Culture, Conflict and Community Mediation: Understanding and Removing Barriers to Active Participation of Latinos in Community Mediation Centers in Oregon
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The Latino population is not accessing community mediation centers throughout Oregon. Mediation provides a safe space to resolve conflicts outside of the adjudicative processes and at a lower cost. Through interviews with program coordinators/directors of community mediation centers around Oregon, mediators with experience in bilingual mediation and Latino stakeholders, I explore the barriers that exist and methods to increase the participation of the Latino population in community mediation centers. The research asserts that mediation program practitioners have a desire to reach out to the Latino population but face enormous difficulty due to a lack of trust and, frequently, a lack of resources. The findings illustrate that energy and time focused on outreach and community building with the Latino population is necessary to increase trust, knowledge and willingness to participate in mediation. There is a need to train new mediators and to design programs to bring conflict resolution into diverse communities.