This Restorative Justice Life

72. Consent & Collective Liberation w/ Stas Schmiedt and Lea Roth

March 24, 2022 David Ryan Castro-Harris Season 2 Episode 16
This Restorative Justice Life
72. Consent & Collective Liberation w/ Stas Schmiedt and Lea Roth
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

“Stas” Schmiedt (they/them) and Lea Roth founded Spring Up in 2013. Spring Up works to cultivate a culture of consent and liberty for all through storytelling and popular education.

You will meet Stas and Lea (0:55), hear about their introductions to restorative vs. transformative justice (7:57).  They have a conversation about sexual assault (21:02) and the shortcomings of school accountability. Finally, they discuss what harm and healing mean (36:00), the implications of racism and collective liberation (1:00:00) and answer the closing questions (1:25:04).

Make sure to subscribe, rate, review, and share!

Contact, Learn More, Support!
Website:  https://www.timetospringup.org/ 

Social:
https://facebook.com/timetospringup
https://instagram.com/timetospringup
https://twitter.com/timetospringup
Support: https://patreon.com/cultivateconsent
Projects: https://bluelight.academy/

Transforming Harm: Experiments in Accountability:: https://bcrw.barnard.edu/event/transforming-harm-experiments-in-accountability/ 

Watch clips of the podcast: http://youtube.com/c/amplifyrj
Follow us on TikTok: https://vm.tiktok.com/ZMRAQd2VM/

See all our workshops and courses at http://amplifyrj.com/learn

Smells Like Humans
Like spending time with funny friends talking about curious human behavior.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Chalk and Ink: The Podcast for Teachers Who Write and Writers Who Teach
Chalk and Ink is a biweekly podcast that interviews teachers who write and writers who...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Transformational Trauma and Healing
Trauma is a catalyst. It provokes significant change in the lives of survivors, as well...

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Garden Basics with Farmer Fred
The healthiest food you can eat is the food you grow yourself. We tell you how.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Sum It Up With The Sumners
KaToya and Damon encourage married millennials to enjoy marriage, one convo at a time.

Listen on: Apple Podcasts   Spotify

Support the show

David (he/him)  
Exciting times on this restorative justice life because we have two guests for the first time Stas and Lee, welcome to this restorative justice life. Who are you?

Stas  
Oh, I knew it was coming. But it's always a bit of a challenge to think of what the first answer will be. But first thing to you so much for having us on the podcast, we're really excited to be here with you. And we're grateful that you may be accepted for there to be two of us, we really move in the world together. And so we're happy to be able to explore these questions and conversations together.

Stas  
Um, I'll start. So this is Stas. I am someone who loves to imagine, I'm someone who fundamentally believes that the way that the world is, was imagined by many people, and created by many choices. And that means that we have the power to create the world just as much as anyone else has ever had. And I love to embrace that in my creative practice. I'm a storyteller. I used to say that I was a writer, but I'm really trying to move away from this, you know, obsession with the written word, and consistently asking myself what it means for me to be a storyteller, because I actually do feel much more comfortable speaking through stories or creating things I love to make collages. And so I think that the crux of who I am kind of the core of who I am, outside of my identities, my work, the journey that I've been on to get to this moment, at my core, who I believe I am, as a creator, I fundamentally believe in my ability to be someone who shapes reality. And I take that responsibility very seriously. I find it to be something that I must have a level of commitment and devotion to I've been shifting my language since being involved with southerners on new ground to shift from discipline to devotion. And I think I'm very devoted to the potential of liberation for all of us. And I think that that's not something that's out in the future, some abstract ideal that we work towards just for future generations. But a question of how we get to live in the world today, right now, tonight, tomorrow, I don't really believe in linear time. And so I think that the more we choose to practice freedom today, the more we unlock pockets of freedom for those who came before us, as well as those who come afterwards. And so I would say that at my core, I'm a creator.

Lea  
So this is Lea, I will say, I am a community educator, I think that that's been more and more important to me lately, since we started our academy blue light Academy last year to sort of popularize some of these skills and move away from having to have a lot of this like, knowledge, inaccessible, within, you know, kind of higher education. I think we've said recently that we hope that people can do this work without having to be professors or having to like, do it in the academy. So being a community educator, 

David (he/him)  
who are you?

