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Diversity and Inclusion
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Congratulations to the many centers which coordinated successful Martin Luther King, Jr. celebration and service events this weekend! Your commitment to furthering the Dream of "justice [as] a reality for all" is a wonderful tribute to Dr. King and his celebrated movement from which we continue to so thankfully benefit and gratefully advance.

In the spirit of Dr. King's call toward an ever-forward march, NAFCM would like to initiate an honest, reflective field-wide conversation about diversity and inclusion within community mediation. This post serves as the welcoming to that conversation. I encourage you to read about our upcoming discussion and contribute your own suggestions on how we may further extend and enrich our ensuing dialogue in the comments below.

Facilitators
Diversity + Inclusion Working Group Chairs:
Charles Chang, Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center (Los Angeles, CA)Clay Fong, Program Manager, City of Boulder Community Mediation Service (CO)Malcolm D. White, Senior Mediation Specialist, Neighborhood Justice Center (Las Vegas, NV) & Chair, NAFCM Board of Directors

Overview
Building upon our capacity for honest, reflective, and compassionate dialogue, NAFCM is initiating a structured conversation using the NAFCM listserve to promote our progress and identify opportunities for continued growth along community mediation's path toward greater diversity and inclusiveness. (NAFCM's blog, The Community Mediator, will also feature weekly recaps of the list's substantive discussions. Blog participants are encouraged to share their contributions in the comments of related posts.) 

This conversation, hosted and facilitated by NAFCM's Diversity + Inclusion (D+I) Working Group, will follow a weekly schedule of probative, provocative, and (hopefully) profound discussion topics designed to further appreciate and inspire our commitment to diversity. All members of our community are encouraged to read, share, and engage contributions via NAFCM's listserve and social media outlets.


Context

 

Since our field's founding, our core values have led us to embrace diversity and inclusiveness. These values inform how we administer our centers, as well as through whom we provide and toward whom we target our helpful services. Nearly 20 years ago, NAFCM memorialized these values as part of its Characteristics of Community Mediation Centers. Indeed the first five of the nine enumerated characteristics focus specifically on encouraging diversity and inclusiveness within center operations and service provision. This focus has encouraged your field, your association, your organizations, and your colleagues to be vigilant against that which excludes and champion that which unites. Locally, we've established principled organizations standing as exemplars of inclusiveness within our respective communities. Together, we've created an entire field endowed with the moral authority and earned expertise to challenge and engage divisive, disclusive disputes which threaten to separate or entrench beyond content's call.

Today, many centers undertake consistent, creative, impressive strides toward ensuring their services are responsive to and representative of their communities. We engage in volunteer outreach seeking to attract, train, and utilize skilled mediators who look and live just as the clients they serve. We employ staff with rich backgrounds and unfolded minds. We are governed by Boards and advisors who push us to be more for those with less. We open our services to any who may benefit, irrespective of all but their content and our capacity. And we promote the promise of and supply a vehicle for social justice when its others forms are too narrow or remote. We have achieved much as a field for greater diversity and inclusiveness, but we have farther yet to go.

Timeline & Themes
This dialogue series will encourage us to celebrate our progress and discover opportunities for continued growth. To structure this ambitious conversation, daily discussion prompts from our facilitators will encourage us to engage around a particular topic. Please share your thoughts, resources, and recommendations as they pertain to the daily or continued topics of interest to you. (At any time, participants are also welcome to directly share with our dialogue facilitators any feedback on how we may further enrich or extend this discussion series.) Upon completion of the formal series in mid-February, we will have grown stronger as a community through compassionately challenging one another, generously sharing our wisdom and resources, and informing our ever-forward march toward greater diversity and inclusiveness.

Jan. 17-22: Introduction & Celebration of Our Progress
Jan. 23-29: Identifying Opportunities for Growth
Jan. 30 - Feb. 05: Resources to Equip Our Commitment
Feb. 06-12: Envisioning the Future of D+I within Community Mediation
Feb. 20-24: Recap Teleseminar & Webinar

We welcome and thank you for participating in this dialogue series to celebrate and recommit community mediation to its values of diversity and inclusiveness. We look forward to your contributions and the uniting dialogue which lay ahead!



