We just returned from a week in sunny Oakland, CA giving a sneak preview to an enthusiastic audience of advocates and practicioners at the National Association for Community and Restorative Justice. Julie also co-led a panel discussion about the challenges and joys of documenting restorative justice.
We met all kinds of passionate and interesting people who want to end violence and mass incarceration in their communities: social workers, teachers, school administrators, prison officials, judges and the formerly incarcerated. In one extraordinary lunch conversation, a woman told Genny that participating in a victim-offender dialogue gave her a reason to keep living. "Most [prisoners] on the inside don't know there's any hope or forgiveness out there for us. They never let us be accountable. Our purpose was to rot in that cell." It was just one of many conversations we had that left a strong impression on us that CIRCLE UP could serve a larger purpose in getting dialogues started about the role of forgiveness and accountability in healing from the trauma of violence.
We came home from the NACRJ with a renewed sense of purpose and that extra push needed to finish the film and get it out the door for film festivals and community screenings. Check back for updates on our journey!