by Brenda Nolan
The MACUCC Restorative Justice Task Team advocates for restorative practices in all areas of our community life, whether within the criminal legal system, in communities of faith, in schools or beyond. We take the approach that the essence of restorative practice is to build human connections between people and to seek to repair those connections when they have been damaged. Listening and seeing the humanity of one another is at the core of restorative practices. We want to be mindful that circle process has been a gift from indigenous people who hold our interconnectedness with all life sacred and have kept their teachings alive.
The Restorative Justice Task Team lends a voice to policy-making efforts within state government, because we strive for a deeper understanding of human relationships than one of simply offender and victim. Oftentimes someone viewed as an offender is struggling with profound trauma himself and it is incumbent upon participants to grasp that, as we build long-term solutions for healthy communities.
Strong Oak Lefebvre will be facilitating a workshop at Super Saturday on March 16th using a circle process focused on racial justice, social justice and social change. Circle process can help us to build community and understand each other absent of a specific conflict or harm. Many circle keepers and restorative justice practitioners recommend that we begin to use circle process when we don’t have conflict and harm between us. This in itself helps us to really hear each other, build community, and prevent conflict and harm from arising in the first place, because we are already hearing and tending to the needs of each other; and when conflict and harm do arise it gives us a structure that we trust to help us through it.
Some team members are part of a year-long program of podcasts involving people from around the world sharing their expertise, and we hope to bring ideas of these creative and compassionate leaders to our work in Massachusetts.
The Restorative Justice Task Team offers opportunities for circle practice by telephone and in person, as well as resources for more formal training. During our monthly meeting, held via conference call, we support one another in promoting and expanding the use of restorative practices. Join us! For more information contact MACUCC RJ Task Team Chair Brenda Nolan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Louellyn Lambros and Brenda Nolan are members of the Restorative Justice Task Team of the MACUCC.
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