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An Update on the NCDD-CRS Meetings

As many of you know, NCDD has been working with the U.S. Department of Justice’s Community Relations Service since last October’s NCDD national conference, to organize meetings between NCDD members and CRS staff at their fourteen regional field offices. This was inspired, in part, by CRS director Grande Lum’s speech at the conference.

We wanted to let the network know that meetings have begun taking place in several cities over the past few months, and more are in the works!

GrandeLum-NextStepBubble-borderThese meetings are an exciting opportunity to start a productive relationship with staff of an important government agency based in your area. They are also providing the supporting NCDD members who attend with an opportunity to talk about how we can be more responsive during times of crisis that call for dialogue, and to build relationships that strengthen our ability to respond. See our November 6th blog post at www.ncdd.org/16724 for more information on CRS and our initial plans for these meetings.

Meetings took place this past winter and spring in Boston, Chicago, Detroit, New York, and Seattle, where our members came together with CRS staff to learn more about one another’s work and discuss opportunities to collaborate and support each other. Some exciting ideas have emerged from these initial discussions, including:

  • Supporting CRS and NCDD members alike by inviting one another to trainings
  • Sharing resources, including facilitators and mediators, and making referrals from CRS to NCDD members, and vice versa
  • Involving one another in regional networking
  • Working together on initiatives, such as CRS’ Student Problem Identification & Resolution of Issues Together (SPIRIT), or building a community responders network in members’ communities

NCDD members have reported back that they learned a lot about CRS and the kind of work that they do in communities in their region, and that CRS staff and NCDD members alike were very eager to explore ways to support one another and possibilities for working together. These initial meetings were just that – the start of what we hope will be a growing relationship between CRS staff and our members in their respective regions.

Meetings are still being planned this summer and in early fall for the following cities: Atlanta, Dallas, Denver, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. All NCDD 2014 attendees and supporting members of NCDD whose dues are in good standing are welcome to attend. If you would like to attend one of these upcoming meetings, please send an email to NCDD’s program director, Courtney Breese, at courtney@ncdd.org.CRS-offices

Many thanks to the NCDD members who have stepped up to serve as lead contacts in each of the cities where a meeting is being held. We couldn’t pull this off without their help! Lead contacts for the meetings that already took place were: Nicole Hewitt & Susan Shelton (New York), Elizabeth Hudson (Detroit), Kathryn Hyten (Boston), John Inman (Seattle), and Janice Thomson (Chicago). Our most heartfelt thanks for their help in organizing these meetings.

We are beyond thrilled with the next steps coming out of the meetings held to date, and look forward to engaging more of our members with CRS staff in their region. If you have any additional thoughts about how NCDD members might collaborate with CRS, please share them with us in the comments below. NCDD will share these ideas with the CRS staff and local members in each region as they continue to explore possibilities for these budding connections.

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Courtney Breese
Courtney Breese is the Executive Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). She has a B.A. in Social Work and Counseling from Franklin Pierce University, where she was introduced to dialogue & deliberation.

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  1. Hi, all:

    I’d be interested in participating in CRS meetings in Dallas and/or Houston; I know the Dallas director personally. Let me know how I can assist. Thanks!

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