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Community Health

Season 1, Episode 8

On today's episode we explore the power of restorative practice and how repairing harm has the ability to build and maintain health in an individual's life, their community and our society at large. Keith Hickman, the Director of Collective Impact with the International Institute of Restorative Practices, joins us to unpack!

Show references and links 

Keith Hickman: The Executive Director of Collective Impact

International Institute for Restorative Practices

First Nations People Around the Globe: Our first inhabitants whom we must pay homage

Community Service Foundation, Buxmont Academy: Has provided programs for delinquent and at risk youth in southeastern Pennsylvania since 1977

Zehr: considered the grandfather of restorative justice

Ted and Susan Wachtel: Built the IIRP Graduate School

 

Scholars and practitioners that have paved the way-

Kay Pranis

Fania Davis

Terry O'Connell

Mark Yantzi

Paul McCold

Marge Thorsborne

John Brathwaite

 

PBIS: Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports

BIPOC: Black Indigenous People of Color (communities that are most marginalized)

Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project: Initiated by the Brooklyn Community Foundation with the aim to create a racially just and sustainable disciplinary model that can be scaled across New York City school systems.

RAND: One of the largest studies with the Pittsburgh Public Schools. It's the first randomized controlled trial study of that scale that was a huge breakthrough in showing some of the positive outcomes and indicators of restorative practices.

CASEL: The Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning

PBIS: Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports

Harlem Community Justice Center

Office of Victims of Crimes

Family Group Conference

Aspen Institute: The Institute and its international partners promote the creation of a free, just, and equitable society in a nonpartisan and nonideological setting through seminars, policy programs, conferences, and leadership development initiatives.

Citizen University: Dedicated to building a culture of powerful, responsible leadership.

Eric Lee: Founder and CEO of Citizen University

Ted Wachtell: The Founder of the IIRP Institute, our IIRP Graduate School

 

Website: www.iirp.edu

Facebook: @restorativepractices

Twitter: @IIRPgradschool

Instagram: @restoring_community

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[Intro music]

 

Noelle: Whaaaaat up?!

Miranda: Welcome to The Unpacked Project

Noelle: We’re your hosts-I’m Noelle

Miranda: And I'm Miranda.

Noelle: We're here to explore all things social justice. It's through casual conversations, interviews, and story telling that we hope to inspire others to take action towards a more compassionate and equitable world.

Miranda: 'Cause honestly it kinda sucks here sometimes.

Noelle: For real, we can do better people.

Miranda: Alright, let's start unpacking.

 

[Music plays]

 

Noelle  

Keith Hickman is the Executive Director of Collective Impact at the International Institute for Restorative Practices. In his role he works with partner organizations to pursue the IIRP mission of positively impacting social health. Keith builds alliances with state education departments and national collaboratives, has served as an adviser to the Maryland Commission on the School to Prison Pipeline and Restorative Practices, is a partner scholar on the CASEL Equity Workgroup, and is a member of the Research Development and Design Team for the California Safe, Healthy Responsive Schools Network. In 2000, he helped found the Youth Justice Project at the Harlem Community Justice Center, and has worked with school districts and community based agencies to develop large scale programs in multiple cities, nationally and globally.

 

Miranda  

Thank you so much for being here today Keith, we truly appreciate it. You've done so much work within this field. And that was a great intro, but can you tell us a little bit more in depth about the work that you do?

 

