The tragic shootings during the week of July 4 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; Dallas, Texas; and Falcon Heights, Minnesota, have seized Americans with grief, despair and anger. These events shine a light on flaws in the social fabric and galvanize debate as to what can be done within communities from small ones up to the national level to instill confidence in our respect for core national values.
Did you know that the U.S. Department of Justice has a branch called the Community Relations Service that is deployed in immediate response to certain tragedies rooted in intergroup and other misunderstandings and prejudices? Trained mediators and facilitators facilitate calming and peace-building discussions in communities hit by such events. Grande Lum, a lecturer at Stanford Law School, served as director of this service, which received the ABA Section on Dispute Resolution's Lawyer as Problem Solver Award in 2014 and the Association for Conflict Resolution 2013 Peacemaker Award.
Many are offering prayers for survivors and those affected by these latest tragedies. Our committee members also may offer thoughts of what can and ought to be done to prevent more such events and to make sure something good emerges in their wake and the wake of other similar breaches of peace and safety.