U.S. Department of Justice
Community Relations Service



Conducting a Discussion on Race


CRS Seal



Revised September 2003

The Community Relations Service

The Community Relations Service (CRS) is a U.S. Department of Justice component created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to help resolve community racial conflict through non-coercive, third party intervention. CRS is called upon to assist communities to resolve disputes arising from biases of race, color, and national origin. As a result, agency conciliators have developed extensive experience in issues associated with racial and ethnic conflict.

CRS provides a wide range of informal assistance that attempts to keep communications open among affected parties and to facilitate a mutually acceptable resolution of community racial conflict. Facilitating Community Dialogues on Race is one of the creative ways in which CRS opens lines of communication and helps the community resolve its own racial problems. In addition, CRS conducts formal mediated negotiations to help resolve differences. CRS offers its services either upon request or on its own initiative, when there is a threat of disruption to peaceful community relations.

The Community Relations Service is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and has Regional Offices in Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Seattle. Assistance may be requested directly from any of these offices.


Table of Contents

1. Characteristics of Community Dialogues on Race

2. Getting Started-Steps in Organizing a Dialogue

3. Conducting an Effective Community Dialogue on Race

4. The Role of the Dialogue Leader


A. Additional Resources

1. A Sample Small Group Dialogue
2. The Difference Between Debate and Dialogue
3. Examples of Racial Reconciliation from Across the Nation
4. Quotes on Race Relations

B. Additional Questions for the Four Phases of Dialogue

C. Directory of Resource Organizations


1. Characteristics of Community Dialogues on Race

What do we mean by dialogue?

A dialogue is a forum that draws participants from as many parts of the community as possible to exchange information face-to-face, share personal stories and experiences, honestly express perspectives, clarify viewpoints, and develop solutions to community concerns.

Unlike debate, dialogue emphasizes listening to deepen understanding (see Appendix A, "The Difference Between Debate and and Dialogue"). Dialogue invites discovery. It develops common values and allows participants to express their own interests. it expects that participants will grow in understanding and may decide to act together with common goals. In dialogue, participants can question and reevaluate their assumptions. Through this process, people are learning to work together to improve race relations.

What makes for successful interracial dialogue?

The nature of the dialogue process can motivate people to work towards change (see Appendix A, "Examples of Race Reconciliation from Across the Nation"). Effective dialogues do the following:



2. Getting Started-Steps in Organizing a Dialogue

Below are some basic questions and possible answers to help you think about organizing a dialogue on race. They are meant to be a starting place. Answering these questions will help you better understand the purpose and potential of your effort. You may wish to use the worksheet following these lists to sketch a profile of your own community. More detailed steps follow these "brainstorming" questions.

Think about your community.

What's going on in our community that a dialogue on race could address?

Some possibilities-

Think about your goals.

If there were a dialogue on race here, what would be its goals?

Some possibilities-

Think about who should be included.

Who should be in the dialogue?

Some possibilities-

Think about what format to use.

What type of discussion should we have?

Some possibilities-


Worksheet to Create Your Own
Community Profile

1. What's going on in our community that a dialogue on race would address?






2. If there were a dialogue on race here, what would be its goals?






3. Who should be in the dialogue?






4. What format should we use?







Now make some choices.

You don't have to be an expert to have an honest conversation about race. But as someone who is considering organizing a dialogue, you do have several choices ranging from the very simple to the somewhat complex. At the simple end, you can gather together a small group of friends, neighbors, or schoolmates to talk informally about race. This approach can be a constructive beginning, but will likely not produce much long-term community or institutional change. Another option is to pair existing community groups for a dialogue on race. This approach can have a larger effect on the community, depending on the groups involved. You could also create new groups from your community and bring them together for conversations on race aimed at community change. Whatever your approach, for a lasting impact on the larger community, it is a good idea to think about how you will sustain the project before you begin.

Dialogue may start at many levels and in many ways. While the guidance provided below can be adapted for the small "ad-hoc" gathering, it is generally intended for a larger effort (see figure below). The resource directory in Appendix C is a good place to locate help in organizing a dialogue on race. You should now be ready to tackle the following questions.

1. Who should be involved?

Form a planning group. If you are organizing an informal dialogue with friends, neighbors, or co-workers, for example, then the planning group may consist of just you and one or two others. However, if you are planning a more ambitious effort, then you will want to have a planning group of six or eight people who represent different backgrounds, professions, and viewpoints. Once you've assembled the group together, discuss your approach. You will need to spend enough time together to build a level of trust. This group will be the nucleus that drives the process and should "model" the kind of relationships and openness that you hope to see in the overall effort. Meeting in each other's homes can be a great way to get to know one another.