Celebrating Our Progress
Date: Wednesday (2012-01-18)
Facilitator: Justin R. Corbett
Topic: Celebrating Our Progress

Intro: 
Community mediation in the U.S. is a wonderfully eclectic patchwork of 400 programs, 1,300 (FTE) professional employees, and 25,000 volunteers. As practitioners and programs we vary on nearly every measure of diversity. We come together, combining our expertise and our passion, to serve our communities with all manner of conflict-assistive and educational services. As a field, we've made incredible strides toward promoting and modeling inclusiveness within our programs and our communities.

Let us take this week to celebrate our progress! Consider the questions below and share your experiences, thoughts, and encouragement on all that we've achieved on the road toward ever-greater diversity and inclusion (D+I) within our field.

Discussion Prompts:  
Organizations
How have your organization's efforts to embrace D+I enhanced your services or extended your reach?Are there specific examples of how your D+I focus made a profound impact on your staff members, volunteers, or service recipients?Is there a specific vignette, policy, or practice from your program which encapsulates your commitment to D+I?

Individuals
How has the community mediation field embraced and beneficially leveraged your own measure(s) of personal diversity?Are there specific examples of how your (embracing of) diversity positively influenced the outcome of a conflict?


Date: Thursday (2012-01-19)
Facilitator: Justin R. Corbett
Topic: Testimonials of Inclusion & its Impact

Intro: 
As we seek to achieve ever-greater diversity and inclusion, we're strengthened as a field, as organizations, and as practitioners. Volunteers representing new corners of our community bulster our credibility and perceived efficacy within certain conflict contexts. Staff and Board members with diverse backgrounds ensure our administration and governance is mindful of new populations and new areas of programming. The more we represent the rich diversity of our own communities, the more we engrain our services and endear ourselves to those who may benefit from them.Discussion Prompts:

Organizations
How has your focus on D+I allowed you to reach and serve new populations?Share an example of how your diverse volunteer roster has lent credibility or perceived efficacy to your program.Are there other examples of how your D+I focus has made an impact on your organization? 

Individuals
How has mediator diversity made a positive impact within a mediation session?Does your personal diversity as a program staff or Board member influence organizational decisions?Are there other examples of how community mediation's D+I focus has made a positive impact on you as a administrator/practitioner? 

Date: Friday (2012-01-20)
Facilitator: Clay Fong
Topic: Institutionalizing Inclusion - Organizational Accomplishments

Intro: 
How best to define organizational accomplishments pertaining to diversity and inclusion in a community mediation context? Is it enough to say that we have a certain number of staff and volunteers that represent a certain category of gender, race, or religious belief, to name a few key categories? Or does this smack of tokenism? I would suggest that there is a very real risk of just doing things by the numbers and it reminds of an experience I had in the mid-90s as a budding mediator. I was invited to be a restorative justice community member in a case involving an Asian family that recently immigrated to the United States. I pointed out to the program staff that I might not be the ideal person. Although my family origins are Asian, the clients were of a completely different culture and nationality. Also, I'm fourth generation on my Dad's side, so I didn't feel that I could adequately speak to their experiences, and I didn't want to be the privileged guy telling them what's what (an oversimplification, but I think folks get the point). I did the best I could in that case as a community, but I felt I was sometimes at odds with facilitators.

Thus begun my exploration of these issues. Fifteen years later, my responsibilities as a program manager have led me to explore issues of diversity and inclusion. Our program has a diverse base of staff and volunteers, but the number of volunteers who are of color or speak a language other than English shouldn't be the end point in weighing our accomplishments. Perhaps the measure should be more of whether a program's mediators can understand the cultural distinctions that come into play when working with a client from Chile in dispute with a client from Mexico. Or whether there's enough cultural sensitivity to address a client's declaration that they don't like people of the majority culture. When I was tapped as a community member a long time ago, I think that program had not accomplished that level of sensitivity and awareness, although they were certainly able to point to having minority volunteers and clients.