Keith  

Sure, thank you Miranda and Noelle for having me on the show. First, let me start by paying homage to First Nations People Around the Globe, that for centuries have shown us the way to build and be in community. There would be no blueprint for this work without their teachings and communitarian approach to justice. So the roots of this work start there, and all of us as justice practitioners owe a great deal to them. The IIRP Graduate School is dedicated to the advanced education of professionals at the graduate level and to research that can develop the growing field of restorative practices. And as an emerging social science that studies how to strengthen relationships between individuals, and as well as social connections within communities with the goal of positively influencing human behavior and strengthening civil society throughout the world. I just wanted to make sure we had a framing definition of the role of IIRP graduate school and how it shaped me as a professional in the role in the work that I do. So we draw upon a wide range of fields to develop theory and practice and conduct research designed to address this global challenge, and model that potential by actualizing the principles of restorative practice in the daily operations. It's dealing with students, staff, faculty, administrators, and trustees, and its relationship with other people in organizations. So, as the Executive Director of Collective Impact, I have the tremendous opportunity to lead and support cross sector collaboration and collective impact initiatives, with external partners here in the US,  abroad, with media organizations, funders, policymakers and others interested in strengthening civil society through civil engagement. And this is across many sectors and industries including K through 12 education, higher education, community health, work culture climate, and of course, criminal justice. So I've been able to work with national K through 12 thought leaders and on the ground with school districts across the country. And I've really been amazed at how local communities are willing in restorative practices to come together to address issues impacting their well being and sense of self and sense of community. Places like Detroit, Michigan, and Oakland. Communities like Snohomish County, Washington. Even here in New York City where there is an historic Justice Initiative made up of citywide, multi-sector network of practitioners, advocates and community members that are seeking to increase support for and across restorative justice approaches for all New Yorkers.

 

Noelle  

So I mean, there's just so much work that you're doing and so much that communities are starting to do, it's really amazing. While restorative practice is a newer addition to the social sciences, it's gained even more traction with the current spotlight on our criminal justice system. So restorative practice has strong ties to school communities, but you know, like I said, we're seeing it utilized more in the prosecution phase, reentry programs, even family and group therapy. So can you give us a brief history of restorative practices and other spaces that these methods are used in?

 

Keith  

Yeah, sure Noelle. Well, when we look at the last 50 years, the restorative justice movement originated from mediation or reconciliation between victims and offenders that were coming out of Canada and eventually made its way to the US and Europe under various names, but still based on victims and offender mediation. Eventually modern restorative justice broadened to include communities of care, real justice conferencing, family group conferencing out of New Zealand, and in the late 1980s, community policing and in the later part of the 1990s, what we call restorative practices. So IIRP grew out of the Community Service Foundation, Buxmont Academy, which since 1977, has provided programs for delinquent and at risk youth in southeastern Pennsylvania. So our work really does come from the social service and human service field and the educational field in a little old town out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. And in 1990, the newly created IIRP Graduate School broadened its training to informal and proactive restorative practices in addition to the formal restorative conferencing. And since then, the IIRP Graduate School, which I shared earlier as an accredited university--accredited graduate school--has developed a comprehensive framework for practicing theory that expands the restorative paradigm far beyond the origins in criminal justice. And I must acknowledge and show tremendous gratitude--and you know, I know I'm always acknowledging honor, but that's what we do in our work. I must show tremendous gratitude, you know, for how Zehr who's considered the grandfather of restorative justice, Ted and Susan Wachtel who built the IIRP Graduate School. Kay Pranis, Fania Davis, Terry O'Connell, Mark Yantzi, Paul McCold, Marge Thorsborne, and John Brathwaite and many, many other scholars and practitioners that paved the way for all of us to do this very important work. And I think it's important that as we are sharing our experiences and our knowledge of restorative justice, restorative practices, that we continue to honor those scholars that have paved the way over the many, many years, which is very important.

 

Miranda  

Oh, most definitely. I mean, you know, and just with the interviews that we've done, and our backgrounds in education, we've seen and heard how these practices work, you know? And so I can only imagine trying to push this social science in the beginning and people not necessarily believing it, so I'm glad that it really has made its way to where we are now. Restorative practices is a broad term, but the techniques used are very specific with a focus on inclusiveness, relationship, building and problem solving. Restorative methods, such as circles for conflict resolution and conferences, bring victims, offenders, and their supporters together to address wrongdoing. You know, it's been utilized with a lot of success. Can you expand more on how these methods work?

