These last two weeks have been more or less the same as the past. Last week there was no circle, but research was still done on restorative justice and peacemaking circles. There was an article on posted on the Seattle Times online publishing about a judge who had, instead of sentencing a juvenile to prison for murdering another adolescent, he sentenced him to peacemaking circles. While the progress was slow at first, three years after his original crime, a robbery of a deli market, the juvenile was a new person and had been able to face his own problems and grow from it. That is one thing that I love the most about peacemaking circles and what they stand for. They change people positively. I have seen with clients of WCCC that, though I have only been going to circle for a little over a month and a half now, they have changed from the person they originally were. A lot of them when they started were not very nice to others, did not want to be there and thus sugar coated everything to get out of it. Now, when there is circle, all of them are so friendly with the other people there, they are willing to update on their life and on their case with the courts. It is amazing hearing about how the clients were when they started and seeing how they are now and how much of a difference there is. I truly believe that peacemaking circles and restorative justice work and change people in a positive way.
Another event that occurred within the last two weeks was an event that myself and Miranda, another intern with WCCC, put together in our school’s Center for Justice and Law. We wanted to introduce restorative justice to those who may have not known what it was and to show how it can be used as an alternative to incarceration. We had Lynn Schurrer, a member of the Board of Directors, come and speak about WCCC and everyone who came to the event. It was about 15 people, were very receptive to the idea and had quite a few questions about both the organization and restorative justice in general.
At circle this week we spoke on the value of spirituality. While I did not know what to say myself, everyone else there spoke about being connected to one another, feeling a sense of humanity in yourself when faced with adversity, and even about our beliefs in a higher being. It was wonderful hearing what other people had to say about spirituality and how they viewed it because I pretty much had no idea what to say. During the actual circle we spoke about needing a support system in place for ourselves when we enter into that frame of mind of not knowing what to do next. Having someone there to support you when you are down or to pick you up when you have fallen is extremely important and is rather rare in our current world. A lot of people say that they are independent and do not need anyone else, when in reality they do. Everyone needs someone sometimes and that is okay. Having a support system is not a sign of weakness, instead it is a sign of strength because you recognize that sometimes you can’t do it all on your own and that you may need someone else there to help you. Those are my thoughts from the last two weeks, I hope you learned a thing or two and I will see you all next week! ~Kasi