Communities all across America face problems that can often make it uncomfortable for families to live, work and attend school. Many of these are often related to demographic factors such as race, national origin and economic status. Even when it does not lead to physical violence, hostility in the workplace and community environments can reduce the quality of life for all people involved.
When faced with these problems, some people may wonder if mediation is worth considering. If yes, how do you go about it?
Basic components of community relations services
Knowing what to expect from community mediation can help people to set realistic expectations. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, these are some of the features people can prepare for:
- Voluntary: No one is obligated to participate in community mediation. However, the more people agree to a peaceful resolution, the better the chances of moving forward.
- Objectivity: In the best-case scenario, the mediator is an unbiased party that has no vested interest in the outcome of the meeting and can, therefore, adequately represent both parties.
- Confidentiality: There is no need to invite the media or report to outside parties. Thus, parties that attend the meeting can maintain confidentiality thereafter.
- Agreement: Ideally, at the end of mediation, people come to an agreement. This results in the signing of a good-faith agreement aimed at resolving the issue.
When people rely on mediators in a community
Racial conflict is the oft-repeated conflict mentioned by the DOJ. When these filter into classrooms, it can create a dangerous environment for students. This comes in two parts: the possibility of creating radicals and the risk of hate-crime victims.
There are other instances when people may rely on a community mediator, such as disagreements of local developments planned by a business. Some mediators even work with faith-based groups and law enforcement officers.
While the DOJ itself offers mediation services, many people do not feel comfortable involving the government in their affairs. Because of this, you may decide to work with mediators in the private sector instead.