The problems of urban conflict have been the subject of five sessions held in Caux since 1988. Local councillors, social workers, police, group leaders and ordinary citizens have taken part in meetings aimed at social justice, mending relationships and creating partnerships based on trust. In the same spirit there have also been exchange visits between cities in France, Britain, Germany and Norway.
In the course of the session in July 1992, some heated outbursts highlighted the pain and bitterness felt by black American delegates in relation to their all-powerful white society. Black and white Americans decided on their return home to face honestly the tension that has existed between the communities since the days of slavery. They formed an association "Hope in the Cities" which organised a major conference in Richmond in June 1993. Its centrepiece was a "unity march" through the parts of the city linked with slavery and racial oppression. As they visited together the painful places in the city’s history, black and white marchers sought to exorcise the past and, as the theme of the conference put it, ‘to heal the heart of America’. The event provoked similar initiatives in a dozen other American cities. In 1995, the ‘Hope in the Cities’ coalition launched a Call to Community. The document, which invites every US citizen to make a commitment to justice and reconciliation, has been placed in the Congressional Record and was quoted by William Raspberry in the Washington Post.
Two British community relations initiatives, which keep close links with "Hope in the Cities", are known as "Bridgebuilders" (South London) and "Making Britain a Home".
Hope in the Cities website