Our hope is to bring together a group of young, New York City residents who are excited to center the presence, participation, and leadership of youth within Restorative Justice through a year-long program focusing on the intersection of grassroots community building and advocacy.
The interplay between restorative justice advocacy and implementation in schools continues to shift. Schools are spending more energy navigating the changing COVID protocols and the immediate, often pressing, needs of students, parents, and educators which has made the day-to-day practice of restorative justice harder to implement. Even with a new administration in City Hall, there hasn’t been much change in the aspects of the city budget that impact the criminalization of youth in schools.
What I saw and experienced during my upbringing instilled a lot of fear in my bones that I carried around with me into adulthood. When I encountered Restorative Justice, I was just scratching the surface of my personal healing journey. Sharing the restorative practices I learned was like a balm to my soul.
I’m out here trying to change the world, and watching my family disintegrate right in front of me. Maybe if I hadn’t spent so much time on Zoom, maybe if I spent more time visiting his room…. No one can save you but yourself, and when you live in a world without hope, it’s not crazy to lean into a life of coping. We cope with the pain, mask it or numb it, pretend it’s not there, forget with intention–because we’ve forgotten how to heal.