Look for other groups with which to partner. Having good partners is important for long-term success. Look for people who are already working to improve race relations and who have experiences to share. Good partners may be able to provide useful information and organizational resources. You will greatly increase your outreach to the community as well. Groups from different racial, ethnic, or religious communities can make good partners and offer networking possibilities. Such groups may include religious leaders, law enforcement, small business owners, elected officials, and various nonprofit organizations.

2. What's Happening in My Community?

Think about the needs of your community. Take an inventory. What problems do you see in the community that are related to race and ethnicity? What are the critical issues? If things are really going to change, who needs to be part of the dialogue? Who are the individuals or groups not talking to each other? What role do language barriers play in groups not talking to each other? Are there people who should be allies, who may be doing similar work, but who are competing rather than working together? What are some of the consequences of racial divisions?

3. What do you want to accomplish?

Develop a vision for your community. What is special about your community? What do the different neighborhoods or groups offer that is unique? Are there particular issues that need to be heard? Remember, difficulties faced honestly can become assets. And the most unlikely people may hold the key to farreaching success.

Establish short-, medium-, and long-term goals. Racial reconciliation may not happen overnight, but it is important to set some attainable goals that the group can work towards together. Look for "hinge issues" around which coalitions may form-education, housing, public transportation, and safety, for example. Where possible, create task forces to study specific needs and to work on concrete action plans. This approach will keep key business and civic leaders at the table.

4. How many dialogues should take place and for how long?

Again, the answer to this question depends on what you want to accomplish. Dialogues can go from one session of two hours to a series of sessions lasting indefinitely. For example, if your goal is simply to get people you know to come together and have a conversation about race, you may only want to do one session, perhaps in your home following a social event or community function. At the other end of the spectrum, if your goal is to create institutional change in your community, you may want to launch a series of dialogues involving broad community representation. Such an effort will require partnering with other groups in the community and seeking out support services.

5. What additional planning issues might you consider?

Recruit participants. To ensure the right balance for your group(s), you may need to consider the following: First, "Which voices need to be included?" Answering that question will ensure the racial, ethnic, and religious diversity necessary for successful dialogues. Then, "Who is missing?" That answer will steer you towards others who need to be involved. Other people to contact are those in uninvolved or unaffiliated groups who, while a visible part of the community, may be harder to reach through traditional means. Generate interest by doing the following:

Consider logistics issues. These may include:

6. How do I/we conduct the dialogue?

The critical components include welcoming participants and having them introduce themselves; setting out the dialogue's purpose; establishing ground rules; promoting discussion through thoughtful questions, visual media, or other materials; and periodically summarizing and evaluating the dialogue (see Section 3, "Conducting an Effective Community Dialogue on Race").

7. How well did we do?

Document and evaluate the project. Keep a record of the individuals and groups who take part in the dialogues and of how well the discussions go. Include such things as number of participants, group composition (multiracial, youth, church, community, etc.), main topics discussed, how productive the discussions were, how they might have been improved, and other thoughts. This will allow you to see how attitudes and perceptions have changed and whether changes need to be made in the dialogue format. Emphasize that what participants share during the dialogue will not be attributed to them in any official record or document.

Have participants evaluate the dialogue. Depending on their goals, each group will evaluate the dialogue, whether a single session or a series, after it is over. Evaluations can be written and/or expressed verbally. You may wish to distribute a short evaluation form to elicit participant feedback and to measure the impact of the dialogue. Such a form might include questions such as the following:

8. What's the next step?

Hold an annual public event to celebrate achievements, evaluate effectiveness, and invite new participants.

Expand the team. As the dialogues develop, include representatives of all major areas (politics, different faiths, education, business, media, etc.). With them, you may want to create a statement about your community, its history, the challenges it faces today, and your collective vision for the future.



3. Conducting an Effective Community Dialogue on Race

The racial dialogue has four phases.

The dialogue design presented here contains four phases that have proven useful in moving participants through a natural process from sharing individual experiences to gaining a deeper understanding of those experiences to committing to collective action. Whether meeting for one dialogue session or a series of sessions, participants move through all four phases, exploring and building on shared experiences. The first phase sets the tone and explores the question Who Are We? through the sharing of personal stories. The second phase helps participants understand Where Are We? through a deeper exploration of personal and shared racial history in the community. During the third phase, participants develop a vision for the community, in response to the question Where Do We Want To Be? In the fourth phase, participants answer the question, What Will We Do As Individuals and With Others To Make A Difference? Often, they discover shared interests and start working together on specific projects.

Note: Throughout this section, a sample script for the dialogue leader is noted in italics. A onepage overview of a sample small group dialogue is offered in Appendix A. Many dialogue leaders will want to read through the suggested questions in this section, then develop questions tailored to the needs of their particular groups. If your group is composed of people who are experienced discussing complex racial issues with each other, the quotes in Appendix A may be useful to quickly articulate a range of perspectives about race and to stimulate discussion. A set of additional questions for each of the four dialogue phases can be found in Appendix B.

