An update from the 2nd National Conference on Restorative Justice.

A very blustery day here in San Antonio Texas.  I made a new friend before I left the hotel this morning.  We started chatting over coffee and visited all the way to the session.  I should have asked her for ‘blogging’ permissions.

There are almost 300 people here.  I’ve connected with some old friends and created new ones.  Honestly, the best part has been the relationships in between.  One brave person shared with me her interest in Restorative Justice grew from having one child murder the other.  I had to keep my tears on the inside.

I met a wonderful author, Joan Cheever.  She has written a book on the ‘Class of ’72’.  The death penalty was abolished, deemed unconstitutional and nearly 300 death row inmates, were released back to the community.  Joan dedicated her life to tracking down this group.  I’ve only gotten 6 pages in and I am enjoying the book.  Not only was I able to hear Joan speak, I sat next to her at lunch and I enjoyed getting to know her a person.  We shared the common bond of being a working mom and balancing the needs of children.

I have always respected the work of Janine Geske, Marquette Law School, Restorative Justice Initiative.  We got to chat and have our evening meal together.  We exchanged our Circle stories and a few laughs on the different types of situations we have found ourselves in.  She was part of a ‘grinding’ Circle, and I’m not talking about Coffee Beans!  Teen dancing styles and how that impacts parents, youth, school. 

The evening brought the opportunity to review the newest product of Janine’s work, the Healing Circle DVD. The DVD brings you face to face wtih victims of sexual abuse by clergy and others directly involved.  In true ‘Geske’ fashion, Janine is honored to be part of the process.  It was a full-circle experience, two years ago at this conference she shared some reflections on these Circles. 

I would recommend this video for any group ready to discuss the support of victims, relative to sexual abuse or clergy misconduct.  As the video was intended, it shows the stories, and they are related ‘heart’ felt, and you hear them as such.  Although the Circle itself is not shown in detail, you certainly gather the power and sharing that was revealed.  This depth of topic should not be taken lightly, the video is a tool and the person using it should have some training in Circles and Restorative Justice to faciliate a meaningful discussion.

After watching the video, I was stirred, and began to think about experiences and evaluation of my moral, ethical and religious views regarding previous assumptions and newly presented angles.

I’m exhausted, it’s been a long day.  And I just wanted to give you a piece of being here.  Not everyone can attend a national conference, so I wanted to bring a part of it to anyone who reads the blog.

Peace – Kris