- In the News
Every 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.
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.
In 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.
On January 17, 2017 NACRJ and a handful other organizations focused on Restorative Justice issues received letters requesting our perspective on a resolution related the their global efforts on restorative justice. Mark Umbreit, NACRJ President, responded to their invitation with a letter on Feb. 13, 2017. You can read both the UN Email and their Letter of Invitation and the NACRJ letter by Dr. Umbreit here.
The Washington Post
By Joe Heim August 23, 2016
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.
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.
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.