Stas  
So I would say that then, for me comes some of the identity factors that really shaped how I show up in the world. I am a black, Italian, queer, non binary, trans disabled femme. And it's always unhelpful, but I think that all of those are very important. I was born in Italy, and I'm able to trace my lineage there back to the 12th century. And so I think that's something that's really grounding as an African American, who doesn't have as much access to kind of the lineage of people who came here to this land. And being non binary is not only my gender identity, but how I am the world. And so I think that's, that's not only as a mixed person, as someone who likes to always think about both and in the multiple layers of something, I think that all of those identities really shaped how I am in the world.

Lea  
I am a European American, or white bodied, non binary, trans person.

Stas  
I would also say that I'm a partner and a parent, and a care provider. So Leah and I just celebrated our 10 year anniversary of being together we met when I was 19 years old, in college. And while I don't have human children, I have five, you know, incredible for babies that I am obsessed with and that I orient my life around, I think, especially during COVID, it's been really interesting to understand the depths of relationship that you can hold with animals and see their relationships with each other, grow and flourish. The way that they navigate consent, conflict, boundaries care with each other is something that's really encouraging to me. And I've always kind of held a care provider role within within networks. And so that's something that I that I think about a lot is what's the role of care providers? What's the role of partners what's what's the role of having inter dependent relationships within our lives, and I think I'm someone who very deeply practices interdependence.

Lea  
I am a mathematician, that's sort of my my role within our collective springing up as well as co founder with us and I believe that we sort of, as Stas was alluding to earlier, we have the realities that we will into being. And so really thinking both about how we interpret the past, and how we speculate about and cocreate the future as a form of like myth weaving. And so being a not a mathematician, but a mathematician is a important identity for me.

Stas  
I think the last thing I'll say on this is that I'm an energy worker, both of my grandmother's were energy workers, people who connect with spirit, people who connect with the energy of land, particularly you'll notice a lot of our branding is around mushrooms, we are obsessed with mushrooms of mycelium and biomimicry, and thinking about the soma, groups of people have communities of the land. And I think really breaking down that binary between, you know, humans and other sentient beings, even even the framework of sentient beings being distinct from, you know, trees and, and other types of plant life. I think that for me, being able to be attuned to the energy of a space, not only of the people there but of the other beings and energies that are present is a really big part of who I am in the world and how I show up.

Lea  
And I am a transformative justice practitioner. I believe in noticing the patterns of violence around us listening to the stories that people tell about the harm that they've experienced, and supporting people as individuals. But also, I think that that when you hear enough stories like that, I think it carries a responsibility to think preventatively to think about shifting patterns, and to leverage the access and power that you will to make those shifts so that hopefully, people don't have to keep experiencing the same harms over and over again. That's important to me.

David (he/him)  
Well, thank you all so much, we're gonna get into the intersections and all the layers of the things that you shared in just a moment.

David (he/him)  
Well, thank you again, so much, Stas and Lee, for being with us here on this restorative justice life, it's always good to check in so to the fullest extent that you want to answer the question in this moment, how are you?

Lea  
I think this spring can be such a amazing time for us. And then also such a difficult time for us, because it's often the time of the year when we're doing the most with all the challenging and good things that come with that. And so I think that I don't want to be too negative. But I would say we're we're a bit burnt out, honestly.

Stas  
Yeah, I think that we're at the at the moment when rest and restoration is calling to us, I would say. And I think that that's just a good thing to notice and be aware of. I think that being someone who deals with chronic pain and PTSD, sometimes I can move past my edge, there's a piece by me and Lea around around edges that I've been reading a lot recently and thinking about what does it mean to take the work that you do seriously. But also to think very seriously about sustainability and what it means to do this in an ongoing way. And so I think that this has been a long week for us, your your meeting is a pretty, you know, intense time, there's been a lot moving. But I also am really deeply grateful for the spaces we've been able to hold recently. I think that it's a true honor to be facilitating the amount that we have recently. And I'm looking forward to our upcoming spring break and some some rest and play that we're going to engage in

Lea  
this weekend. Yeah, we have two weeks off on the calendar in one month. So we're just counting down coming down to that.

