The Solution’s in The Circle
By Beverly Title
WELCOME, indeed, to the ReSolutionary world where, as our logo depicts, we believe the solution is in the circle; the restorative circle, that is. I hope you’ll take a little time to explore our website and see what we are doing in this next iteration of ReSolutionaries, Inc.
Launching this vision of ReSolutionaries, Inc, is exciting; I feel like I’m trail blazing again in a way that I haven’t since the 1990’s when Teaching Peace and the Longmont Community Justice Partnership were coming to life. Heady stuff, like riding the wind.
The inspiration for this next big step forward comes from a deeply held belief that restorative justice has the power to change the temperament of our world. I have witnessed many examples of astonishing transformations occurring in an amazingly brief restorative encounter. There was an Anglo grandfather, so afraid of a “gang” looking neighbor boy, a Latino, that he wanted extra security precautions before coming into the same room with him; within a couple hours, he was inviting that same boy to come to his home.
I feel deeply privileged to get to do this work and, in doing, it transforms my life into a force for peace in our world. Another example of the power of RJ involves a workshop I was doing recently and asked, “How do you see the 5 R’s showing up in your life?” A young man, a bit “alternative” looking, from a high school with an RJ program spoke up: “I live with roommates. The other night one of my roommates and I were throwing a ball against the wall, playing a game. Another roommate stormed out from his room on the other side of the wall. He hadn’t slept the night before and was trying to get some z’s before work. He and the other roommate almost came to blows. I was able to use my RJ stuff and, in a few minutes, we were all fine. We looked at the harm and made the repairs on the spot.” What could easily have become a police incident was resolved in short order, because one of the roommates had RJ training in school. It can be a short walk from anger to empathy when you know the path, the restorative path.
This kind of change of attitude comes when we open our minds and our hearts to hear and understand each other. Restorative justice practices provide the technology to do just that. After years of witnessing hundreds of these stories in the criminal justice arena, I’ve turned my attention back to the source of my first passionate career, Education, where I worked for 25 years. For five years now, Kappy Hall and I have been designing, field-testing and refining materials and methods for translating restorative justice practices into schools. This has been an exciting and rewarding endeavor as we have witnessed how very well it fits and how quickly school cultures can become caring and respectful.
Two potentially fatal medical episodes in the past three years have left me with an overriding sense of urgency about spreading this good work as far and wide as possible. The plan for that has two major components: bring together a team of extraordinary RJ trainers/consultants and use the Internet. Getting emails from folks in remote areas asking how they can get RJP training inspired me to design a webinar for school executives which is enhanced by an opportunity for a week-long, 40-hour, in person facilitator training to be offered periodically with the first one being planned for Spring 2014. The combination of the webinar and the facilitator training will produce a viable training strategy that makes restorative justice practices accessible for educators.
This is a huge undertaking for a grandmother with heart stents and chemo brain, and it certainly can’t happen alone. The ReSolutionary plan is to build and nurture relationships and partnerships that will bring this vision to life and carry it far into the future. As my friend and fellow ReSolutionary Dan Benavidez says, “Juntos, si se puede,.“ Indeed, together we can!
ReSolutionaries, the next generation, is a collaborative team of highly gifted, restorative justice and equity educators, trainers and consultants. To qualify for this team, everyone must actually do what they teach, and they must be really good at it! That’s my promise to you. I hope you’ll join us on the upcoming webinar and/or forward this website (www.resolutionariesinc.com) to educators at schools that matter to you! I invite you to join the army of peacemakers who are bringing restorative justice practices to the world!
–Beverly B. Title