The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission is an independent body of seven highly respected individuals appointed through a democratic and community-wide nomination and selection process. Drawing on similar efforts from around the world, the Commission is the first of its kind in the United States. Its mission, as stated in its Mandate, is to examine "the context, causes, sequence and consequence of the events of November 3, 1979" for the purpose of healing transformation for the community.
The specific goals of the Commission are:
The Commission will accomplish its mission through two interrelated programs: research and civic engagement. The research component deals with the task of establishing an accurate public record of what occurred on Nov. 3, 1979, while seeking the multiple truths of how those events were caused and interpreted, and what the consequences were for the community. The research relies primarily upon statements to the Commission, although it also involves document-based research. The civic engagement program addresses the need to educate, inform and involve the public in the truth-seeking, truth-telling and reconciliation process.
The Commission's final product will be a report on its findings, including specific recommendations for the Greensboro community and its institutions on how to make greater strides toward concrete healing, reconciliation and restorative justice. The Commission expects to release this report in early 2006.
At its core, the truth and reconciliation process is an exercise in democracy. The broad public must actively engage in this process in order for the Commission's work to be fruitful. It is an effort to help Greensboro grasp the importance of having an accurate and richly collective memory of how the events of Nov. 3, 1979, happened and why. This is not an effort to create a monolithic understanding within the community, but rather to amplify the community's multiple voices, perspectives and experiences of these events and their lasting impact. One end goal is thus a collective memory that incorporates these diverse points of view and a depth of historical understanding within the community that relies upon contextual analysis and self-examination.
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