David (he/him)  
Beautiful, you know, this is such a common theme that comes up and every time that people respond to this kind of way, it's like convicting for me to be like bruh, get on it, like, get on your rest, like be really disciplined in hold your boundaries on those things. Because I often cross those as well. And it's in it's a constant, it's a constant struggle to be able to do that. Thank you all for sharing again, like I've been so excited to have this conversation because we met three years ago at the NACRJ conference in Denver. And it was funny, I attended your session breakout session was the first that I attended. And then we subsequently went to every single breakout session together like without coordinating, I think until like the very last one just like people who are like Similarly, similarly interested, politically minded, like, there's so much synchronicity here, and I can't believe it's taken us this long to have this conversation on these airwaves. But one of the things that I was struck by with y'all is that restorative justice, transformative justice, healing, this creativity, in your work with spring up has been your first and only like professional roles in the world. And often when I have people come on this podcast, the question is, you know, you've been doing restorative justice work for a while now, probably before you even knew the words how did this get started for you? But that question exists, but oftentimes people are, you know, farther along in their professions when they get introduced, but this has been what y'all have done, dedicated your life to for your full adult lives. So I'm really Be curious about how this journey got started for you all collectively and individually.

Lea  
Well, next year it will be 10 years. So we're really thinking about once we found it spring up. Yeah, exactly. We're thinking about what that means for us, as an organization been talking about that a lot with each other and with other members of our collective.

Stas  
I think that one thing that I'll something interesting to know about me that I'll correct is that restorative justice was not my first career, because I actually started working as an infant, because my mom was a model and actor. And so she started bringing me on set before I could speak. And that became a really, really big part of my life, as a very young person actually ended up joining the Screen Actors Guild when I was three years old, because of the first film that I was in. And I had a 13 year career as a model and actor, because when I got to high school, I wanted to focus on my studies. But before then, I was in a very, very intense career where I was only in school about two or three days out of the week, because the rest of the time I was a full time professional, who was represented in different cities around the around the world, which is a complicated thing to talk about, because it can be kind of glamorized this idea of like, child modeling, acting, where you think about like, what the, like, just different famous people, 

Stas  
I think that it's a, it's something that really shapes the way that I am in the world, though, because you learn a lot about how to recognize cues when you're a child and an adult industry. And I think being the only child in the room a lot perceiving the nature of what it meant for me to put on a show to be hired. And to be a contractor to navigate taxes and to navigate finances. And everything already, as a young person, I think really impacted my approach to being an adult worker, because it wasn't this kind of glorified idea of what adults did. But it was something that I had already experienced very extensively as a young person, and kind of knew that a nine to five job was not something that was going to align for me, because I had been working for quite a while beforehand. And so I think it's interesting because I really do feel like I've had kind of three lives leading into this because I had my childhood as a as a worker. And then I had really my education, I've only focused full time on my education from high school through college. And then we started our organization when I got pushed out of school, and have been doing this work for the last 10 years. 

Stas  
So I think that's just something to clarify, that is something that people don't always know about me, but has a really big impact on how I show up, show up in the world. And I do think that at the same time, I've I it's really hard for me to imagine my life before restorative and transformative justice, I may not have called it that. But even as a child, I was always in kind of a mediator role always showing up, I sometimes wonder if that's being a single, an only child and a mixed family and just the nature of being a bridge person always intervening always being between different perspectives. And particularly, I went to a Catholic school for most of my life, which was a complicated experience. But it involved being a retreat leader, and in that environment with other children. I wasn't Catholic at the time, so I wasn't able to lead sessions. But because of my my role in that I ended up being the person who held conflict for my peers, starting in fourth grade it as a formal role that my peers perceived me. And so I think that, for me, restorative and transformative justice is really just a way to put a label on the way that I show up in the world as someone who navigates difference, and someone who's very committed to addressing inequitable power dynamics. And that's something that I think, I learned that the courage and the power it took to kind of confront people in a loving and thoughtful and strategic way. I think, as a child in an industry full of adults as often the only child in the room, within within the modeling and acting worlds that was very competitive and very intense, and always feeling a little bit like the odd one out reading a book in the corner and asking people if they had heard of, you know, all sorts of social issues and challenging their perception of what it meant to be speaking to a child in the room.