 

Keith  

Yeah, I'll speak a little bit specifically about the continuum of practices. You know, of course, there's the theory component and the practice, and you really need both, but the theory drives the practices. But there are a continuum of practices from informal to formal, that can be applied proactively and responsibly to build relationships, repair harm, as a way of strengthening community--for example, schools and neighborhoods, workplaces, criminal justice system. And it's the structure of affective statements and questions, restorative circles and conferencing, that allows the voice and storytelling to build empathy and repair harm for those that cause harm, and were harmed. It is the storytelling. It is the narrative. It is the voice component, through a set of structured questions that allow scripts to unfold about the past incident, the present feeling and thoughts, and the future actions that need to be taken. It's a part of being accountable to others and to the community. Simply, it is a way for those harmed or what we say in the criminal justice language--victims, to voice what they need in order to safely move on with their lives when an incident occurs. It is a way for those who cause harm or in the criminal justice language--offenders, to hold themselves accountable for the behaviors and actions and conversation with the folks they've harmed. And the storytelling is about letting the truth unfold, and repairing the relational harm caused an opportunity to be right in community, and you can see those are the Indigenous spirits, you know, the making of a communal justice components. So proactively, storytelling is an opportunity and way to strengthen relationships between individuals, as well as social connections within communities. And the traditional justice systems are not really designed to give voice to those that have been impacted by crime and wrongdoing. In fact, it is more focused, if you think about it, on punishment as a form of retributive justice, then restoring what is needed for victims. So we really are more and more looking at prevention and proactive components of restorative practices.

 

Noelle  

So you know, it's such a focus on repairing harm and providing support, we can clearly see why it's played such a vital role in transforming classrooms and learning environments, but restorative practices also disrupts the feeding of certain demographics into the cradle to prison pipeline. And when we interviewed Noble Williams, who was on last week, one of the things that I asked him was that his access to practices like this while he was incarcerated seemed like it really changed the trajectory of his life. And his response was that it quite literally saved his life, which I felt was just so powerful to hear him say that. So can you share how this is also used as a prevention piece in our school system, but also how it just affects communities that are utilizing these methods?

 

Keith  

Yeah, I'll start by saying I'm, I'm moved by that testimony. It's those stories I just spoke about that just gives me chills. And again, it just proves the point that, you know, it really is about relationships and how we help people find their human dignity, and how do we give human dignity back to those that are harmed. And so restorative practices, it's really been proven to be an effective approach. And I love the K through 12 school work, because this is where we see some of the greatest impact in the last 15 years--15 to 20 years. But it really is about improving school climate and culture. And it points a spotlight on some of the root causes to disproportionality, which is what you're talking about Noelle, which has much to do with relationship and connectedness, power dynamics, and shifting the mental model with all of these influencing structural changes. So we're talking about from policies to practices to resources, and how that flows in a school and even as a school district. So, when done in alignment with other K through 12 programs, really such as PBIS and SEL and other thought leaders, we see tremendous promise in changing the conditions that continue to foster despair, discrimination, and disproportionality for BIPOC communities that are most marginalized. And that's what the numbers have been running out and have for quite a while. So we want to close that gap. And that's a big piece of the equity work that you're hearing about. You know, Dr. Anne Gregory out of Rutgers University, is known for her body of research in restorative practices, and she's been one of the key scholars on the subject. And her breath of research on this subject is noteworthy. Like in 2015, The Brooklyn Community Foundation initiated the Brooklyn Restorative Justice Project and their aim is to create a racially just and sustainable disciplinary model that can be scaled across New York City school systems, and to ultimately halt the school to prison pipeline by providing disciplinary alternatives. And in this way, the project really aims--it's really at the forefront of RJ [...] promoting racial and social justice. And already, there's a number of positive indicators coming out of that, that work and that study. And really, to create the building blocks for whole school change, and creating relational ethos across schools, developing capacity for long term sustainability. And so when we look at school districts, like other places like Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky, you know, and Pittsburgh Public Schools, recently, a report coming out of Baltimore City Public Schools, we're finding very, very similar outcomes. And those outcomes tend to be a decrease in behavior, that's a decrease in suspensions, an increase in seat time, we're seeing things around the closing of disproportionality gaps, tremendous improvement in climate and in the culture of the school, and many, many other indicators. In fact, I would point my audience to really take a look at some of the largest study like the RAND study with the Pittsburgh Public Schools. It's the first randomized controlled trial study of that scale that was a huge breakthrough in showing some of the positive outcomes and indicators of restorative practices. So, again, you know, this work is, you know, restorative practice is one of the larger initiatives that are being implemented in the school and climate cultural world across the country. But also, I just want to point out again, it's extremely important that we don't do this work in silo, and that we really do this work in partnership and in collaboration, which is part of my role as a Collective Impact, with thought leaders like CASEL, the Collaborative for Academic and Social Emotional Learning, and you know, PBIS, and many other methods and initiatives and approaches that are existing in schools. We don't want to silo this work. We need to leverage every resource and opportunity to make sure that teachers and administrators have everything they need to collectively change the climate and landscape in our schools.

