In the News

To the Family of Daunte Wright

Our Deepest Condolences

On April 10, 2021 Daunte Wright was killed by police during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center, MN.  We offer our deepest condolences to his family for their tragic loss and stand in solidarity with them as they seek justice for Daunte and an end to violence against people of color by police.


On April 22, 2021 - NACRJ held a virtual community sharing circle

Acknowledging the death of Daunte Wright.

NACRJ Solidarity with the AAPI Community: Sadness, Grief, and Anger over Atlanta Shootings

Stop asian hate hand lettering and social media hashtag on speech bubble background. Human rights concept, anti-racism movement slogans.

March 16, 2021, was another tragic day marred by gun violence. In all, eight people were killed, and one person was seriously wounded during shootings by the same person at three separate massage businesses in Atlanta. The depth and enormity of the harm suffered by each victim and their families is truly heartbreaking.

The businesses attacked were owned/operated by Asian-American Pacific Islanders (AAPI). Six of those killed were AAPI women:

  • Soon Chung Park (74)
  • Hyun Jung Grant, (51)
  • Suncha Kim, (69)
  • Yong Ae Yue, (63)
  • Xiaojie Tan (49)
  • Daoyou Feng (44)

Read more ...

Amanda Gorman, US Youth Poet Laureate

Amanda Gorman 2021 presidential inauguration public photo 3    The Hill We Climb

by Amanda Gorman, U. S. Youth Poet Laureate, at the Inauguration (Jan. 20, 2021)

When day comes we ask ourselves where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry a sea we must wade.

We’ve braved the belly of the beast. We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.
In the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice.

And yet, the dawn is ours before we knew it.
Somehow we do it. Somehow we’ve weathered and witnessed a nation that isn’t broken, but simply unfinished.

Read more ...

Restorative Responses to COVID-19

pIt is often the case that large-scale crises reveal the best of humanity as people show up to provide support for each other. Hot meals, a listening ear, a smile...all these and more convey messages of comfort, belonging, and social connection. Yet, the current COVID-19 crisis is requiring a different kind of response, stretching our comfort zones of what it means to be in community and in ‘right relationship’ with one another.
How might restorative practitioners encourage activities within families and communities? How do we invite people into spaces of connection and belonging? What kind of restorative practices could be utilized to invite neighborhoods to create safe and responsible ways to check in with one another? Read more about how restorative practioners can practice greater responsiblity in the midst of our current social crisis, especially as it impacts marginalized and low-income populations disproportionately.
This article by Ames Stenson created a platform for two virtual community circles coordinated by NACRJ in April. Over 60 people participated in these meetings which allowed everyone, in facilitated breakout groups, to give supports to each other and also to share ideas for adapting RJ practitioner work online. Thanks to all of you who participated! We hope to do more of the same.

Read more ...

Victims’ Week 2019 Looks to Past and Future

2018NCVRW TileAd 120x240aEvery April the Office for Victims of Crime, based in Washington, D.C., helps to promote National Crime Victims’ Rights Week. This years theme is “Honoring Our Past. Creating Hope for the Future.” To learn more about award recipients for those who have done notable work in serving victims or advancing the field of victim services, you can visit the OVC website. Also check out the NCVRW Resource Guide that has promotional artwork you can download.

NACRJ is glad to stand with all workers in the realm of victim advocacy and victim rights, recognizing that the restorative justice emphasis on victim needs blends very well with responses that are relational, trauma-informed, and which promote deep resolution.


Youth - "March for Our Lives"

merlin 135954453 8886e7b7 13ce 4992 94c4 5bf9d2faaf4c master1050 2 New York Times photo by E. Schaff (3/24/2018)

On Saturday (March 24, 2018) the "March for Our Lives" event was led by surviving students from the school shooting at Florida's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School a month before. Eight hundred simultaneous marches took place all over the country and worldwide.  Several hundred thousand young people and their supporters gathered in front of the Capital Building in Washington, DC.  In clear, articulate, consistent and loud expressions, demonstrators demanded change in American politics which has placed easy access to high-capacity, military-style weapons ahead of the safety of kids. The youth who have been the targets of school shooters or have been victims of gun violence in our communities have found their voice and are no longer willing to tolerate political inaction on gun safety issues.  They are speaking for themselves, telling their truth, and demanding change.

Read more ...

Senator Uses Talking Piece

104962243 AP 18023560307962 collins talking stick.530x298In order to create a greater mood of civility, Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine told CNN reporters that she had to use a "talking stick" to help her colleagues learn the value of waiting until it is their turn to speak during recent negotiations over immigration and funding the federal government. The beautifully beaded talking stick was given to Collins by her friend, Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota. It is originally from Africa and it is used to help control a debate in a meeting with lots of people and lots of emotional energy. Read more.

The Center for Justice and Peacebuilding (an NACRJ Institutional Member) at Eastern Mennonite University has invited Senators to traininng sessions on circle processes led by Kay Pranis. 

Kay Pranis is widely recognized as a leading expert on circle processes and the use of talking pieces to facilitate and control dialogue. Her "Circle Keeper's Handbook" is widely used by practitioners as a resource.

When suspensions weren't working, this high school opted for a new approach

The Washington Post

By Joe Heim August 23, 2016

Donnell Honesty TWP 8 23 16

Donnell Honesty, a student at Ballou High School in Southeast Washington, attends summer school at Ballou on July 17. Honesty went through the school’s restorative-justice program, which is changing the way discipline is handled at the school. (Evelyn Hockstein/For The Washington Post)

Donnell Honesty can’t remember what the fight was about or even quite how it started.
He was a junior at D.C.’s Ballou High School in 2015 when another student stepped toward him in the school’s cafeteria. Within seconds, the two were trading punches.

Read more ...

After the Election - Ripple Effects in Schools

2016 Election RSD Cropped

 Since the election on November 8, 2016, we have received a number of emails from educators in elementary, middle school and high school regarding an increase in bullying, racial harassment and sexual harassment among students.  School staff are also observing expressions of anxiety and fear among students who wonder what the future of our nation holds for them.

As one of our members noted, "These stories are painful and this is a difficult time.  It is important that we maintain our principles so that hurts are processed in restorative ways."  In our view it is particularly important that educators address these issues in respectful and culturally sensitive ways that allow students to hear each others' stories and find understanding across racial, ethnic, cultural and class differences.

Attached are three documents that may help teachers address the harms and misunderstandings that children in their classrooms are experiencing at this time.

Dear Colleagues Letter - Department of Education, MN (Nov. 9, 2016)

Model Circle Process for Post Election Dialogue (UMOJA, Nov. 9, 2016)

Entry from the Teaching Tolearance Blog (Nov. 2, 2016)

We want to hear about your experiences with constructive responses to these issues.  If you are a member and wish to join a dialogue on this and other issues visit the Virtual Circle discussion forum on the NACRJ website.