Lea  
And the only thing I'll add from that is just the we did found this Oregon, start doing this work as spring up in 2013. And since then, you know, we've been the main people who have been involved the whole time, plus our friend, China who has supported us on, you know, creative and graphic design nearly this whole time. And you know, other people have come and gone and I think that that's been good for us as a collective to be a space that people can be in for a few months can be in for a few years. People were hoping that the people who are involved now will decide to be more like long term co partners in this. But I think that we've really been a learning organization and a very youth focused organization. In that this came pretty seamlessly out of our organizing as young people. I think that what we were doing, before we founded, which was co running a LGBTQ peer mentoring program in a very conservative college environment was that was

Stas  
 transformative justice too

Lea  
 and we were working on that, I would say more than we shouldn't been working on things that were outside of our studies, maybe. But I would say we were almost working on that full time when we were in school and then just, you know, pivoted into into doing this,

Stas  
it's interesting because the walls of the collective are so porous, because people can come come in and come out be formally part of the collective or just be learners in our network. And we like to think of people who are in the spring of ecosystem is just a tuned to the, to the spring up frequency, rather than necessarily being formally part of the team or off the team or in the community or out of the community. It's something that's very evolving. And so we call ourselves division keepers, we really ground the community, but we really embrace and love the way that there have been now 1000s of people who have come in and out of our spaces, and learned and grown and taught us

Lea  
as well. And I'll pass it back to you it's like, but just to say one more thing is that we're a circle based organization. And I think that's important, when we're talking about restorative justice, we don't think of being higher in the organization, we think of kind of being deeper in the wormhole closer to the center of the circle, and then that the people around us are in concentric circles. And we do hope that by the end of the year, a few other people will be joining us and the kind of center as cold member owners as we are. And then we have, you know, circles of people who are on our team. And then we definitely see our alumni and the community that supports us as also being in that circle. And it's represented on our org chart.

David (he/him)  
For sure, that's something that I really want to dive into in a moment. But I want to take it back to the origins of of this work. You know, we on this podcast, it's called this restorative justice life. And, you know, we've talked about, in some ways, the differences between a restorative and a transformative justice approach. How is that conceptualized for y'all?

Lea  
Well, we have this little chart that we often show when we're doing trainings, and that comes up. I think that, you know, they're not distinct, but I think that they do really come from different lineages. And that's where we start from is just what are the roots that you as a practitioner draw in, in your practice? And where do those roots come from? And we really see restorative justice practice as being inextricable from its, you know, indigenous philosophies and indigenous roots and the practices of the Lakota that didn't a you know, Plains Indians, marry people in the Yukon. And I think that that is often an important conversation in restorative justice spaces is just how are you in right relationship with with indigenous people? And if you're a settler, how do you reckon with that in your restorative justice practice, whereas I think transformative justice practices we see as you know, Dr. And many, many routes of peacebuilding of shifting conflict norms, but specifically coming from organizing of, you know, black friends of queer and trans people of disabled people, people impacted by sexual violence, working to shift, you know, the conditions that enable that harm.

Stas  
But also say, you know, I was introduced to transformative justice before I was introduced to restorative justice. Coming from more of an organizing background, I was still remember. So clearly in college, the first time that I read in sight color of violence, and was just floored by this framework, led by women and trans people of color. And my experience of restorative justice was really being taught circle, keeping very specific tools that I could use. And then being a facilitator for restorative justice, you know, state adjacent programs, whether that was partnerships with the state attorney's office to do diversion cases with youth in Miami Dade County, or restorative justice programming in prisons and jails, just being more of a formal structure that I was introduced to with a very clear toolkit with transformative justice, feeling more like a philosophy of practice coming out of organizing communities. And I think that as I've gotten deeper and deeper in those communities, those lines really start to overlap and blur so much more. Because there's no way that restorative justice is not a life philosophy. And there's no way that transformative justice is not a toolkit of practices and framework. So I'm obsessed with the creative interventions toolkit and we can, and just the tools that have come out of both of those lineages have been really, really impactful for us. So I don't think that they're as distinct as people sometimes make them out to be.

Lea  
Yeah, but I do want to note that also that we went to restorative justice trainings, and we're supported in that through our membership in, you know, mostly black abolitionist organizing in Florida and in the south. And I think that Both are kind of the first circle keepers that we, you know, we're trained by and we're in space with. And that sort of led us to being connected with impact justice. But just Yeah, I think that there's not such a firm line between RJ and TJ, when you're doing work in community as abolitionists?