 

Miranda  

You know that word collectively, I think that's almost part of what the restorative justice or restorative practices foundation is about, right? Connecting people to their supports, and, you know, having a community that uplifts you, that you can go to and helps hold you accountable, as well. Ultimately, restorative practices it's a social ecological model, and we've talked about that before, aside from this episode, that focuses on all of the aspects of an individual's environment and their needs. So they look at the whole person, you know, what came before and what do they need after, right? So we talk about reintegration, or re entry into society after prison, and how most individuals are simply released or just re entered into communities, and they they have no supports. So Noelle was talking about Noble who just interviewed our last episode, and he had served some time--I think in the juvenile justice system, and was released and then ended up going back to prison. And he was just saying that the first time he was out, he had nothing, you know, he showed up back home, his homeboys came through, they brought him a bottle, I think they gave him drugs to sell, they brought him a gun. And they were supporting him the best way they knew how, right...in those types of communities, but they're communities that are filled with a lot of people that have also been harmed or victimized in other ways as well, right? So you know, it's that social ecological model lens that really provides equity to all and drastically reduces the chance of returning to prison. So how are you seeing RP directly impact recidivism rates across the country or where have programs have been implemented?

 

Keith  

I just absolutely love this question because it just excites me to hear you ask that because I think one of the great things about restorative practices is it's a cross discipline, meaning the purpose and role that it can play. And the community health field is really where we start to gain some traction here. And community health and equity and social ecological frameworks, these are all out of Healthy People 2020. These are all out of initiatives and frameworks that are already in place and that are evidence based. And so as you can see, as researchers as scholars, as practitioners, we really are trying--we're asking the question of where does restorative practices fit in existing frames, such as SEL, and community health, and public health, right? This pandemic just proves how important the repairing of harm and building a community is at the forefront. And so just a little bit about on the criminal justice side, restorative justice, it's mostly applied to a number, right now, it's mostly applied to a number of criminal and juvenile justice systems, including diversion. We see it in diversion, victim offender mediation, family group conferencing, and sentencing circles. It also it also shows up in teen courts and you see it, you know, in some of the elements in teen courts, implemented within various justice and non justice settings. Some of the principles have been applied to reentry court. I had the opportunity of working at some of the first early reentry courts out of the Harlem Community Justice Center, with the Center for Court Innovation here in New York as a way of reintegrating formerly incarcerated juveniles and adults back into their families and community at large, which you spoke about. And so there's a study out of 2017, from George Mason University, that showed that overall the results evaluating restorative justice programs and practices showed a moderate reduction in future delinquent behavior relative to more traditional juvenile court processes, and you're talking about that, so we're starting to see data creep up and research creep up on the importance of how the practices need to be embedded in community relationships, right? This is why I keep pointing back to why community health is really important. And there was promising findings in terms of delinquency outcomes for youth--we're seeing victim offender conferencing, we see family group conferencing, arbitration mediation programs, and circle sentencing programs. So we've seen some positive outcomes in that. Youth participating in restorative justice programs had a great perception of fairness. The results also suggests that restorative justice youth are more satisfied with restorative justice programs and have somewhat less supportive attitudes towards delinquency. And so there are these you know, there's been these literature reviews of studies that are showing that when we really focus on the conditions that can positively shape behavioral change--going back to the restorative practice, social discipline window, is that when we do things with people we're more likely to be productive and cooperative and go beyond as changing their lives, and being much happier and much healthier people. And so, when we use that frame, and we teach that frame, in community--community settings, and we already know that community folks are powerful to begin with, but when we bring them together, we look at how we can shake group dynamics. Places like in Detroit, where you have peacekeeping circles, where folks returning back into community have members that understand their pain, understand their need, understand that we need to support them. And when they come back to communities that are healthy, they're more likely, actually, to be healthy people. And so I can't stress enough why it's so important that this work, live and grow under a community health framework. And also that, again, points to that systems--you know, criminal justice systems aren't set up and designed to do this. They should, but they don't yet. They haven't quite caught up. So the criminal justice field really is one where--it's just going to take a little bit longer. It is the most punitive, obviously, because it really is about tribunal justice. But community health, the well being of people, and people returning. So some of the things you're talking about in terms of reentry, that work can actually begin while folks are on their way, you know, transitioning out of prison life back into community. Because we can start to do family group conferencing, family work, those relationships that need to be repaired, and then when the person comes back into the community, they're coming back to supports and services that are already in place that recognize the repairing of the harm and their need to be successful and the forgiveness element, empathy components of this work. And then again, this whole focus is on the needs of the community and the needs of those who have been harmed. Until we really do that work and give them voice, it's really, really difficult to bridge that gap. I know that's a long winded answer to your question, but I just this particular question, just I mean, I think there's so much tremendous opportunity for intersectionality of scholarship in this work. Yeah, yeah.