Of course, proactive outreach is another key part of organizational accomplishment. We've worked on building relationships with the City's Human Relations Commission and Office of Human Rights (mediation is built in as a component of both the city's wage theft and human rights ordinances), ethnic affinity organizations, the Anti-Defamation League, and the police department's Latino community liaison, among others. These are means to an end, and for my money, the greatest accomplishment is when historically underserved members of the community see us as an honest broker that can help them solve their problems. Once we move beyond the easily quantifiable, enhanced by building partnerships, and can make the distinctions between mediating in culture as opposed to just in language, can we point to meaningful organizational accomplishments.

Discussion Prompts: 
Organizations
What are the organizational accomplishments that you have achieved with respect to diversity and inclusion?In support of diversity and inclusion, who are key organizations and individuals that you have reached out to?What are your goals for the upcoming year regarding organizational accomplishments?

Individuals
While today's topic focuses on organizational accomplishments, what can you individually contribute to your group's efforts regarding diversity and inclusion?What do you see as the biggest challenges to institutionalizing inclusion, and what are the best ways to address them?As an individual drawing upon your personal network of contacts, who can you recruit to assist with your organization's inclusion goals? 

Opportunities for Growth

Date: January 23, 2012
Facilitator: Justin R. Corbett
Topic: Identifying Opportunities for Growth

Intro:
This week's theme for our continuing D+I discussion series is "Identifying Opportunities for Growth." Each day, we will invite you to respectfully challenge any felt sense of exhausted accomplishment, and identify specific areas where we can and, indeed, must make even greater progress toward achieving our high values of diversity and inclusion. We have allotted a day each to categories focusing on volunteers, clients, and staff/Board members. (Of course, we invite these conversations to continue as long as they may be productively sustained.) Utilizing our skills as constructive communicators and with an acceptance of our shared responsibility on this front, we are hopeful this week's discussions will prove productively provocative, deeply honest, and insightfully macrospective.

Discussion Prompts:
Organizations
As a field, where do you feel we have made the least amount of progress toward institutionalizing diversity and inclusion?As an organization within your unique community, what are your greatest challenges in respect to furthering diversity and inclusion?How, if at all, does the lack of comprehensive diversity and inclusiveness hamstring your program, our field, and/or our potential?

Individuals
As a field, where do you feel we have made the least amount of progress toward institutionalizing diversity and inclusion?As a practitioner, what would you identify as the most important aspects of diversity and inclusion demanding the field's renewed attention?Do you feel your own diversity is adequately represented and welcomed within the broader ADR field? If not, how does this affect you, your perception of our field, and/or your ability/willingness to apply and further your skill sets? 


Date: January 24, 2012
Facilitator: Charles Chang
Topic: Opportunities for Growth: Client Diversity

Intro:
When televisions first came out, it was only in black and white. People thought it was the greatest thing. Then eventually, they were broadcast in color and no one would think of watching tv in black and white instead of color because the color gives it so much more richness and vibrancy. Well, in America, it’s not that simple. We are still in a struggle for racial dominance and racial survival. There are people who would like to see all foreigners go back to "their” country. Of course, except for Native Americans, everyone else is a foreigner, but those spreading the hate don’t seem to know their history very well, otherwise they would realize they are calling for themselves to be shipped back to where they came from. 

Diversity brings richness like color did for the television, but there is a price because a lot of people are not comfortable with what they don’t know. And that’s what diversity is at the beginning: something they don’t know. That’s one of the reasons mediation can make a big difference in communities. Mediation offers individuals and communities a chance to understand differences whether they are due to race, gender, religion, or sexual orientation. I believe that people who are straight can come to accept people who are gay by learning about their struggles. Some people have too much fear to listen, but some people with open hearts can have compassion if not total understanding. 