David (he/him)  
Yeah. And I wasn't asking to like, make like hard distinctions. It was more long, like, where are people coming from when we use these words? And I think you've shared those things beautifully. For me, right? relationship, relationship relationship? And how do we navigate with each other, both with each other human relationships with ourselves, as we just talked about in that space for, for rest. So thank you for that framing. Y'all talked about the organizing that I don't know if we want to name the institution that started when y'all were in college, like I know, that was born out of your lived experiences. How did restorative or transformative justice shaped the way that you responded and organized and moved through all of that? Yeah,

Stas  
I mean, so we can, we can name it, we went to Dartmouth College in New Hampshire, and we were the lead complainants on a federal complaint against the university. So I think that's relatively, you know, public,

Lea  
it was kind of cool. The professor that had been a supporter of us at that time, just came to one of our trainings last week. And so we were able to kind of reconnect. And I think the it was a difficult time, but there are definitely a lot of people there who were trying to move in a different way. And were able to recognize, you know, all the balances of the institution and how those have been just recurring again and again, for decades.

Stas  
And I think it was really a culture of silence. I think it's interesting. Now we work with so many universities, just all around the country. And there is, you know, such a culture of organizing, and many campuses. And there's such a history of youth organizing within universities that I've studied extensively. And I'm really, really inspired by and I think that's what was so interesting about Dartmouth being such a culture of silence such an environment of kind of needing to toe the line needing to align with the bleeding green, which is what everyone would say, being so obsessed with the culture of the school, and at the same time being an extremely rural community. That's very small, very driven by power. And I think that the reality is, you know, just to name it, I was already a survivor of sexual assault when I got to campus. And it was really disorienting to me to realize that by the end of my first year of college, most of the people that I knew had been assaulted. 

Stas  
And I was assaulted the first Monday of classes when I got to campus. And so the prevalence of sexual violence on that campus at that time was just overwhelming. I remember at that time, there was an article that came out that said that Dartmouth was the seventh most dangerous campus in the country. And it was shocking to people it was specifically because of the presence of sexual violence, there was also the reality that, you know, New Hampshire live free or die there was you could have guns on campus because of hunting. And there was just a very, very active presence of harassment, whether that was against queer and trans people, whether that was against black people, whether that was against, you know, Native American students, and I think that, um, you know, I was always someone who spent time with older students. 

Stas  
And I think that what surfaced for me it was just how siloed our communities were because of the structures of how I think largely just a very competitive environment with a lot of identity politics made us all in different spaces, doing kind of private coordination with the administration, that that just kind of had to be redone cyclically over and over again, it would always be new students doing the same things over and over again. And we kind of had this, this moment of saying, Enough is enough, we can't pretend that there's no problems here. There's these articles coming out, there are really, really bad issues on this campus. And we can't have this kind of norm of lying about it and pretending that it's not happening. And so I think that we were, you know, very involved in this movement, that was called Real Talk of darkness that we were two of the founders of that was about kind of raising the alarm and saying like things are not okay here. And particularly during the admitted students weekend, which was there was this tendency for particularly students of color and queer students to kind of lie about how bad things were in order to recruit other students, which is kind of a taboo thing to say, but it's true, we would talk to each other and say, you know, we're so isolated here, we want more people like us to come. And so we're not necessarily going to be honest about how bad it is. Because the more of us are here, the less isolated we'll be. And I remember us having just a very real conversation about how harmful that was and about how not okay, that was and that this was the year that we were going to 2013 that we were going to be honest and say things are not okay here and we would like for you to come help us do this. But you know, we want to be honest about how bad things are. And the school had a very negative reaction to that,

Lea  
 particularly the other students, which was what was so disturbing is that the other students were really unhappy to hear that. And, you know, retaliated a number of ways. And I think that that's, that that shapes how you see how power moves, I think, when it's not that the administration is kind of clapping back at you. But instead, it's your classmates saying, you're making queer people look bad. Yeah, people think that I feel the same as you guys, because I share an identity. And that makes it hard for me to fit in as the only gay person on my sports team, as the only person of color in my Greek house. And I think that was just a really painful, like reality isn't with you know,

Stas  
I think we just felt that, you know, we talk a lot about how justice is about radical truth telling. And I think that there was so much effort towards individual cases of harm, oh, there was this, you know, hate crime that happened, there was this assault that happened, and there were all these kind of private processes to address each of those cases. But it felt that there was very little discussion about the patterns of harm, and about the kind of overall narrative of what was happening outside of any individual case that this was something that people expected to experience either assault or harassment or hazing during their time in the school. And that was just a marker of what it meant to go there. And I think for us, it was kind of pulling it out of we want you to address this individual instance, and be like, we need to address the root causes of the harm that's happening here. And we need to talk openly about how very bad how very bad it is. 