You are ready to begin the dialogue.

Phase I: Who Are We?

This phase sets the tone and context for the dialogue, which begins with the sharing of personal stories and experiences. In addition to serving an ice-breaking function, this kind of personal sharing helps to level the playing field among participants and improve their understanding by hearing each others' experiences.

Welcome, Introduction and Overview

(Suggested time 15 minutes)

It's not always easy to talk about race relations. A commitment to the dialogue process-open, thoughtful, focused-will help us make progress. Your presence here shows you want to help improve race relations in this community, and just being here is an important step.

Starting the Dialogue

Often the most difficult part of talking about race is getting started. People may feel uncomfortable at first and hesitant about expressing their personal beliefs. To get people talking, it may help to relate personal stories or anecdotes, or to bring up a race-related incident that has occurred within the community.

Let's begin by looking at the first question: Who Are We? By listening to one another's personal stories, we can gain insights into our own beliefs and those of others, and come to new understandings of the issues we face. By sharing our personal experiences, we can learn more about each other as individuals and about how we have been influenced by our racial and/or ethnic origins. We can also shed light on our different perceptions and understandings of race relations.

Phase II: Where Are We?

This phase explores questions that highlight our different experiences and different perceptions about the kinds of problems our society is facing with regard to race. This phase is about people expressing their different understandings about race, then exploring the underlying conditions producing them. It centers on the idea that it makes sense to talk about what we are facing before we talk about solutions. By the end of this phase, participants should have identified the themes, issues, and problems in their community.

Let's turn now to our second question: Where Are We? The purpose of this section is to look at our current experiences of race and ethnicity and to discuss the state of race relations in our community. Since this is the part where we really get down to business as far as identifying the underlying causes of any racial issues in our community, the discussion may get a little heated at times. It is okay to feel uncomfortable, as that is part of the difficult process of making change.

Phase III: Where Do We Want To Go?

The goal of this phase is to move away from the "me" and get people to think and talk about possible directions for change. In this segment, participants begin to build their collective vision. They first identify what would be a part of that vision and then "brainstorm" about how they could all help to build it (suggest "we" statements be used). By the end of this session, participants should have identified accomplishments, barriers to overcome, and opportunities for further action.

Let's turn our attention to the question, Where Do We Want To Go? We share a common desire to improve race relations so let's talk about what we mean by that and explore specific things we might do to achieve that goal.


Phase IV. What Will We Do, As Individuals and With Others, To Make a Difference?

The purpose of this session is to begin a productive conversation on specific actions that individuals will take, by themselves or with others, to make a difference in their communities. This session presents a range of concrete actions for change.

While the racial issues we are facing in our communities sometimes seem overwhelming, it is possible to make a difference. By participating in this dialogue, you have already crossed the racial divide looking for better understanding and strategies that work. The purpose of this session is to draw out ideas for steps we can take-as individuals, in groups, and as a whole community-to face the challenge of race-related issues.



4. The Role of the Dialogue Leader

The dialogue leader's role is an important one that requires especially good listening skills and knowledge of when not to talk. The dialogue leader must also help set and follow ground rules for participation in the dialogue. Establishing rules helps to create a safe environment for openness and sharing. The dialogue leader's basic responsibility is to the group as a whole, while also considering each person's individuality and level of comfort.

Leading a dialogue is an intensive activity requiring a high level of alertness and awareness. That is why dialogues are often conducted by two or more leaders. It may be particularly valuable to have co-leaders who are of a different race or ethnic background and gender. Co-leadership can help to balance the dialogue and "model" the type of collaboration you hope to encourage.

Discussion leaders are critical to making the dialogue work.

While the leader of a dialogue does not need to be an "expert" or even the most knowledgeable person in the group on the topic being discussed, he or she should be the best prepared for the discussion. It is up to the dialogue leader to keep the group moving forward, using phrases that enhance conversations and encourage discussion. This means understanding the goals of the dialogue, thinking ahead of time about the directions in which the discussion might go, and preparing questions to help the group tackle their subject. The dialogue leader guides the process to ensure that it stays on track and avoids obstacles that could derail it. While the discussion leader guides the dialogue, he or she is also impartial in it, that is, not favoring one

person or point of view and not adding personal opinion. The dialogue leader lets the participants dictate the flow of the discussion. Solid preparation will enable you to give your full attention to how the participants are relating to each other and to what they are saying.

The dialogue leader plays several roles.