 

Noelle  

And I think one of the big things that Miranda and I always talk about from doing all these episodes, obviously, we have background in education, but we've learned so much throughout all of our interviews, and one of the big things that we were talking about just how interconnected all of these things are, right? Our systems, education, criminal justice, our communities, and on an individual level, we are all interconnected and can have an influence on one another at so many different levels. And we see, you know, hearing, when restorative practices are used in school systems, the positive impact it can have on social emotional learning, and then, therefore, then disrupting that school to prison pipeline and creating more access and opportunity. And then learning from Adam and Noble and you, hearing the research, and when we allow this to be a part of the criminal justice system and be used in facilities, how it reduces recidivism and the positive impacts we're seeing from that. But, you know, there's multiple sides to always consider, especially in the criminal justice system, when we think about offenses. And I think society tends to think that if offenders aren't punished--so we've talked that tends to be how we've always responded, you know. In criminal justice is the need for punishment, and not looking at allowing reparation and repair for harm on both sides. So again, thinking of the focus on healing, do you see that victims and victims families are positively impacted by these practices as well?

 

Keith  

Yeah, I mean, as an approach that focuses on repairing relationships and the harm caused by crime, while holding offenders accountable, restorative practices provides an opportunity for the parties directly affected by crime--victims and survivors, offenders and their communities, to really identify and address their needs in the aftermath of the crime. So, families tend to be those who are most harmed in these cases. So victims have an improved perception of fairness and greater satisfaction, improve attitudes towards juvenile offenders and adult offenders, and they're more willing to forgive the offender and are more likely to feel that the outcome was just [for more than] just the victim that caused the harm. So we see again, outcomes related to emotional well being and in other other areas. I do want to talk a little bit in this--because you talk about families, but I want to talk about, a bit about--relative to traditional juvenile justice systems and processing that, you know, here in the US, we're starting to see family group decision making or family group conferencing as formal restorative processes. That originated out of New Zealand and made its way to the Netherlands, and are practices that are tied to National Child Welfare legislation in those places respectively. According to the Office of Victims of Crimes, there are about 300 programs in North America, maybe a little bit more, and larger numbers in Europe. So the Family Group Conference, or FTC, provides victims an opportunity to express their full impact of the crime upon their lives, to receive answers to any lingering questions about the incident, and participate in holding the offender accountable for their actions. Defenders can tell their stories through this process, why the crime occurred, and how it's affected their lives. And we see it mostly practice in juvenile justice settings and sometimes in violent crime situations. Some systems use court personnel to facilitate conferences, others use trained volunteers, and regardless of the facilitator, the results are promising, to say the least, that some structure of family group conferencing or family group decision making, which places the power of the family at the center and the expertise and support on the periphery to support that power structure of a family, it contributes to the empowerment and healing of the community as a whole. And because it involves more community members in the meeting that's called to discuss the offense, its effects, and how to remedy them, a wider circle of people are recognized as being victimized by the offense. We certainly learned that through a process called listening circles, which has really, really gained a tremendous amount of traction over the last several of months, particularly on issues around the election, and issues around racism, and the number of murders that's happened in our country. And issues around the pandemic, you know, COVID-19. And so this work really does come out of the sex abuse scandals in the Catholic Church, and just the listening circles we use as a way to provide healing at the community level for those that were a part of the community, but were silent voices at the time. And so we have to keep reaching out and expand this, the community is more than just two people or a small group of people that were harmed, but that the community as a whole is impacted because of the shared values. And so by involving a broader range of people affected by the crime, far more citizens become direct stakeholders in the criminal and juvenile justice processes. Again, there's structural things that we could be doing, both as part of the criminal justice system and outside of the criminal justice system as part of community work, community organization work, that really can help families understand the power that they possess and understand the needs that they need to be healthy and well being again. And so this family structure is a really important piece and a touch points by which schools should be doing this work, criminal Justice I've already mentioned, should be doing this work, probation should be doing this work, youth serving organizations should be doing this work. There are a number of sectors and institutions that could be putting these structures in place to really help families heal. And this is really, I think, the most transformative work where it can happen. And the most important work, that's you know, in families, and we all have families, but in our families, and we tend to keep things secret, you don't like your business out there. Those kinds of things. But there's a lot of harm and hurt that goes on. We have to find processes and ways to be able to communicate and heal and restorative practice is a fantastic way to do that.