I work for an organization whose mission is predicated on diversity. We have a mission of providing mediation services to the diverse Asian/Pacific Islander (API) population. But we can’t serve the API population without serving everyone else since conflicts aren’t just with other individuals who are API. A few blocks from us is a day laborer center. We have an intake clinic there and take cases from the day laborers. Our peer mediation program has mostly been located in South Los Angeles and we’ve mostly served Latino and African American youth. We’ve built our reputation on serving these youth who are not Asian. Although I wish we served more API youth, I am proud that we can go into a school that is pre-dominantly African American and Latino and be able to propose our program to them without thinking I’m in the wrong place. I am in the right place at the right time and will be able to prove it to them. 

I wish everyone could spend a week in my shoes and see the wonder that is Los Angeles. From serving a Korean senior that gives our young Korean mediators a hard time about their case, to the Chinese family that is trying to deal with their debt problems, to the African American family dealing with their housing issues, to the Latino youth that is trying to survive in school by standing up for himself because not fighting would ruin his reputation, we serve diverse populations with the same universal problems: surviving life. If you’d like to see diversity firsthand, you’re welcome to come visit my organization in Los Angeles. I’ll keep a light on for ya’. ;-)

Discussion Prompts:

Organizations
How has diversity been addressed in your organization?How have you worked to ensure diversity among your mediators?How have you worked to ensure diversity among your clients?  



Date: January 25, 2012
Facilitator: Malcolm D. White 

Intro:
As a minority professional, my concern is that we are no longer sensitive to the benefits of balanced representation at the table of decision makers when making decisions related to developing access to ADR.

Discussion Prompts:
Organizations
What is the cultural make-up of your volunteers, paid mediators, and mediation administrators?How does your mediation center compare with the diversity of your community? 

Individuals
Doe you feel individuals with English as a second language have the opportunity to grow as professionals in your ADR center?Are mediators being recruited, trained, and developed from cultural organizations (e.g. religious or civic groups)?



Date: January 27, 2012
Facilitator: Justin R. Corbett
Topic: Opportunities for Growth: Staff & Board Members

Intro:
Community mediation programs operate on lean (and often overextended) staffing arrangements. In fact, in relation to our overall impact, our entire field employs an impressively productive yet comparatively paltry 1,300 FTE staff members; averaging just three FTE employees per program. Given the modest class size of our professional administrators, the goal of representing the diversity within our broader communities is very challenging. How have we risen to this challenge and in what ways have we yet to achieve our goals on this front?

Similarly, how diverse are our programs' Boards of Directors and Advisory groups? Do our Board rooms mirror local diversity in color, calling, culture, and other relevant classifications? Are we governed by the breadth of perspectives shaping our communities and informing our field?

Discussion Prompts:
Organizations
What do you consider important measures of staff and Board diversity?When hiring new staff or recruiting new Board members, how important is diversity in your search?Are you confronted with any (local, field-specific, or other) structural impediments to achieving the level of staff/Board diversity you would prefer? 

Individuals
As a staff or Board member, how has your personal diversity been embraced (or under-utilized by your local program?Do you feel there are any characteristics of the community mediation field which work against its attainment of greater staff/Board diversity?


Equipping Our Commitment
Date: January 30, 2012
Facilitator: Justin R. Corbett
Topic: D+I Survey & Resources to Enhance Diversity

Intro:
Welcome to the third week of our shared conversation on diversity and inclusion within community mediation! Our first week celebrated our progress, the second: opportunities for continued growth. This week, we are seeking to equip you for the important work ahead. Beyond the broad conceptual endorsement of D+I within our ranks, there remains the tangible need for specific tools to help us holistically, methodically, and purposefully actualize our aims. Throughout the ensuing week, we invite you to share and discuss specific resources, research, tips, and experiences which can inform and enhance our diversity and inclusion practices. Some of the resources we'll discuss will be directed toward community mediation and/or the broader ADR field. Most, however, will draw wisdom from more expansive fields of practice such as the nonprofit, public administration, and other aligned realms. Through your contributions over the following week, we hope to amass a wide collection of diversity and inclusion-related resources. Once collected, we will host the aggregated resources on the D+I Working Group's forthcoming web page. 

