In a final issue of its newsletter, the board of the Conflict Resolution Center here in Richmond reports the sad news that it has decided to close the organization down.
Having served on the CRC board in the past and having volunteered as a trained mediator, I came to greatly appreciate the idea that members of a community can resolve our interpersonal conflicts in ways that promote non-violence, justice, reconciliation and a deepening of connection, without resorting to the sometimes scarring machinations of the legal system. The CRC existed to facilitate those experiences, through its mediation program, educational work with local youth, and its rich history of related efforts in the Richmond area and beyond.
As a mediator, I had the honor of witnessing some magical moments between family members or co-workers where the conversation transitioned from accusation and battling to understanding, compassion and hope for moving forward. As a board member, I had the honor of working with a driven and passionate group of volunteers and staff who believed in what the CRC was about and what it could do for the community.
While the principles and practices of mediating conflict are certainly still available to anyone who wants to pursue them, it's sad to see that a place like the CRC can't sustain itself right now. My hope, of course, is that this is an ending that will lead to other beginnings down the road.
Many people have given life and breath to CRC's mission over the years, and I'm so thankful for their work. I'm especially thankful for the careful and surely painful work that the current board members have taken on in reaching the conclusion to lay the CRC down. I hope that Richmond can find some way to honor what CRC did and stood for in the ways that we carry forward.