 

Miranda  

Yeah, I mean, so what I'm hearing is everyone should be utilizing restorative practices, you know?

 

Keith  

Yea, as much as you can, yeah! I mean, you know, it's not the it's not the silver--it's not the fix it all, but it is a process and a way to communicate and find a language, and deal with vulnerability and rebuild trust in order to take those steps, right?

 

Miranda  

I mean, it really is amazing work. And we sit here and talk about all the benefits that you're seeing from these studies, and just having worked with youth or worked within prison reform, you know, benefits coming out of schools, the victims, families, communities, and there's been a common language throughout various episodes, that there's just so much lost potential, and so many individuals are missing from communities because of our criminal system. So, you know, again, we talk about all of these benefits, but what does community health look like and what are the potential impacts on our communities and neighborhoods when these practices are implemented?

 

Keith  

Yeah, this is good stuff! This is like an arrival and take off point for us at the IIRP Graduate School because of all the years of work coming out of criminal justice to K to 12, and expanding the scope in an interdisciplinary way. The IIRP Graduate School has created a multi framework approach for improving community, health and equity, and through restorative practices. You can certainly find on our website I'll give at the end of the interview, but the distinctive features of community health include community member engagement, multi sector collaboration, individual groups and organizations work together to address health issues by taking into account the social and cultural factors relevant to the community. That's really important. Again, group dynamic work, right? Restorative practice strengthens relationships between these individuals as well as social connectedness within the community. And then, restorative practice can also help to increase people's personal and collective efficacy doing the work. These positive outcomes influence a sense of community. People with greater sense of community are more likely to act in healthy ways and work with others to promote the well being for all. And so the proactive aspects of restorative practice focus on building the community before a problem arises, rather than responding after problems occur. So this is important prevention work. And that's important to the field of public health and community health--to improve the social determinants in a community. And you can see, we're starting to use language, not only just restorative practice language, but other language to really foster how these two things can operate as a multi modal approach. And so when used as universal prevention strategy for everyone in the community, regardless of any specific risk factors that may or may not exist, restorative practice really can help create the social conditions for people to be healthier and have greater well being. And that the idea that people are influenced by their environment is consistent with the proactive aims for restorative practice, which I've been talking about throughout this interview, and to build a, you know, a strong community environment in which people can thrive. So again, going back to Miranda, what you said about the social ecological model, it can be a useful guide for improving community health and well being through restorative practices, and the opportunity for cross sector collaboration among community coalition's to influence the interrelatedness, the interdependence, including those individual characteristics and behaviors--interpersonal relationships, and the environment, organization, community and public policy. So we talk about that SEL model as a sphere of influence, again, from public to interpersonal, restorative practice is the relational bridge that ties that influence together. It is just so--I can't wait to, you know, as more and more scholars dig into this work, how it's going to make its way into community as part of building community connectedness. And the work that can happen at the municipality level, in communities. So boy, just imagine once it makes its way into you know, mayor's offices and, you know, City Council's and they get the resource support and the policy support, that really, you know, empowers communities to do the work on the ground in partnership with municipalities. You're really talking about a new way to do urban transformation and world transformation.