Introducing the week's first such resource, NAFCM is pleased to release its SURVEY ON DIVERSITY + INCLUSION WITHIN COMMUNITY MEDIATION. This Survey, designed for program administrators, seeks to inform a more nuanced understanding of how we envision, engage, and execute the complex issues of culture, diversity, and inclusion. I strongly encourage all community mediation programs to complete this survey! In appreciation for completing the Survey,NAFCM will provide responding member programs with a personalized report on how their responses compare both to our larger network, as well as to recent U.S. Census data from their own specific communities. These personalized reports will help programs better understand and promote their progress toward embracing diversity and inclusion. 

(In releasing this Survey, I readily and humbly acknowledge the impossibility of roundly quantifying culture or counting all that which truly counts. Still, the broad information gathered through this Survey can help further inform and motivate deeper examinations of self and service within our wonderfully complex communities. After completing the survey, I welcome recommendations on how this resource may be improved and/or supplemented for future uses.)

Discussion Prompts:
Organizations
Please complete the Survey on Diversity + Inclusion within Community Mediation. What resources and/or research would be most helpful as you continually invest in your D+I efforts? 

Individuals
As a volunteer or Board member, what specific D+I-related resources would further your capacity to serve your clients and/or your organization (e.g. additional training, readings, support/discussion groups, etc.)?Beyond our field, what other professional practice areas do you feel serve as strong examples of D+I advocacy? What specifically do they do to warrant exception?



Date: January 31, 2012
Facilitator: Malcolm White
Topic: D+I Resources

Intro:
As an organization or a member of a local Board of Directors, where do you go to research issues of Diversity and Inclusion (D+I) in the field of ADR? With the advancements of technology, we all have new available information at our finger tips. Because D+I may now be a fresh topic for the new administrators in the field where do you go to gather the data or articles' to share with others?

Discussion Prompts:
Organizations 
What are your go-to resources for D+I?

Individuals
Consider attending the National Conference for Minority Professionals in Alternative Dispute Resolution at Capital University (Columbus, OH) on May 14-16, 2012.


Date: February 01, 2012
Facilitator: Clay Fong
Topic: Tapping into Local Resources

Intro:
Local organizations and people have been some of the most useful resources for the City of Boulder's Community Mediation Service in addressing inclusion and diversity needs. As a municipal agency, we have brought in staff and volunteers from other departments to assist with cases and strategizing around broader outreach and case-specific strategy development. We work closely with our municipal Office of Human Rights (we've built mediation into local ordinances regarding discrimination and wage theft), the police department's community affairs division (in particular, the Latino Community Liaision), and the city's volunteer Human Relations Commission - Commissioners have volunteered on cases for us, as have court translators. 
We've also drawn on local affinity organizations such as the Boulder Asian Pacific Alliance and Intercambio (focusing on cross-cultural exchange through language working mostly with Spanish-speaking folks - they have also created an immigrant resource guide distributed nationally and translated into several languages). The Anti-Defamation League has been an ally in our school work, particularly with their "No place for hate" initiative. Staff will also use events such as cultural festivals, fundraisers, the annual MLK celebration, school events for students of color, and the county diversity awards dinner as venues for outreach and recruitment.

Discussion Prompts:
Organizations & Individuals
Who are current volunteers and staffers who can reach out to organizational and individual allies?What are the agencies, non-profits, and other local groups that can be allies in your D & I efforts?Are there events that you can use as recruiting and resource opportunities?


