The Community Response Team (CRT) is an initiative proposed by a group of community leaders in positions that provide opportunity to address systemic disparities. These volunteers organized under the auspices of Unite Rochester and worked to promote communication, trust, community education, and a positive, non-violent response to events or issues of race and racism. The CRT will also engage in activities to raise awareness about race and racism, and inspire a more inclusive and creative approach to solving community problems (CRT mission statement summary).
This case study tracks the evolution of Rochester’s CRT. A spin-off of “Unite Rochester”, CRT developed as a coalition of community leaders interested in building community trust and resilience and developing a plan to respond to potential civil unrest.
I. INITIATIVE – GROUNDED IN COLLABORATION
CRT is a spin-off of “Unite Rochester”, a collaborative effort spearheaded in 2012 by the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, which was designed to:
1. raise awareness about racial inequities;
2. help facilitate community conversations about race;
3. encourage more inclusive problem-solving and effect positive change.
Unite Rochester began after Jim Lawrence, the Democrat and Chronicle’s editorial page editor, reached out to the Rochester Center for Dispute Settlement (The Center) to develop a collaborative effort around structural and systemic racism lingering in the greater Rochester area.