 

Noelle  

Yeah, so, you know, you said just imagine. So it actually leads into a question that we always ask everyone that we're interviewing at the end--what would reimagining our country from a restorative practice lens look like if we actually started doing some of these things that you just mentioned?

 

Keith  

Yeah, the exciting news is that there are many folks coming out of the restorative--the earlier days of restorative practices and new thinkers, that are tackling this question as we speak. They may not call it restorative practices, but the spirit and and the elements of that are in what they're doing. And I'll just point to a few folks that I think are really leading the work and worth checking out if you get a chance. So there are a lot of organizations around the country that are exploring these very questions such as the Aspen Institute. They're doing some great work around citizenship, what the new citizenship is going to look like and exploring questions around, you know, better arguments. They're putting together these amazing projects that are very accessible to just anyone, particularly local communities to tackle. That's the civic engagement component of the citizenship work, right? Citizen University, Eric Lee's work. Tremendous stuff happening out of there. You know, and even the Founder of the IIRP Institute, our IIRP Graduate School, Ted Wachtell, who's now since retired. But he has through his work with the Building a New Reality, where their mission is to seek to challenge and push forward, fostering leadership based on really fostering leadership. Creating a revolution really by conversation advocating democracy in everyday life. Where a nonpartisan, evidence based, social movement that addresses six facets of society's needs. And he talks about it from learning, governance, care, justice, enterprise and spirit. And, you know, this is providing both a roadmap and a framework to support learning, decision making, an action. It's building a new reality. I mean, at the Aspen Institute, they're talking about fostering leadership based on enduring values to provide a nonpartisan venue for dealing with critical issues. At Citizen U they're envisioning a great civic revival across our nation, where the dream is a country in which Americans are steeped in a sense of civic character, educated in tools instead of power. I mean, you are seeing a movement of people that is placing this work and the elements of this work, smack dead in our democracy. And boy, I mean, haven't we been needing this for a long time. So this is another thing that gets me excited about the work right? It's like, you're taking something that started off, you know, as out of mediation and conflict resolution, and has grown into the scholarship and its impact, not only in the US, but worldwide. Places like Singapore, I already mentioned, places like New Zealand, and Europell . All around the planet, you've got thousands and thousands and thousands of practitioners that are taking this back to their community, and implemented it in tremendously powerful ways. So yeah, it is reimagining. And it is using what you know, and using what we believe, and using what we know works from a justice lens as a way to reinvent, reimagine what civil society could look like and should look like.

 

Miranda  

I love it. And I mean, clearly people are already doing this work. And thank you for all those references, we'll link to them in our show notes, as we always do. But that does bring us to the end of our episode. And I can--let me tell you, I had chills! Just so many things that you were saying, I truly miss this work, I value it at my core, I've seen the transformation, you know, that it can provide to communities and spaces and people. So for our listeners, if you are interested, please definitely check out some of our links. But before we go, I always do like to ask, where can we find you? What platforms can we find you on if we're curious about this stuff?

 

Keith  

Yeah, so our website is www.iirp.edu. And our Facebook addresses @restorativepractices. Our Twitter is @IIRPgradschool, and our Instagram is @restoring_community.

 

Noelle  

All right, well thank you Keith. Next week make sure to join us for our episode on reimagining modern policing, how we can create social safety nets for our communities. And we'll be joined by Michelle Perin from Whitebird Clinic and Cahoots out in Oregon, where they're using some pretty fascinating models in terms of trying to reimagine what police look like. They've been doing it for years and join us to hear about all the great work that they're doing out there.

 

Miranda  

See ya then!

 

[Outro music plays]

Miranda: The Unpacked Project is produced by Vicky Lee. Branding and Marketing by Raquel Avalos.

Noelle: Show us some love and be sure to like, subscribe and review our podcast. And to stay connected and up-to-date, follow us on Instagram at the_unpacked project.

Miranda: Shout out to all of our listeners who unpacked with us today, we’ll see you next week.

Noelle: Peace!

Miranda: Ayye byyeee