At CCR we are having the hard conversations. Last Friday neighborhood association leaders; staff members from Journey House, KC Crime Commission, MARC Mid America Head Start, and Park University; mediators and a KCPD Sergeant spent seven hours together. Drawing from the STAR program at Eastern Mennonite University, CCR’s first ‘Building Trauma Awareness and Resilience’ workshop was intense, fulfilling and energizing. Discussions about dignity, cycles of violence and the relationship between truth, justice, mercy and peace were especially poignant because of ongoing violent events in our country. At CCR difficult conversation is encouraged. In a diverse society, conflict is inevitable, violence is not. Watch for the next trauma workshop and plan to join the conversation!
12 Aug 2015 Leave a comment
July and August, 2015 brought 60 Safety Officers, Supervisors and On-Site Police Officers from the Kansas City, Missouri School District to the Center for Conflict Resolution (CCR) for Conflict Skills and Restorative Justice training. The four trainings, each lasting two days, is funded by the district and has redefined the word ‘lively’. Gregory Winship, Brian Goines and myself shared the facilitation and covered topics such as the ‘School to Prison Pipeline’, trauma awareness and resilience, the ‘Protective Use of Force’ (Marshall Rosenberg), observation versus judgment and active listening.
Each group of 15-20 officers had it’s own personality but most if not all of the participants gained a different perspective of conflict and their role in helping to solve it. The picture above shows a group of officers in the midst of an activity called ‘Human Sculpture’. They worked together to depict a punitive discipline model then a restorative or inclusive model and presented their two sculptures to class.
One of the most popular elements of the training was the conflict style profile that each officer completed at the beginning of the first day. One participant, who scored very high as a directive person, came back the second day and reported that he had a conversation with his wife about his style. He said to her, “I’m ‘directing’ at work but not at home…right?” Her reply, “Oh no, you are totally ‘directing’ at home too”.
The best part of the trainings for me has been the privilege of listening in on the discussions about the work the officers do and hearing the care, compassion and energy they have for children and youth.
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22 Apr 2015 Leave a comment
Restorative Justice: Conflict Resolution and Peace Building for the Greater Kansas City Area was the title of the one-day conference on March 26, 2015. The conference was sponsored by the Center for Conflict Resolution, Avila University Center for Global Studies and Social Justice, Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet and the Missouri Bar Association.
More than 120 people attended the event that welcomed Dr. Mark Umbreit, Professor and founding Director of the Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Umbreit is an internationally recognized practitioner and scholar with more than 40 years of experience as a mediator, peacemaker, trainer, teacher and researcher. He is the author of nine books and more than 200 other publications in the field of restorative justice (RJ), mediation, spirituality, forgiveness and peacemaking.
Following Dr. Umbreit’s presentation, panel members Debbie Bayless, Kathleen Bird, John Hamilton and myself spoke briefly, and then answered questions about existing programs in four areas; Neighborhood Accountability Boards, RJ in the Court System, Community Policing and RJ in schools. The afternoon brought break-out sessions in those four areas followed by the whole group coming back together to share insights and next steps. Joanne Katz, a Criminal Justice Professor at Western Missouri State University, expertly facilitated the question and answer time and the final discussion, asking the question “Where do we go from here?” Some participants were new to the concepts of RJ, others have been involved in RJ for years. It was a wonderful opportunity to learn , enhance existing knowledge and network. Welcome to the Peace Party!