These two articles, on this page and the next, explore the persistent, divisive national problem that has taken on greater significance with the recent eruption of racial conflicts: the pressing need for “serious investments in conflict resolution in our communities”. Both stress the increasingly crucial role of local communities in creating “spaces” to bring people together, of finding opportunities to “listen, to heed and to heal”.

The first article, published elsewhere and re-printed here, makes a case for “earnest efforts to listen” by local leaders and “public actors”, for the need for such local change-makers to create the “spaces, the structures and the support” that are vital to lowering the risk of civil disturbances. The second, written especially for the newsletter, provides essential background for understanding how actions taken over the last several decades helped create the framework that can make it possible to resolve disputes before they escalate and “threaten the fabric of the community”.

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