Date: February 02, 2012
Facilitator: Charles Chang
Topic: D+I Resources

Intro:
Because resources are so scarce, I find that each resource is a precious commodity. To give a little backdrop on my organization, we are funded by Los Angeles County and we have goals that we have to meet. The main goal is the number of cases we resolve each year. Our secondary goal is to particularly help clients who speak an Asian/Pacific Islander language in our community program. Our youth program doesn’t have the ethnic/racial requirement.

So in order to make this happen, we need funding of course, but aside from that, the other two precious commodities are volunteers (who speak various Asian languages as well as English and Spanish) and referral institutions. The volunteers help us resolve the cases and the referral institutions bring us clients. For the volunteers, we mostly work with universities (clubs, career center, classes, job/intern fairs). For the referral institutions, we build relationships with non-profits, churches, government agencies, police departments, chambers of commerce). We have found that the greatest source of clients are from intake clinics. If there is an organization that has good foot traffic for its programs, we will piggy-back off of them and put a table where the foot traffic is and spend two to three hours one day out of the week doing intakes. Currently we do this at a church, a nonprofit organization’s health clinic, and at a day laborer center. We make sure to have a volunteer who speaks the appropriate language for that location. In the past we’ve also trained staff or volunteers at a nonprofit organization and church to be mediators and overseen their mediation program. This is the best because we can have a steady program somewhere with language capacity built in and we also take credit for the resolved cases. These organizations are like satellite offices. The only challenge is that the program and staff/volunteer is ultimately controlled by the organization and they can pull the plug whenever they want.



Date: February 03, 2012
Facilitator: Justin R. Corbett
Topic: D+I Resource Quick Clicks

Intro:
The importance of thoughtful, purposeful efforts toward enhancing diversity and inclusion within our field is roundly acknowledged. Knowing which resources will help us progress along that path, however, is unfortunately not as obvious. Below are a few important resources to get you plugged-in to the key thinking, relevant research, and helpful tools to advance your own D+I agenda. Starting with these links, I encourage you to dig deeper and discover even more tools that affirm our commitment, challenge our practices, and continue our collective leadership on diversity and inclusion within ADR and our broader communities. As you discover more, please share additional helpful resources with the group. Research/ReadingsSurvey on D+I within Community Mediation [NAFCM]Analysis of Diversity Trainings in U.S. CMCs [Michigan Office of Dispute Resolution] Impact of Board Diversity on CMCs Nonprofit Governance Index 2010 (especially pages 27-33) [Board Source] 
Websites/MiscellaneousMediate.com articles on DiversityDiversity on Boards [National Council of Nonprofits]Volunteer Diversity Resources [Energ!ze, Inc.]National Conference for Minority Professionals in ADR

Discussion Prompts:
Organizations & Individuals
What are your go-to resources for D+I?What types of resources would you like to see included on NAFCM's forthcoming D+I Working Group webpage?


Envisioning Our Future
Date: February 06, 2012
Facilitator: Justin R. Corbett

Topic: Envisioning the Future of Diversity and Inclusion within Community Mediation

Intro:
Welcome to the fourth and final week of NAFCM's Diversity + Inclusion Discussion Series! Over the past month, we have taken a look at our progress, our opportunities for growth, and various helpful resources related to diversity and inclusion within the community mediation context. We have also released an ambitious first-of-its kind Survey to methodically collect field-wide data on programs' approaches toward and accomplishments related to diversity and inclusion.

Moving into our final week of facilitated discussions, we turn our attention toward the future. Collectively, we ask you to share your visions of what diversity and inclusion will look like within community mediation over the next decade. Will we be a more diverse field of practitioners, administrators, and governors serving more disparate, yet inclusive communities? Will we have embraced our D+I values in new ways? Should we have attained some (measurable?) outcome through our sustained individual and collective efforts of furthering diversity and inclusion within community mediation? What path must we tred and challenges overcome to secure your vision of diversity and inclusion for our field?

Discussion Prompts:
Organizations & Individuals
What is your vision of diversity and inclusion within community mediation, both at the local and field-wide levels?In 2020, to what measurable accomplishments would you like to be able to point when recounting our field's D+I progress?What tangible steps -- individually and/or as a field -- must be taken to secure your vision?What role, if any, would you like to see NAFCM play in enabling your D+I vision for community mediation? 




