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Webinar: Liberating Restorative Justice from Co-optation within Colleges and Universities


With this webinar on November 18, we continue to highlight and promote the new book, Colorizing Restorative Justice: Voicing Our Realities edited by Edward Valandra (Living Justice Press). Dr. Desirée Anderson’s compelling essay in that volume, “Co-opting Restorative Justice in Higher Education” provides the foundation for this session.


The system of white supremacy is a part of every interaction we have as human beings and influences the ways in which we participate and show up in all spheres of life. Like other institutions, white supremacy has impacted the implementation of restorative practices in educational institutions. Patterns of structural and institutional co-optation rooted in white supremacy and colonialism prevent restorative justice/restorative practices from being truly transformational. Additionally, by expecting restorative justice to solve problems that institutions neglect, the work gets watered down and the potential for restorative justice to be a mechanism for both individual and social justice gets lost in the process. Decolonizing the use of restorative justice within institutions is the only way to address systemic harm and oppression and the ways in which this influences interpersonal harm and conflict. Desirée Anderson, the SSW's Neijma Celestine-Donnor, and Satya Chima engage in a conversation about the ways in which practitioners may use restorative justice and restorative practices to address issues of structural harm while keeping in mind the ways in which colonization and white supremacy may infiltrate facilitator practice. They will also address the use of RJ within higher education as a response to bias incidents and other conduct that reflects systemic marginalization and oppression within institutions.


The discussion will include:


Strategies for RJ practitioners to take into account how the institutions through which we operate can advance or hinder RJ as a transformational and anti-racist approach.

Foundational principles, elements, and ethics when engaging in restorative practices to address issues of incidental and structural harm on college and university campuses.

Ways of thinking about the role of the facilitator and being sensitive to racial trauma when addressing issues of bias, equity, and inclusion within institutional settings..

How to critically reflect on your own social location to prevent and/or minimize the co-optation and watering down of restorative justice and restorative practices.


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