Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Community at Work

A couple of weeks ago women in North Point Douglas organized a healing ceremony at the bus shelter where, in the last seven months, two people have been shot. According to news reports and interviews, the ceremony was an initiative of the community to acknowledge and begin to move beyond the trauma experienced as a result of these two incidents.

To many, this action in the community may have seemed small and relatively insignificant. As a supporter and promoter of the principles of restorative justice, however, I see this as a positive step for community well-being.

The discussions and musings in the field of restorative justice are almost always connected in some way to relationships – between the victim and the offender, the offender and the community, or the victim and the community. Underlying all these discussions about interaction, impact and relationships must be the understanding that each of the players have their own work to do – separate from the others. For this community at this moment, it included a ceremony - a symbolic gesture with powerful implications.

Restorative Justice is not only concerned with the intersection of individuals or groups in relationships. It is also interested in, and needs to continue to find meaningful ways to promote the personal work necessary to realize just and restorative actions in relationships.


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