David Evans - an award-winning writer and counselor/mediator; EMMY AWARD (shared) for writing on “The Monkees”; Two Outstanding Case of the Year Awards for The Los Angeles County Court Alternative Dispute Resolution Program.
The focus of my work is:
To help people get along better and treat each other with greater respect—especially across racial, cultural, and gender barriers
My first career was in humor and comedy. For two years I worked for American Greetings in Cleveland, writing funny greeting cards. One of my all-time best-selling greeting cards had a big raised button on the cover. The line on the front says, “Press this magic button and it will make you a year younger.” On the inside, the card says, “I know. It didn’t work for me either.”
After greeting cards, I moved to Los Angeles, where I spent several years as a comedy writer for television. I wrote for such shows as, “The Monkees,” and “Love American Style.” I received an EMMY AWARD (shared) for writing on “The Monkees.”
During this period, I wrote a book of cartoons about the Bible, titled, “THE GOOD BOOK…of Bible Cartoons.” It became a best seller. One of my typical cartoons for this book is one with a headline that reads, “Lazarus, Raised from the Dead by Jesus, Returns to His Job.” The drawing shows two men talking. We hear one saying, “I’m sorry I missed work last week. I was dead.”
Later, I had an opportunity to pursue a two-year graduate program in psychology, with an emphasis on resolving conflict. It was offered by the Plowshares Institute, a peace and justice organization, with Archbishop Desmond Tutu on the board. I enrolled.
Our course culminated with an immersion experience in South Africa, where our small group met with, and interviewed, members of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
For the past twenty years I have been a mediator in a variety of different settings. For three years I served as a mediator in the Los Angeles County Superior Court Alternative Dispute Program.
One of my strong beliefs about conflict is that a great deal of conflict comes about because of a failure of the imagination.
Because failure of the imagination is such a causative factor in conflicts, my own personal conflict resolution style emphasizes the importance of using creativity and innovation.
During my three years serving in the court program, I mentored a number of students from the graduate dispute resolution program at Pepperdine Law School.
One day one of my Pepperdine students, noting my emphasis on creativity, said to me, “Could you teach us how to be innovators?”
So, I put together a creativity/innovation course, that I have published as the book, “ONE GOOD IDEA.”
I have titled the course (and book) “ONE GOOD IDEA,” because I have noted that many frustrated people are really just one good idea away from a major breakthrough. My course helps them find that one good idea!
It’s a fun course, with humor involved, because humor and innovation have a lot in common. Humor and innovation are both asymmetric, and are both oxygenated by the catalyst of surprise.
I have been a professional mediator and conflict resolution specialist for the last twenty years. However, I am now enlarging the scope of my work. I am applying the tools, strategies and insights I have gained in my years as a mediator to the long-standing meta conflict that exists between white people and black people in our country. It is a problem that has long troubled me personally.
But I believe that there are some simple, tangible things any of us could do to vastly improve the situation. I share my insights and strategies on this question in my new book, “Black & White: How to Have our American Conversation About Race.” (It is published as an ebook at $2.99 per copy through Amazon Kindle.)
I believe this book could make a big difference!