DARJN Gathering Recap

On Saturday, April 27th approximately 40 people gathered at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Corktown to listen, learn, and vision how restorative practices and restorative justice can and could impact Detroit. The main theme that resonated throughout the day is that we are the ones that we have been waiting for and we want to live in a world where restorative practices and restorative justice is not an idea that is implemented within certain sectors of society or communities, but that it is just the way that we live.

Grace Lee Boggs opened the day with the message that we need to fundamentally
shift ourselves in order to shift the ways in which we approach harm in our
community. She said that it is fundamentally a question of justice and that on this time on the clock of the world, we are in a huge transition in society. We, in Detroit, have both the opportunity and the responsibility to be the change we want to see in the world and living in a way that is restorative is essential to this transformation, this {r}evolution.

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After Grace and a brief history and definition on restorative justice and restorative practices by Bill Sower, we heard from Monica Evans of the Detroit Police Department, Bill Wylie-Kellerman of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Dwight Levens of Wayne Mediation Center, and Christopher Plum of Plymouth Education Charter. Each person shared their experiences and work in the field and invited us to reflect on these important questions as we move forward to create a vision of a city and a people based on restorative principles.

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-How do we build the Beloved Community in our city and in everything that we do?
-How do we bring about a cultural shift so that restorative practices in a norm
instead of a program?
-How do we keep justice in restorative justice?
-What is at risk if we do not implement restorative practices in our schools and our
lives?
-Do I really believe in the people that I live and work with? If so, what am I going to
do to make the world a more just and compassionate place for all?
-Who is going to be the loudest voice for you?

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With these questions, we entered into conversations in the areas of the justice system, education, and community to learn more in-depth about the work that is
going on and to think more deeply and creatively on ways in which to make this
cultural shift in our own lives and work.

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At the end of the day, people walked away wanting to learn more from each other, attend more trainings, and with the resolve that Grace so beautifully expressed in the beginning of the day – we are the change we want to see in the world.

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If you are interested in learning more about our trainings or supporting
this work of the Detroit Area Restorative Justice Network, please follow us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/DetroitRJN or send us an email at
detroitrestorativejustice@gmail.com. We are in need of more creative and
dedicated volunteers!

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