Date: February 07, 2012
Facilitator: Clay Fong
Topic: Removing Barriers

Intro:
Many of us may look at our current programs and recognize that there's still signifcant work to be done with respect to creating an organization that is as inclusive and diverse as we would like it to be. When we consider our ideal future vision of our organizations, the path from where we are now and where we would like to be may not be clearly defined, and charting this path may be intimidating. One critical task to charting this path is identifying barriers to inclusion and diversity. The follow-up question is what can we as individuals, organizations, and even associations like NAFCM can do to remove these barriers to entry.


One key barrier is access to basic mediation training. Some organizations can provide initial training at no or little cost and can schedule them so that they don't interfere with the schedules of working people. Personnel constraints may make providing in-house training a nonstarter, and so organizations may have to draw upon volunteers who have paid their own way to participate in a basic training. In the Denver metro area, the average cost of a basic forty-hour training averages about $1000. This is a significant barrier to entry in terms of both time, but also of money. However, the Colorado State Bar Association has provided full training scholarships for aspiring minority mediators, and it indicates that similar funding sources may be available to your organization.

Another possible barrier may be a lack of diverse role models/mentors to help others grow in this field. Each of our organizations likely differ in our ability to address this need, and I'd argue thatthis is a space in which NAFCM can play a significant role. Drawing upon its national reach, NAFCM may be an ideal resource to build a national network of diverse and experienced mediation professionals to help others find a way forward in conflict resolution. Perhaps mentors could be assigned to a newcomer on a geographic basis, but there's also nothing to prevent a long-distance mentoring relationship conducted over the phone or via e-mail.

Discussion Prompts:
Organizations & Individuals
What are your program's most significant barriers regarding diversity and inclusion? What resources are currently available to you to address these barriers?What are your goals for the next year with respect to addressing these barriers? 



Date: February 10, 2012
Facilitator: Clay Fong
Topic: Next Day, Next Month, Next Year

Intro:
As NAFCM's month-long structured conversation regarding diversity and inclusion draws to a close, we end with a discussion of the future of Community Mediation. But it's all too easy to think of planning for the future as something that can be put off until tomorrow. Since procrastination is all to easy, I thought I'd compel myself to address what can I do to promote D&I in my organization and/or the field over the next day, month, and year.


Discussion Prompts:
Organizations & Individuals
What can you do to promote diversity and inclusion in your organization and/or the mediation field in the Next Day, the Next Month, the Next Year?

Survey of D+I
NAFCM is pleased to release its Survey on Diversity + Inclusion within Community Mediation. This Survey, designed for program administrators, seeks to inform a more nuanced understanding of how we envision, engage, and execute the complex issues of culture, diversity, and inclusion.

A first of its kind for community mediation, the D+I Survey includes a series of both quantitative and qualitative measures; seeking as detailed responses as parties have time to share. It also seeks to collect data along a number of common metrics of diversity within each of the program staff, Board member, volunteer mediator, and client contexts. This latter series will connect seamlessly with comparative data from the latest U.S. Census, allowing for a real-time assessment of how diversity within mediation programs mirrors that of their local communities'.

In appreciation for completing the Survey, NAFCM will provide responding member programs with a personalized report on how their responses compare both to other community mediation programs, as well as to recent U.S. Census data from their own specific communities. These personalized reports will help programs better understand and promote their progress toward embracing diversity and inclusion.

Of course, it warrants note that while NAFCM anticipates the information gathered through this Survey, it readily and humbly acknowledges the impossibility of roundly quantifying culture or even counting all that which truly counts. Still, the broad information gathered through this Survey can help further inform and motivate deeper examinations of self and service within our wonderfully complex communities. After completing the survey, we welcome feedback on how this resource may be improved and/or supplemented for future uses. 

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