A Statement of Care from Community Boards

Dear Community,

Community Boards stands in solidarity with the people and movements who are fighting systemic injustice, institutional racism, and the ongoing incursions of violence on Black people and Black communities.

Today and every day Black lives and voices should be respected, protected and uplifted. Community Boards reaffirms our commitment to transformative peacemaking that yields justice, engages with empathy, seeks understanding, and works to heal deep wounds facing our communities and country.

In 1976 Community Boards was founded in Visitacion Valley as a movement espousing a citizen’s approach to conflict, crime, and civil dissonance by engaging with the imagination and energy of hundreds of residents throughout our city. The excitement came from the involvement of neighborhood people creating a new reality for themselves and their community. Community Boards emerged out of an understanding that the vast majority of conflict takes place between people in long-standing relationships and that only through citizen-based conflict resolution can long lasting peace be achieved. Through the decades, our alternative dispute resolution process has been successfully used outside of the police and court system and our critique of the formal justice system is just as valid today as it was 45 years ago.

Community mediation centers have unique and essential role to play in addressing racial divides and in supporting community-based solutions to conflict. The current protests implore us to double our resolve to serve as a beacon of learning, reflection, and dialogue. Community Boards believes that dialogue and mediating difficult conversations are necessary to move towards change we need to see in this country at both the individual and institutional level.

Our organization of peacemakers and mediators pledges to continue to provide free spaces for trainings and mediation to build mutually supportive relationships with leaders and organizations serving Black communities in San Francisco. We pledge to continue to facilitate difficult and challenging dialogue that resolves conflict and generates greater understanding between individuals and communities. We pledge to continually evaluate and refine how we are living out our values of equity, inclusion, and anti-racism. We pledge to continue to foster community healing and community driven resolutions.

In the coming weeks, I will be working with the Board, staff, and members of regional mediation programs to create opportunities for discussion and reflection on how we can best add value to the important conversations that are happening.

Finally, in all of this I welcome your thoughts and input. If you have ideas about how Community Boards might engage with these critical issues, I want to hear from you. Feel free to reach out to me: dweide@communityboards.org.

As always, Community Boards and I are here for you.

Darlene Weide
Executive Director

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