes and incidents in their communities
  • Improve equitable services and address quality-of-life issues for their constituents
  • Communicate more effectively and in productive collaboration with elected officials, decision-makers, agency heads, and policy developers
  • Cultivate working partnerships with existing leadership and other support service agencies
  • Create a unified vision or mission statement
  • Develop mutually agreed-upon action plans to achieve long- and short-term goals
  • Develop strategies that improve organizational integrity
  • Ensure all members of the advocacy group receive equal treatment
  • Strengthen problem-solving and mediation skills
  • Establish programs to eliminate racial and ethnic misconceptions and resolve conflicts
  • Host community meetings to address issues of concern
  • Build organizational capacity to prevent and respond to conflicts and tensions
  • Effectively address community disturbances, such as protests and demonstrations
  • Assist demonstration organizers with planning, managing, and coordinating safe marches and demonstrations

The Community Relations Service is a conflict resolution agency. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS is the only federal agency dedicated to helping state and local governments, private and public organizations, and community groups prevent and resolve racial and ethnic tensions, civil disorder based on race, color, or national origin, and to address and prevent hate crimes. CRS supports the U.S. Department of Justice in some of its most important missions-providing assistance to state and local authorities in their efforts to prevent violence, resolve destructive conflicts, and promote public safety and ensuring that the rights of individuals are protected. CRS works with police chiefs, mayors, school administrators, other local and state authorities, community-based organizations, and civil and human rights groups to resolve disputes, disagreements, and difficulties relating to discriminatory practices and to prevent and address hate crimes.

CRS' highly skilled conflict resolution specialists-called conciliators-have helped resolve thousands of cases involving excessive use of force incidents, hate crimes, demonstrations, changing community demographics, and many other emotionally charged issues in which disagreement and conflict arise on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. CRS conciliators do not take sides in a dispute, and they do not investigate, prosecute, impose solutions, assign blame, or assess fault. They are required by law to conduct their activities in confidence and without publicity and are prohibited from disclosing confidential information about cases in which they have provided services. Since CRS' activities are federally funded, conciliators are able to offer services without cost. Conciliators deploy to communities nationwide from 14 regional offices. They serve all 50 States and the U.S. Territories.

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