At the start of the session, remind everyone that the purpose is to have an open, honest, and cooperative dialogue, and that your role as leader is to remain neutral, keep the discussion focused, and follow the ground rules. Before the discussion begins, help the participants establish ground rules and ensure that all participants are willing to follow them. Ground rules must emphasize respect, listening, honesty and the importance of sharing time equitably. Stress the importance of respecting different opinions and perspectives. You might post the following sample ground rules on a flip chart, or give one sample ground rule and ask the group to come up

Suggested Basic Ground Rules for Dialogues
Some basic ground rules for dialogues might include the following:
  • We will respect confidentiality.
  • We will share time equitably to ensure the participation of all.
  • We will listen carefully and not interrupt.
  • We will keep an open mind and be open to learning.
  • We will not be disrespectful of the speaker even when we do not respect the views.

with more. You could then ask, "Are there any questions about these ground rules? Can we all agree to them before we continue?

The following tips describe what a good dialogue leader should strive to do:

Here's how to handle some challenging situations.

The best method for handling challenging situations is to anticipate them and be prepared. Each interracial dialogue is a unique experience, providing new opportunities for the discussion leader. Even those who have been facilitators for many years are often faced with new problems requiring on-the-spot creative action. There are no certain answers; sometimes groups just do not go well, and other times all participants seem engaged and satisfied. The following scenarios present some possible challenges to the dialogue leader and offer some guidelines for handling them.


The group is slow to respond to the process.

How to Handle It: Check to determine whether your directions have been understood. You may need to restate the purpose of the process and how it should be carried out. You may also have people who resist participating because of "power" issues in the group. If so, invite them to participate to the degree they feel comfortable. Assure them that the purpose of the process is to share different insights, experiences, and personal reflections on the topic. However the members choose to participate is valuable. It is also important to make sure members are physically comfortable.


One or a few members dominate the dialogue.

How to Handle It: The instructions you give to participants about respecting time limits are helpful. Invite participants to be conscious of each person having time to share his or her reflections, ideas, and insights. It may be helpful to invoke the ground rule "It is important to share time equitably" when a few individuals dominate the discussion. Another solution is to tell the group you want to hear from those who have not said much. Participants will look to you to restrain domineering members. Sometimes, this situation happens when those dominating the dialogue feel they have not been heard. Restating the essence of what they've expressed can show that you have understood their point of view.


The dialogue leader feels strongly about an issue and has trouble staying unbiased.

How to Handle It: The dialogue leader needs to remain on task, which is to guide the process and to elicit and respect all members' thoughts. If leaders really respect the views of others, show interest and curiosity for other experiences and viewpoints, it will not be difficult to keep personal ideas from over-influencing the dialogue. This is not to say that the dialogue leader never shares with the members in the process. However, you must guard against moving from a discussion leader into a "teacher/ lecturer" mode.


A participant walks out of a group following a heated conflict.

How to Handle It: Sometimes the conversation may become heated. Other times, people may seem to be on the verge of fighting; and sometimes they may even walk out. The best way to deal with conflict is to confront it directly. Remind participants that they were told initially to expect conflict but that they agreed to respond to differences respectfully. The dialogue leader should always stop name-calling, personal attacks, and threats. This is one situation where you should readily appeal to the group for support. If they accepted the ground rules, they will support you.



The Community Relations Service (CRS) is indebted to six organizations which has shared their expertise and experience in the development of this guide. We asked them to join us in a collaborative process to develop a practical "starter" guide for communities interested in race dialogues. By so willingly sharing their best thinking and practice about dialogues on race, they have helped create a document which will be useful to local communities and organizations across the nation.

These organizations and their representatives are:

Hope in the Cities: Robert L. Corcoran, National Director and Reverend Paige L. Charigois

National Conference for Community and Justice: Wayne Winborne, Director of Program and Policy Research

National Days of Dialogue: Theo Brown, National Coordinator

National MulitCultural Institute: Zachary Green, Senior Associate and Manny Brandt, Lead Trainer

Study Circles Resource Center: Sarah L. Campbell, Deputy Director

YWCA of the USA: Carmen Rivera, Training Director

Representatives of the Community Relations Service designed, staffed, and facilitated the collaborative process resulting in this dialogue guide. To the following, we appreciate their special leadership and guidance:

Jonathan Chace, Associate Director
Patricia Glenn, Regional Director
Silke Hansen, Acting Regional Director
Stephen Thom, Senior Conciliation Specialist
Martin Walsh, Regional Director
Ron Wong, Special Assistant to the Director
Gale Farquhar, Policy Analyst




A. Additional Resources

1. A Sample Small Group Dialogue
2. The Difference Between Debate and Dialogue
3. Examples of Racial Reconciliation from Across the Nation
4. Quotes on Race Relations

B. Additional Questions for the Four Phases of Dialogue

C. Directory of Resource Organizations

Appendix A1.
A Sample Small Group Dialogue

The following is an overview of a generic small group dialogue. This format is based on a group of 8 to 15 participants, guided by an impartial leader using discussion materials or questions. As a rule, adults meet for two hours at a time; young people for an hour to an hour and a half.

