Restorative justice at the CAHRO Conference

By Karen Driscoll, LDIR intern

On April 2, 2013, the California Association of Human Relations Organizations (CAHRO) held a daylong conference, “Overcoming Violence & Injustice: The Humans Relations Approach.” The conference featured a panel discussion on how Restorative Justice is helping to transform and heal communities. Rooted in an indigenous practice, Restorative Justice (RJ) aims to proactively address conflict and build community simultaneously. Through the use of “in-circle”, participants (made up of community members, the perpetrator, and victim) are able to discuss the harm that has taken place and decide how to best resolve this harm. As panelists discussed, this practice is successfully being used in schools and juvenile justices systems as an alternative to suspensions and incarceration.

What struck me as most profound about Restorative Justice is that first, perpetrators must be willing to accept responsibility for the harm committed and second, victims get the opportunity to resolve unanswered questions. By allowing both parties to lend their voices and perspectives, a deeper human bond is formed and relationships are transformed. And as this takes place, other members of the community are helping to support the process by providing insights that the victim and perpetrators might not otherwise be able to hear and receive. Here’s an example: Two students are in a conflict with each other, their peers note it and call for a circle. The circle could include the students in conflict, the parents of the students in conflict, peer support for each of the students in conflict. As the harms are being named and discussed, parents can offer support to each other and problem solve together, while the students are given space to be heard and recognize the fuller ramifications of their actions on the community as a whole. The students are provided an opportunity to take responsibility for their actions in a way that does not create further harm, i.e. suspension, missed education, etc.

With such meaningful outcomes, Restorative Justice is a dynamic practice to bring into community work and allows communities to not only address but heal from the trauma associated with issues of race, justice, and equality.

Here’s the panel description, including a list of speakers:

“Restorative Justice: A healing alternative for systems, schools and communities.” Panelists Alicia Virani, equal justice fellow and restorative justice specialist with The California Conference for Equality and Justice; Denise Curtis, program manager for restorative community conferencing for Community Works West; and Edgar Dormitorio, assistant dean of students at UC Irvine will discuss the implementation of restorative justice practices and principles in secondary schools, the community and as an alternative to the juvenile justice system

Build your community of care – apply for Healing for Social Change by 2/22/13

“Too often self-care in our organizational cultures gets translated to our individual responsibility to leave work early, go home- alone- and go take a bath, go to the gym, eat some food and go to sleep. So we do all of that ‘self-care’ to return to organizational cultures where we reproduce the systems we are trying to break; where we are continually reminded of our own trauma or exposed and absorb secondary PTSD, and where we then feel guilty or punished for leaving work early the night before to take a bubble bath.

Self-care, as it is framed now, leaves us in danger of being isolated in our struggle and our healing. Isolation of yet another person, another injustice, is a notch in the belt of Oppression. A liberatory care practice is one in which we move beyond self-care into caring for each other.”

Yashna Maya Padamsee from “Communities of Care, Organizations for Liberation”

LDIR’s new workshop series, Healing for Social Change, is as much about building networks of support as much as it is about strengthening our critiques and practices around wellness. Apply by February 22, 2013 to join us for this unique opportunity. We’re looking forward to partnering with you to grow communities of care.

1/26/13 Come to a LDIR workshop at UC Irvine!

Asian Pacific American Awareness Conference

On Saturday, January 26, LDIR will be presenting an interactive workshop, “Activist Essentials: Becoming a Proactive Ally” at 11am and 2pm as part of the annual Asian Pacific Awareness Conference at UC Irvine.

It costs only $5 to register for the conference, so sign up and join us for some short, but sweet awareness and skills building.

Here’s the full workshop description:

Activist Essentials: Becoming a Proactive Ally

What does it take to be a truly collaborative leader? Whether or not we’re aware of it, we often come to collaboration and movement building with our own biases, stereotypes, and oppressive ways of thinking. This interactive workshop challenges participants to locate themselves and interrupt the urge to be passive about privilege and oppression, so that we can begin to figure out how to actively and meaningfully organize in solidarity with one another.

LDIR to hold 2011 Alumni Retreat on April 8-10!

LDIR is thrilled to offer an Alumni Retreat on April 8-10, 2011 in Santa Barbara, CA!

The LDIR Alumni Retreat is a space for LDIR program graduates to rejuvenate and energize ourselves, and offers opportunities to reengage with the program in a deeper way and connect our work with broader social justice issues. Dialogue spaces, training opportunities, stretching on the beach, hiking and massage services will be available.

You’re Invited – For the Love of Justice 2011

For the Love of Justice is the Leadership Development in Interethnic Relations (LDIR) program’s annual event for our alumni and broader community. Every year, we dedicate this night to celebrating the many ways that love is expressed in our communities and our ongoing commitment to social justice. We hope you’ll join us.

For the Love of Justice 2011 will take place on Saturday, February 12 from 6:30-9:30 pm at Watts Labor Community Action Committee, Phoenix Hall, 10950 South Central Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90059 (View on Google Maps)

Gender Justice LA’s Open House Event – Sunday 12/19 7pm-9pm

The LDIR team recommends you check out Gender Justice LA‘s Open House Event this Sunday, December 19, 2010 from 7-9 pm!

Gender Justice LA (GJLA) is a 10-yr. old grass-roots advocacy group committed to serving the greater Los Angeles transgender community. The group works toward increasing the transgender community’s visibility and acceptance as well as creating an empowering environment in which transgender individuals and their allies can gain resources, opportunities and support.

Click here to view the full-size flyer.

2010 Facing Race Conference Takes Anti-Racism Dialogue and Strategizing Head-On

By Thandisizwe Chimurenga, independent journalist

Facing Race 2010ColorLines Magazine and its publisher, the Oakland, CA-based racial justice think tank known as the Applied Research Center, welcomed about 800 people to Chicago at the end of September 2010 for their biennial conference, “Facing Race.”

This year’s gathering, entitled “Define Justice, Make Change,” provided participants with information, resources and practical ways to both influence and create policy that serves those most vulnerable to injustice: people of color, youth, women, the differently abled, LGBTQ folks, and all those “others” of us.
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US Social Forum: Another World is Necessary


LDIR alumni, current and former LDIR staff, Ezak Perez, Sam Sunshine, Shoshana Vogel and Dipti Baranwal traveled to Detroit, Michigan for the 2010 United States Social Forum (USSF) on June 22-26. Overall, the USSF provided an opportunity to connect the movement-building work that LDIR is doing in Los Angeles to the broader movements across the US and internationally. Some highlights include:

The 95th birthday celebration of radical Detroit activist and organizer Grace Lee Boggs;

The press conference for Michigan Roundtable’s Truth Commission, funded by the Kellogg foundation; and

The People’s Movement Assembly on Health, Healing Justice and Liberation, and the National People’s Movement Assembly Charter.
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For the Love of Justice

LDIR alumni and friends at the inaugural For the Love of Justice event

The LDIR program held its inaugural For the Love of Justice event on February 14th, 2010 at CARECEN. LDIR’s work – to break the isolation that is shared amongst people in the struggle for social justice – was the foundation for bringing people together on February 14th. Our hope was to reclaim Valentine’s Day as a justice-loving day, one that included all forms of loving expression – a day that was not bound by gender-conforming heterosexism and consumerism, but instead, a day that celebrated the complex identities and expression of us all. The event brought together LDIR alumni, their friends, loved ones and supporters, to celebrate Lunar New Year, and recognize LDIR’s 19 years of community building work in Los Angeles.
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