"Restorative Strategies is a balancing act"
I had the opportunity to travel to Dubuque, IA and talk to a group called Inclusive Dubuque about Restorative Justice. I was invited by my mentor Sharon Covey, CEO of the Dubuque YMCA to come and share this work with stakeholders from across their city agencies what is possible. As I was preparing for this meeting, I decided to bring a game called the egg game that I use as an ice breaker for my circle trainings. This game has been such a blessing because of what I feel it symbolizes. Here you are in a circle with a group of people and you are given the task of keeping a rock fasioned in the shape of an egg from falling. On the service it is a fun game of skill, team building and balancing. But it symbolizes so much more. Sharing this work of restorative practices has been a balancing act as I travel all over the country. The problems are so great and many people feel they do not have the solution to the myriad of problems they face. We as a society think that dealing with our problems ultimately must answer this question--How do we deal with those who are not like us? How do we become more inclusive as a society? How do we reconcile those who have committed offenses and restore them once they have paid their debt to society? How do make sure there is a space for victims to have a voice and recapture their power again? How do we have a real conversation about race, poverty, and peaceful response to our youth? For a brief moment, those participating in this game saw themselves as part of the solution. They worked together with people that they had not worked with and found themselves realizing that we have more inside us than we thought we had to accomplish the task. I am committed to helping groups all over the USA and internationally realize that their power as a community comes from how we treat each other as we build community. There is no silver bullet. We can not get around the fact that we need each other to solve these problems that we face in our communities. There is nothing more power than a community that makes up its mind to work together on behalf of our children. That is my commitment and I hope it is yours too.