1. Introductions, roles, and intentions of the dialogue. The session begins with group members briefly introducing themselves after the dialogue leader has welcomed everyone. The dialogue leader explains his or her role as "neutral," one of guiding the discussion without adding personal opinions. It is important to include an overview of the dialogue effort, the number of meetings planned, the organizers, the goals of the program, and any other relevant information.

2. Ground rules. Central to the opening dialogue is establishing ground rules for the group's behavior and discussion. Start with a basic list and add any others the group wants to include. Post the ground rules where everyone can see them, and remember that you can add more to the list as needed. The group should be sure to discuss how to handle conflict and disagreement, as well as the need for confidentiality.

3. Discussion. Begin by asking participants what attracted them to this dialogue, perhaps asking, "Why are you concerned about issues of race?" or "How have your experiences or concerns influenced your opinions about race?" The heart of the discussion follows. Members can answer a series of questions, use prepared discussion materials with various viewpoints, read newspaper articles or editorials, look at television clips, or review information on the state of race relations in their community. Whatever method is selected, it is important to structure the discussion so that it goes somewhere, is grounded in concrete examples, and offers participants a chance to take action on the issues. Dialogue participants may get frustrated if they feel the conversation is too abstract, too vague, or "going around in circles."

The dialogue leader will keep track of how the discussion is going. Is it time for a clarifying question or a summary of key points? Are all members fully engaged, or are some people dominating? Is the discussion wandering and calling for a change in direction? The participants can summarize the most important results of their discussion and consider what action they might take individually or together.

4. Evaluation and conclusion. In the final minutes, participants can offer their thoughts on the experience. If meeting again, this is the time to look ahead to the next meeting. If this is the last dialogue, thank the participants and ask for any final thoughts for staying involved in the effort. Participant evaluations of the dialogue can be expressed verbally and/or in writing. It may also be helpful for dialogues to be loosely recorded, if possible. Such documentation could help to measure the success of the dialogue and identify any needed improvements.

Appendix A2.
The Difference Between Debate and Dialogue

Debate Dialogue Dialogue
is oppositional: two sides oppose each other
and attempt to prove each other wrong.
is collaborative: two or more sides work together towards common understanding.
has winning as the goal. has finding common ground as the goal.
lets one side listen to the other side in order to find flaws and to counter its arguments. lets one side listen to the other side to understand.
defends assumptions as the truth reveals assumptions for reevaluation.
causes critique of the other position. causes introspection of one's own position.
defends one's own positions as the best solution and excludes other solutions. opens the possibility of reaching a better solution than any of the original solutions.
Creates a closed-minded attitude, a determination to be right. creates an open-minded attitude, an openness to being wrong and an openness to change.
prompts a search for glaring differences. prompts a search for basic agreements.
involves a countering of other position without focusing on feelings or relationship and often belittles or deprecates the other person. involves a real concern for the other person and does not seek to alienate or offend.


Appendix A3.
Examples of Racial Reconciliation From Across the Nation

Many positive efforts are taking place around our country to promote good race relations. Dialogue is one powerful tool to this end. Below are several examples of positive results achieved through dialogue and other efforts.

In Lima, Ohio... a mayor concerned about racial tensions in his community brought together area ministers to talk about organizing a dialogue. Two churches agreed to start a unifying process by holding a study circle, with help from the local college in training discussion leaders. Four years later, more than 100 organizations, including 62 religious congregations and over 3,000 people, are involved. Results range from volunteer efforts, like a multiracial unity choir, to community-wide collaborations on violence prevention and a city-wide plan for hiring people of color.

In Buffalo, New York... a series of highly publicized dialogues took place with students and educators from a wide band of cultural, racial, and ethnic communities. The dialogues involved students from six city schools and six suburban schools. Over the course of a school year, representatives from each of the 12 schools came together to discuss issues related to race, ethnicity, faith, and culture. Students now function as peer trainers, taking the lessons learned to their respective peers and recruiting the next round of participants. The dialogue and action plan focus on understanding and valuing differences within schools, and on identifying and teaching strategies for understanding and valuing diversity across school and community boundaries.

In Richmond, Virginia ... a citizens group inspired its political and business leaders to host "an honest conversation on race, reconciliation and responsibility." At this event, residents came together to "walk through" their different racial histories.... High school teachers and counselors responded to their students' request for dialogue and offered their support as discussion leaders. Students from public and private schools, the inner city, and affluent suburbs signed up. These young people-normally separated by race, income, and geography-would meet once a week for six weeks at different locations in and around the city... A couple invited a diverse group of friends to a pot-luck dinner at their home to talk about racial healing. More than 40 people showed up. It was so successful that the group decided to meet monthly, each time in a different home. They invited the police chief, a county supervisor, a newspaper editor, and other local leaders to take part as informal guest speakers.

