Former CRS Leadership

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Former CRS Leadership

Official Biography

Paul Monteiro Headshot

President Obama designated Paul Monteiro as the Acting Director of the U.S. Justice Department’s Community Relations Service (CRS) on February 29, 2016.  Authorized by the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and expanded by the Matthew Shepard/James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009, CRS serves as federal mediators in areas of local community conflict rooted in race, religion, disability, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, color, or national origin. CRS currently plays an important role in DOJ’s ongoing effort to strengthen relationships between local communities and law enforcement.

Paul previously served as director of AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) at the Corporation for National and Community Service and led the effort to mark its 50th anniversary.  Organized in 1965, VISTA was designed as the domestic counterpart to the Peace Corps where Americans from all walks of life commit to a year of full-time volunteer service at a nonprofit organization or public agency and focus on capacity-building efforts such as grant writing, volunteer recruitment, and fundraising.  Today more than 7,500 members serve at approximately 2,700 service sites around the nation.    

From 2009 to 2013, he was an advisor in the White House Office of Public Engagement and led outreach to faith-based organizations, Arab-American communities, and anti-poverty groups.  In that role, he played an active role in several Administration domestic initiatives including the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, the Affordable Care Act, and several efforts under the “Ladders of Opportunity” agenda to protect the middle class and create opportunities for those striving for a better life.  Paul also helped launch the President’s Responsible Fatherhood & Healthy Families initiative that later became “My Brother’s Keeper.”  He served as coordinator for the White House Mentorship Program for young men attending local area high schools.

While at the White House, Paul also served as an ex officio member of the National Counter Terrorism Center’s Heritage Council.  In 2013, he was awarded a citation from the National Security Council for his work on a range of international Administration priorities including the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, refugee resettlement and other humanitarian interventions, and countering violent extremism.   

Paul is a member of the Board of Governors of Wesley Theological Seminary and also teaches a course on the First Amendment at the University of Maryland, College Park. 

He received a B.A. in history from the University of Maryland and his J.D. from the Howard University School of Law.

Message from Paul Monteiro, Former CRS Leadership

The Community Relations Service is often called "America's Peacemaker." Over the years, CRS has worked with thousands of communities, many of whom came together in crisis and emerged stronger and more unified.

CRS delivers four services: mediation of disputes, facilitation of dialogue, training, and consultation. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS works to address tension associated with allegations of discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin. Under the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, CRS works with communities to prevent and respond more effectively to violent hate crimes committed on the basis of race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, or disability. CRS's services are confidential and offered without cost to communities.

As a conflict resolution agency, CRS does not take sides in a dispute, and it does not investigate, prosecute, impose solutions, assign blame, or assess fault. CRS services are delivered with care, commitment, and compassion by our professional staff of conflict resolution specialists, who help the communities they serve create lasting and positive outcomes under the most trying of circumstances. Ultimately, individuals and communities must engage and take ownership of resolving long-standing conflicts. CRS's greatest success lies in helping them accomplish exactly that.

When I reflect on the agency's casework over the past 50 years, the communities we have served underscore the diversity and multiculturalism of this nation. CRS works with all communities who want to reduce local tension and create sustainable partnerships with others in their community.

As a federal entity, CRS has the singular ability to convene the full range of service-providers and community stakeholders necessary for solving problems within communities in distress. Given the continuing demographic and societal changes involving race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion, and disability, CRS's services are needed more today than ever. CRS uniquely occupies a critical niche in which to serve America's need for peace.

Because I believe that conciliation is more critical today than at any point of CRS's long history in dealing with community tensions, I feel privileged to be at the helm of the country's premier community conflict resolution organization.

Leadership 

Gerri Ratliff
Acting Director

Contact 

Community Relations Service
(202) 305-2935

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