Take a few minutes and read Robert Koehler’s profound and inspiring story, BUILDING COMMUNITY, BUILDING PEACE (released October 12, 2011 – commonwonders.com.). It is somewhat difficult to read, as Bob reminds us of the horrors of gang violence and its tragic aftermath, using the senseless death of Fenger High School student, Derrion Albert. But as always with Bob and his stories, from dark despair he leads us to the light of solution. Bob’s story highlights Robert Spicer, the “culture and calm” coordinator at Fenger High School, and Spicer’s use of Restorative Justice practices to restore and build community.
If Restorative Justice and its practices aren’t a part of your life experience, you can also visit the website www.restorativejusticeinaction.org. There you can view clips of Robert Spicer and other Restorative Justice Practitioners and the amazing RJ work they are doing in Chicago. This website will inspire you to learn more, and perhaps even encourage you to bring RJ into your community, work, school, home…begining a restorative way of life.
And finally, take a look at the powerful short documentary, Concrete Steel & Paint, a film about crime, restoration and healing (Winner, Best Short Documentary 2011 Peace On Earth Film Festival), by filmmakers Cindy Bernstein and Tony Herzia (www.concretefilm.org). The film takes you into the center of the RJ process, slowly building to healing and restoration, as it is directly experienced by crime victims and offenders meeting inside prison walls.
I hope one or all three of the above motivates you to explore bringing Restorative Justice practices into your corner of the world. Sometimes simply learning about a successful and tested practice like RJ can move us to action for the greater good. Peace!
For More information on Restorative Justice Practices in Illinois: http://www.ibarji.org/