In Orlando, Florida ... a town meeting, telecast live by a PBS affiliate, focused on questions of immigration and community-a volatile issue causing deep divisions among people there. It was attended by business leaders and average citizens of all ethnic, gender, age, religious, cultural, and political groups in Central Florida. The meeting prompted more than 200 Central Floridians to participate in concurrent "home dialogues," where groups of 5-10 individuals meet face-to-face on the same day to discuss the challenges of race, culture, and ethnicity in their lives. The number of people wishing to participate in home dialogues increased to more than 300.

In Des Moines, Iowa ... leaders from various communities and faiths gathered for serious discussion and debate on issues of concern to residents. Subsequent conversations explored these and other issues, such as the effect of corporate downsizing on race relations in Des Moines. Each of the conversations involved community residents, students, and other civic leaders. The dialogues prompted specific actions-participants are exploring potential projects on which a coalition of individuals and organizations could work. Building on the interest and excitement generated by the dialogue series, ongoing, more clearly focused dialogues identified common ground, common concerns, common values, and resulted in a redefinition of community.


Appendix A4.
Quotes on Race Relations

The questions for each of the four phases in the text and Appendix B have been designed to provide guidance for groups of people who do not know each other well and who do not necessarily have a great deal of experience talking about racial issues. However, if your group is composed of people who are experienced in discussing complex racial issues with each other, the following quotes (taken from actual race dialogues) may be useful to quickly articulate a range of perspectives about race and to stimulate discussion.

"I'm for equality, but people have to take responsibility for their own lives.
You can't blame everything on racism."

"It's not racism at all. It's just fear of crime. I think people are afraid.
I know I am. Does that make me a racist?"

"Native people are an afterthought in the dialogue on race in this country.
It's as if everybody has decided we just don't matter. Well, we do matter."

"I don't see color, I just see the person."

"Colorblindness is not the answer, it just means you can't deal with my race
so you want to blot it out and say I am exactly like you."

"When people look at me, they assume I don't speak English,
but my family has lived in Texas for five generations. In fact, I don't speak Spanish."

"I'm not entirely comfortable about being here,
but if I'm not willing to be here nothing is going to change."

"We need to realize that people within each race are individuals
who don't necessarily share the same views or interests."


Appendix B.
Additional Questions for the Four Dialogue Phases

The following questions may be used to guide participants through each phase of a dialogue. Whether meeting for one session or a series of sessions, participants should progress through all four dialogue phases. The questions are organized under each phase according to how many sessions are planned. For each dialogue phase, select the question set(s) to fit your format.

Phase I-Who Are We?

For 1 Session:

For 2-3 Sessions (consider these):

For 4 or More Sessions (consider these):

Phase II-Where Are We?

For 1 Session:

For 2-3 Sessions (consider these):

For 4 or More Sessions (consider these):

Phase III-Where Do We Want To Go?

For 1 Session:

For 2-3 Sessions (consider these):

For 4 or More Sessions (consider these):

Phase IV-What Will We Do, As Individuals and With Others, To Make A Difference?

For 1 Session:

For 2-3 Sessions (consider these):

For 4 or More Sessions (consider these):


Appendix C.
Directory of Resource Organizations

The descriptions below were written by the respective organizations, which are grouped as either "Partnering Organizations" those with whom one might put on a dialogue or "Educational Resource Organizations" those offering additional information that may be helpful to organizing and conducting an effective dialogue. The Directory is not intended to capture every organization engaged in this typed of work, but to serve as a starting point for those seeking dialogue and related resources.

Partnering Organizations
Anti-Defamation League
823 United Nations Plaza
New York, NY 10017
Tel: 212/490-2525. Fax: 212/867-0779.
Webpage: www.adl.org

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL), founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract prejudice, bigotry, and all forms of bias-motivated hatred. The ADL Materials Resource Center offers extensive materials on prejudice, discrimination, ethnicity, stereotyping, and scapegoating. It also offers other tools designed to help schools and communities teach and learn about diversity and enhance understanding of different groups. The ADL Education Division and it's a World of Difference Institute offer prejudice-reduction training for schools, colleges and universities, the workplace, and the community.

Hope in the Cities
1103 Sunset Avenue
Richmond, VA 23221
Tel: 804/358-1764. Fax: 804/358-1769.
Email: Hopecities@aol.com

Hope in the Cities is an interracial, multifaith national network which seeks to encourage a process of healing through honest conversations on race, reconciliation, and responsibility. It focuses specifically on the acknowledgment and healing of racial history, the sustaining of dialogues involving people of all races and viewpoints, and the acceptance of personal responsibility for the process of change. Hope in the Cities assists communities in building diverse coalitions with people in business, government, media, education, and religious and community organizations. Resources include a video, Healing the Heart of America, and a dialogue series bases on A Call to Community, which has been endorsed by more than 100 national and local leaders as a basis for conversation. A recently produced Community Resource Manual documents process steps and case studies.

