Should I try to “Idolize” Restorative Justice?

I am a consumer of information.  I love learning.  I have this appetite for new knowledge.  My passion is in Restorative Justice.  The work of healing, accountability and swimming up stream like a mad salmon in a world that that only wants to flush away offenders. Whew, that analogy might be a little strong.  Oh, heck I haven’t blogging in awhile, I’m not gonna edit out that  little bit of free flow.

The point of the blog.  How many of you know what American Idol is?

http://realitytvmagazine.sheknows.com/2011/02/06/american-idol-10th-anniversary-compilation-album-due-out-next-month/

The television series has become a household name.  Idol uses TV engagement, by having you text in your vote, which now also appears on Facebook.

 
What I learned new today . . . using the concept of online engagement to further a nonprofit cause.  A museum in Brooklyn, (story here) engaged people with an online art vote.   A future exhibit will feature some of the voting outcomes.  Sounded like a great idea.  My frame of reference is usually, ok, always Restorative Justice.
 
I started to think how I could engage people.  Flash pictures and have them “vote” what they thought was happening.  We could see how many people interpreted the picture as a teen mugging granny or how many saw an off-duty cub scout helping the nice lady across the street.  That might not work.
 
I am looking for “pre-engagement” before people want or need restorative justice.  I need to get people interested in supporting the cause and concept of Restorative Justice.  For several reasons.
 
The most urgent and almost selfish or superficial, is needing donation dollars.  I am a proud person.  I went on welfare when I unexpectedly became pregnant in college.  My moral compass, my internal “that’s not right” led me to volunteer at the local domestic abuse shelter to pay it back.  I have been paying in back ever since actually.    I got off of welfare as soon as I could.  I work hard to help others, so hard sometimes it is at the expense of me having hobbies or a social life.  I have a hard time seeing SCVRJP as a “Charity”.  We are, we can’t do it on volunteer hours alone.  This means I am forced to figure out engaging others.
 
The second aspect of pre-engagement is to promote a change in the way we see crime.  This is a much broader approach.  Not a small task.  I feel non-profits are here to support a community need, answer that need and take steps to work itself out of existence!  Wouldn’t it be great if we didn’t need domestic violence shelters because there was no domestic violence.
 
What if our first response to was to see crime as a mistake.  Now I’m not talking the kidnap and torture of children here, that is obviously very sick stuff.  Although “technically” you can’t argue that is also a mistake.  I’m talking about the majority of issues, mostly smaller stuff.
 
We help each other when we make mistakes.  Someone spills or drops something and we help, even if the store lost a few jars of jelly in the process.  We ask “are you okay?”.
 
What about conflict in schools?  Can we see that as an invitation to offer further support rather than promote discipine that creates further isolation?
 
 With restorative justice the transformation comes in the dialogue.  The social and emotional aspects of crime, when deeply and completely discussed, leave victims, offenders and community members changed.  Can I “idolize” restorative justice and really have it work?
 
Well at least you are reading, so I know you are engaged!