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Consulting - U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

The Community Relations Service (CRS) offers consulting services to help communities respond more effectively to resolve conflicts or to improve their ability to discuss an issue or carry out a process. CRS provides consulting to help local communities address conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, or national origin, or to assist them in developing strategies to prevent and respond to violent hate crimes committed on the basis of actual or perceived race, color, national origin, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, religion or disability. Through consulting, CRS provides technical assistance, information on best practices, referrals, coaching, advice, and insight. For example, CRS might provide technical insight on the structure and function needed in order to establish a Human Relations Commission. Consulting services can help communities address police, community, or school conflicts.

Featured Cases

  • CRS worked with the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts and the Somali Diaspora Youth Organization during their Youth Conference, which was held on July 16-17, 2011, at a Boston cultural center. CRS participated in the conference and in dialogues with Somali youth during the two-day conference. CRS listened to concerns expressed by participants, presented information about agency services, and helped the youth develop an ongoing relationship that will support future efforts to ensure that the community feels empowered to have racial profiling and Islamophobia issues addressed.
  • In April 2011, two 14-year-old female high school students committed suicide in Marshall, Minnesota. The two girls were believed to have been bullied because they were thought to be in a lesbian relationship. The suicides renewed concerns among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) advocates in Minnesota, which had experienced several anti-gay bullying suicides in the past year. CRS convened a series of meetings in Minneapolis-St. Paul with a statewide LGBT advocacy organization to discuss school resources for anti-LGBT bullying and training for local police officers, school resource officers (SROs), and counseling staff. CRS also provided technical assistance in the form of a referral to a school district in another state with whom CRS had worked previously on school bullying issues and had formulated an anti-bullying action plan.
  • During FY 2011, CRS continued to provide technical assistance and training services in the City of New Orleans related to community concerns about perceived biased policing practices, the excessive use of force by police, law enforcement corruption, and ongoing issues related to shooting deaths of citizens by law enforcement during Hurricane Katrina. CRS provided technical assistance regarding the creation of police community advisory boards throughout the city. CRS services have also resulted in conflict resolution training being provided for more than 300 law enforcement first-line supervisors and commanders, and training for police-community coordinating officers and community leaders. Numerous CRS-led forums and capacity-building projects to improve police interaction with residents, youth, and civic leaders were also conducted.
  • In July 2010, CRS provided technical assistance to law enforcement officials, city officials, and African American and Latino community leaders in response to community racial tension following reports of a series of five murders of Hondurans, all allegedly by African Americans. CRS assisted in creating a Rumor Control Team comprised of African American and Latino community leaders. The Rumor Control Team is responsible for quelling rumors and tensions stemming from the reported incidents.
  • In January 2010, CRS provided technical assistance to local, state, and federal officials during community meetings held to identify issues related to emergency relief and recovery efforts in the aftermath of a reported earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti. CRS facilitated meetings with the Community Relations Miami District Office, U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), DHS Task Force Southeast Incident Command, and local Haitian community leaders. CRS services were requested in response to community tension surrounding the reported perception by local Haitian community leaders that first responders lacked the cultural sensitivity required to respond to the needs of the local Haitian residents as they prepared to assist their families. Over 15 local organizational leaders met and formed the Haitian American Relief Task Force to represent the Haitian community and the victims of the earthquake as local, state, and federal government agencies dispatched representatives to assist the community in addressing their priorities. The Haitian community gathered at local churches where faith leaders assisted in diffusing potential racial and ethnic tension related to the setting up of temporary emergency centers for earthquake survivors who had returned from Haiti.
  • In April 2010, CRS provided continued on-site technical assistance and conciliation services following the passage of SB 1070 by the Arizona Senate. It was alleged by some Latino community members and other activists that the legislation promoted racial profiling while others believed it could be implemented without racial profiling. The situation triggered an outpouring of protest activity throughout Arizona, particularly in Phoenix, where the state capitol is located. CRS provided community members with technical assistance and conciliation services during the pre-planning stage and through the active stages of these events. CRS helped to open the lines of communication with law enforcement agencies and community leaders. In July 2010, CRS provided contingency planning, technical assistance, and on-site conciliation services as necessary to community members during a planned civil disobedience action on July 29, 2010, the effective date of SB 1070. CRS provided a federal presence, along with local law enforcement officials, to procession organizers following reports of threats and violence toward participants. A rift reportedly existed between the community organizing group and law enforcement officials regarding planned arrest procedures. CRS worked with the U.S. Marshal and Federal Protective Services to help maintain peace during the arrest process. Additional services were requested by the U.S. Marshal because of an unanticipated additional arrest. CRS helped maintain the lines of communication between protest organizers and law enforcement officials to ensure that all parties would be informed of issues and decisions that were made.
  • In May 2010, CRS provided contingency planning, on-site conciliation, and a federal presence for the May Day March. It was reported that 40,000 to 60,000 participants attended the event. Marchers protested economic and racial discrimination as well as the perception of the mistreatment of Latino immigrants in the United States. It was reported that police-community relations were strained due to allegations of anti-Latino immigrant sentiments. CRS worked with human relations committees from the city, county, and law enforcement on contingency planning. On the day of the march, CRS monitored potential flash points to ensure that the march remained peaceful and without any major incidents. Counter-protesters were present, but CRS quickly insulated them from the marchers to ensure that their attempts to agitate the crowd would not escalate into violence. CRS worked with law enforcement officials to move counter-protesters to another location.
Updated October 24, 2014