National MultiCultural Institute
3000 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 438
Washington, DC 20007
Tel: 202/483-0700. Fax: 202/483-5233.
E-mail: nmci@nmci.org
Webpage: www.nmci.org

The National MultiCultural Institute (NMCI) is a private, non-profit organization founded in 1983 to promote understanding and respect among people of different racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds. NMCI provides a forum for discussing the critical issues of multiculturalism through biannual conferences, diversity training and consulting, special projects, resource materials, and a multilingual mental health referral network. NMCI provides training and technical assistance on all aspects of organizing and facilitating dialogue groups.

Study Circles Resource Center
697 A Pomfret Street
P.O. Box 203
Pomfret, CT 06258
Tel: 860/928-2616. Fax: 860/928-3713.
Webpage: www.studycircles.org

The goal of the Study Circles Resource Center (SCRC) is to advance deliberative democracy and improve the quality of public life in the United States. SCRC helps communities use study circles-small, democratic, highly particpatory discussions-to involve large numbers of citizens in public dialogue and problem solving on critical issues such as race, crime, education, youth issues, and American diversity. Through dialogue on matters of public concern, citizens gain ownership of issues and see themselves as people who can effect change at the local level. In the area of race relations, SCRC works with community leaders at every stage of creating community wide study circle programs-helping organizers network between communities, working to develop strong coalitions withing communities, and providing free discussion materials and comprehensive technical assistance at no cost. More than 50 communities across the nation are currently involved in planning and implementing study circle programs on race relations. SCRC is a project of Topsfield Foundation.

Project Victory
1322 18th Street, NW #26
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202/822-8700.

Project Victory is an educational organization that provides training on dialogue and conflict resolution for a wide variety of groups. Project Victory has also helped to organize dialogues on race relations in many locations around the country and was one of the main organizations that helped to create National Days of Dialogue on Race Relations, which took place in January 1998.

National Conference for Community and Justice
70 West 36 St, Suite 1004
New York, NY 10018
Tel: 212/967-3111. Fax: 212/967-9112.
Email: mcoffey@nccj.org
Webpage: www.nccjgnyr.org

The National Conference for Community and Justice (NCCJ) founded as The National Conference of Christians and Jews in 1927, is a human relations organization dedicated to fighting bias, bigotry, and racism in America NCCJ promotes understanding and respect among all races, religions, and cultures through advocacy, conflict resolution, and education. NCCJ has 65 regional offices in 35 states and the District of Columbia. NCCJ works to accomplish its mission through four program areas: Community, Workplace, Youth and Emerging Leadership and Interfaith. Sample NCCJ programs include Community Dialogues-forums taking place at the local and regional level that create a space for honest and open exchange of ideas on critical issues related to race and ethnicity. These are targeted at a cross section of leadership and grassroots community members. Youth residential programs provide a set of experiential activities for high school age youth aimed at reducing prejudice and developing leadership skills.

Educational Resource Organizations

U.S. Department of Justice
Community Relations Service
600 E. Street, NW
Suite 6000
Washington, DC 20530
Tel: 202/305-2935. Fax: 202/305-3009.
Webpage: www.usdoj.gov/crs

The Community Relations Service (CRS), a component of the U. S. Department of Justice, is a specialized federal conciliation service available to state and local officials to help resolve and prevent racial and ethnic conflict, violence, and civil disorder. When governors, mayors, police chiefs, and school superintendents need help to defuse racial or ethnic crises, they turn to CRS. For more than 30 years, CRS has been asked to provide its experience mediators to help local communities settle destructive conflicts and disturbances relating to race, color, or national origin. CRS relies solely on impartial mediation practices and established conflict resolution procedures to help local leaders resolve problems and restore community stability. It has no law enforcement authority and does not impose solutions, investigate or prosecute cases, or assign blame or fault. CRS mediators are required by law to conduct their activities in confidence, without publicity, and are prohibited from disclosing confidential information.

Educators for Social Responsibility
23 Garden Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
Tel: 1800/370-2515. Fax: 617/864-5164.
Webpage: www.esrnational.org

Educators for Social Responsibility's (ESR) primary mission is to help young people develop the convictions and skills to shape a safe, sustainable, and just world. ESR is a leading national center for staff development, school improvement, curricular resources, and support for schools, families, and children. ESR works with adults to advance teaching social responsibility as a core practice in the schooling ad upbringing of children. ESR is recognized nationally for its leadership in conflict resolution, violence prevention, intergroup relations, and character education. The Resolving Conflict Creatively Program, an initiative of ESR, is one of the largest and longest running programs in conflict resolution and intergroup relations in the country.

Project Change
Tides Center
P.O. Box 29907
San Francisco, CA 94129
Tel: 415/561-6400.

