ADR and Racial Equity Hackathon, Harvard Mediation and Negotiation Clinical Program, June 23-24

Join us for an ADR and Racial Equity Hackathon on June 24th! 


[TL; DR Join us for a day-long team-based sprint to build solutions to address power imbalances and racial inequity in ADR. Sign up here!]


What is a hackathon?

A hackathon brings people together to work in teams to build innovative solutions to concrete problems over a short period of concentrated activity.


Traditionally, hackathons are multi-day competitions that culminate in each team delivering a pitch, in hopes of winning a prize. Ours is a one-day burst, focused on collaboration rather than competition. (We hope all the projects people work on will help to advance our field and our society and that that will be prize enough. J)


Why a hackathon on ADR & Racial Equity?

To engage the complex work of building more just and equitable processes, institutions, and communities together!


Inequity and oppression are baked into our society and permeate the ways we experience, practice, and teach engaging with conflict. Many of us regularly face the questions of how to work within systems plagued with injustice without perpetuating injustice and impeding long-term structural change.


Many have highlighted the structures, assumptions, and practices that embed white supremacy and power imbalances within our field and beyond. Dismantling unjust systems is critical. So is building new, inclusive ones.


We envision this as an opportunity to get creative together in thinking about what’s possible moving forward. We hope it will jumpstart projects and ideas that will continue over the summer and beyond.


So just to be clear, I have to work? I can’t just watch people talk?

Yes. This is a “roll up your sleeves” event.


We’ll be working in teams to build solutions (or, realistically, the beginnings of solutions) to pressing challenges that face the dispute resolution field and our society more broadly.


What challenges will we be trying to solve?

Different teams will work on different challenges within the broader umbrella of ADR and Racial Equity. We will crowdsource a list of proposed challenges and participants will have an opportunity to indicate what they’d like to work on. Each participant will be assigned to a team with a specific area of focus.


Here’s an illustrative list of the types of topics participants might engage:


§  How do we design systems (in the context of the criminal system, the housing system, the healthcare system, etc.) that account for the interlocking systems of oppression in which so many people find themselves?

§  How do we better ensure that we are designing systems with the guidance, wisdom, and consent of the communities they serve?

§  How do we do a better job attracting, supporting, empowering, and promoting teachers, mediators, arbitrators, and practitioners of color?

§  How do we better serve parties of color in our mediation (or arbitration, or restorative justice, or community dialogue programs)?

§  How do we foster greater self-determination in parties working within the court system?


This list is meant to inspire your thinking—not to limit it.


Where is this event happening?

Wherever you are!


We will convene and collaborate virtually using an interactive platform. We’ll send out the technical information to registered participants closer to the event.


Okay, this sounds interesting, but am I the type of person who should join?

Do you care about building a more just world? Then yes! Please join us!


There are no prerequisites, qualifications, or preparation required for attendance. Our goal is to convene practitioners, students, teachers, community members, and professionals of all kinds—the more wisdom in the room, the more wisdom we can bring to bear on building solutions for addressing power asymmetries and racial inequities in ADR and beyond. If you know someone who'd be interested in participating, please invite them to join us!


Okay, I’m intrigued. How do we do this thing?

We will kick things off with a virtual welcome reception the evening of June 23.


The Hackathon will begin at 10 a.m. EST on June 24 and we will break into our working groups shortly thereafter. We will spend the bulk of the day working in teams, with an hour-long break for lunch and social time. We will come back together at the end of the day so that each team can present their pitch to the group.


What if I want to bring a pre-formed team to focus on a specific challenge together?

Great! Just indicate that when you register and we’ll be sure to keep your group intact.


I’m in. Respectfully, though, I’m not sure you know what you’re doing. Can I help plan?

Yes, please! This is a new approach for us and we’d love to learn from your thoughts and experience. We’ll be holding a planning meeting for anyone who wants to join us on June 7th at 1 p.m. EST.


I’d love to sign up. How do I do that?

So glad you asked! You can register here.

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