Founded in July of 1989 to provide mediation and conflict resolution services, the Asian Pacific American Dispute Resolution Center (APADRC) is dedicated to serving traditionally underrepresented and underserved communities which face barriers such as language, culture, and income. The APADRC is the only center in Southern California whose service population routinely includes the often excluded, monolingual Asian Pacific immigrant communities. Although its anticipated focus had been traditional housing, consumer affairs, and business disputes that permeate the field of community mediation, recent events has compelled the APADRC to redefine its mandate to address the complex, cross cultural, multi-issue, multi-party community conflicts that abound not only in Los Angeles, but throughout our nation.
Conflict resolution skills in race relations and human relations are becoming more and more vital to daily living. As underscored by the civil unrest in April 1992, Los Angeles needs community dialogue with an improved human relations infrastructure in order to begin addressing the tensions and deep rooted conflicts among its disparate people. More recently, the events of September 11 highlight the need to reach out and build connections among diverse communities. As peacebuilding at the local level continue, our awareness of the importance of conflict resolution work is heightened. APADRC works to serve as a catalyst for bridging cultural divides and engaging various communities. The APADRC also works with community organizations and institutions to meet the challenges of diversity in Los Angeles.
In addition to participating in local and national collaborations, the Center offers training and consultation services to community, governmental, and educational organizations to help them better cope with tensions in both their internal structures and their constituencies. To cultivate public awareness of conflict resolution, the APADRC speaks at conferences, panels, and workshops Mediation is a tool that can begin to meet the challenges of diversity in Los Angeles. By facilitating community dialogue and altering the quality of interaction and points of contact between people who may not share common languages or life experiences, mediation can help people build healthier community bonds. Mediation emphasizes cooperation, partnership and collaboration; it is an empowering process, which enables communities and individuals to control their own destinies.
Mediation is critical to the development and rebuilding of Los Angeles. Economic development, education, housing, job creation and political participation can occur if we first concentrate upon building a human relations infrastructure that assures equal access for all communities.