Project Change is a funding initiative aimed at helping communities reduce racial prejudice and improve race relations. Working closely with community-based coalitions in selected communities, Project Change seeks to develop locally driven strategies to reduce the incidence of racism as well as to dismantle the institutional structures that sustain its effects. In each community, the project begins with a planning stage, bringing together a task force composed of local citizens from the public, private, and nonprofit sectors, reflective of the demographics of the community. Then the project moves into a three-year active phase, followed by a two-year transition phase, if warranted.

National Coalition Building Institute
1835 K Street, NW Suite 201
Washington, DC 20006
Tel: 202/296-3610.
Email: ncbidc@aol.com

This organization engages mostly in doing workshops on prejudice reduction and training in conflict resolution. It has expanded its repertoire by using a system called controversial issue process to help reduce differences by helping combatants "reframe the issue in a way that builds bridges."

Teaching Tolerance
400 Washington Ave.
Montgomery, AL 36104
Tel: 334/264-0286. Fax: 334/264-3121.
Website: www.splcenter.org

Teaching Tolerance, a project of the Southern Poverty law Center, produces a semi-annual magazine (free to teachers) and multimedia resource materials (free to schools) to help educators address racial narrow-mindedness. Recent titles include Starting Small: Teaching Tolerance in Preschool and the Early Grades and The Shadow of Hate: A History of Intolerance in America.

Public Dialogue Consortium
504 Luna Blvd. NW
Albuquerque, NM 87102-1930
Tel: 505/246-9890.
Email: stephen@publicdialogue.org
Webpage: www.publicdialogue.org

The Public Dialogue Consortium (PDC) is a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to help individuals and groups find new and better ways of communicating in a complex, dynamic, and diverse society. PDC's special interest in developing better ways for the public to be involved in dialogue with each other and with government officials about public issues. For more than two years, PDC has led a public dialogue process about "cultural richness" and "community safety" in Cupertino, California. In addition, PDC members have facilitated and taught facilitation skills for public dialogue throughout the United States and in other countries.



CRS National Office

Community Relations Service
600 E Street, NW, Suite 6000
Washington, D.C. 20530
202/305-3009 (FAX)

Regional Offices

New England Regional Office (Region I)
(ME, VT, NH, MA, CT, RI)
Community Relations Service
408 Atlantic Avenue, Suite 222
Boston, MA 02110
617/424-5727 (FAX)

Northeast Regional Office
(Region II)
(NY, NJ, VI, PR)
Community Relations Service
26 Federal Plaza, Suite 36-118
New York, NY 10278
212/264-2143 (FAX)

Mid-Atlantic Regional Office (Region III)
( DC, DE, MD, PA, VA, WV)
Community Relations Service
2nd and Chestnut Streets, Suite 208
Philadelphia, PA 19106
215/597-9148 (FAX)

Southeast Regional Office
(Region IV)
(AL, FL, GA, KY, MS, NC, SC, TN)
Community Relations Service
75 Piedmont Ave, NE, Suite 900
Atlanta, GA 30303
404/331-4471 (FAX)

Midwest Regional Office
(Region V)
(IL, IN, MI, MN, OH, WI)
Community Relations Service
55 W. Monroe Street, Suite 420
Chicago. IL 60603
312/353-4390 (FAX)

Southwest Regional Office
(Region VI)
(AR, LA, NM, OK, TX)
Community Relations Service
1420 W. Mockingbird Lane, Suite 250
Dallas, TX 75247
214/655-8184 (FAX)

Central Regional Office
(Region VII)
(IA, KS, MO, NE)
Community Relations Service
1100 Main Street, Suite 320
Kansas City, MO 64105-2112
816/426-7441 (FAX)

Rocky Mountain Regional Office (Region VIII)
(CO, MT, ND, SD, UT, WY)
Community Relations Service
1244 Speer Blvd., Suite 650
Denver, CO 80204-3584
303/844-2907 (FAX)

Western Regional Office
(Region IX)
(AZ, CA, GU, HI, NV)
Community Relations Service
888 S. Figueroa Street, Suite 1880
Los Angeles, CA 90017
213/894-2880 (FAX)

Northwest Regional Office (Region X)
(AK, ID, OR, WA)
Community Relations Service
915 Second Avenue, Suite 1808
Seattle, WA 98174
206/220-6706 (FAX)

Field Offices

Community Relations Service
51 SW First Ave, Suite 624
Miami, FL 33130
305/536-6778 (FAX)

Community Relations Service
211 W. Fort Street, Suite 1404
Detroit, MI 48226
313/226-2568 (FAX)

Community Relations Service
515 Rusk Avenue, Suite 12605
Houston, TX 77002
713/718-4862 (FAX)

Community Relations Service
120 Howard Street, Suite 790
San Francisco, CA 94105
415/744-6590 (FAX)


CRS Customer Service Standards

Our goal is to provide sensitive and effective conflict prevention and resolution services. CRS will meet the following standards:

(August 2001)