Stas  
And I think that what you know, just to name it, I was a sophomore at the time he was a senior, we were really started stirring up a lot. The school had to cancel classes for a full day to have a conversation we kind of forced them to as the first time since the 80s, that they did that. And it really just increase the stakes of the whole situation. And we were receiving really, really horrible threats every day online from our peers at the school. And so we needed to, you know, screenshot and document those. I was the one collecting all of them. 

Stas  
And I ended up really having a mental break at that time, though, and I ended up being hospitalized for PTSD on campus. During that time, my mom came up to visit into support. And that's when we filed our federal complaint. We both took some time away from school. But because I was a sophomore, I actually ended up being pushed out of out of school at that point, because I had loans. The school refused to release my transcript so that I could transfer to another campus and they refused to let me back on campus until I paid off all of my loans. I was in a program that would fund me through my PhD at that point, which was the Mellon Mays fellowship, I wanted to be a professor my whole life since I was like five years old. And school had really been had been my life, I was studying race and gender and just wanted to apply the principles that I was learning in my own real life. 

Stas  
And so when I realized that the very real consequences of speaking up, it really crushed me because my identity was school. And so when I ended up getting pushed out, and I was never able to return, so I don't actually have an undergraduate degree, which is something that really brought a lot of shame for me as someone who focused on school as my identity. But it's been such an incredible blessing to return to community as the core space of learning, and to realize the ways that being you know, committed and good at school really impacted my understanding of what change looked like of what growth and learning looked like. And now being someone who was pushed out of school, my reorientation became to focus on communities for whom school was not necessarily the safest or most comforting, most supportive, supportive environment working particularly with diversion programs, criminalized youth, people who, you know, maybe weren't as involved in school, or really just taking learning outside of formal academic institutions, whether that's to workplaces or community centers. And really rethinking what what it means to cause change. So I know I'm going on a bit of a tangent here. But I think that that, for me is really what brought me to transformative justice is this idea of really moving outside of institutions questioning the validity of institutions, questioning their intentions, their purpose, because institutions can commit violence just as much as people can. And when you pursue justice, there can often be very real consequences.

David (he/him)  
I'm going to follow that tangent. And ask, you know, when you're asked to come on to campuses now, I don't know the direct requests, but I imagine some of those things like, how can we be? Or how can we be more transformative in the way that we move with our students? Because that's why somebody would bring you into their space. How do you respond to an institution?

Lea  
I think what's interesting is that even now, we mostly get requests from students. You know, we mostly get requests from students who are leaders of formal organizations like as large as you know, student government, or students who run consent programs. And then we also get requests from informal collectives of students to just come help them work on their organizing campaigns. And I think that we have prioritize that at different points. I think we're revisiting now. just kind of like what our relationship with campuses is, we would like to be doing more more institutionalized trainings, I think for, for RAS for, you know, people who that would be like resident advisors or people who are sort of peer leaders, we really believe in working with peer mentorship. I think that that's what we started in. That's how we believe that people learn and support each other. And yeah, we'd like to be working with more, more sexual assault, peer educator programs, mental health, peer support. You know, I think that also programs that people in privileged institutions do in partnership with, with jails and prisons, I think that's a really important site of learning, and where a lot of people who have been in privileged settings come face to face with the violence of incarceration.

Stas  
Yeah, I think that, you know, it brings back to in 2013, when we found that spring up, one and I had been pushed out of school, we were connected with all these student organizers around the country who were in these major battles of their universities, and we just got on the road, we still have the same Prius that we had been 10 years ago. And we just packed up the car and started driving to these schools, not getting paid by institution, but practicing mutual aid, where people would say, yeah, stay on my couch, and all you know, get you lunch with my student, you know, card, and really thinking about how we supported student organizers who were in, you know, some of the most difficult positions going up against what felt like, you know, gulyas in their in their institutions. 

Stas  
And so we spent about three years on and off on the road, working with student organizers around the country, and many of them would include students who are on break, and who had gone through trauma on their campus and trying to figure out, how do I how does the trauma that I experienced mean something? How do I, how do I grow from what I experienced and helping other students to understand what's possible. And I think that it's interesting, because at the time, we were really focused on working with survivors of sexual violence, and survivors of violence in general, whether that was racism, or homophobia, transphobia. And it became very, very clear that working with survivors was in no way not working with people who had committed harm. Because survivors also can commit harm and can be in abusive relationships with each other and can be in, you know, committing committing harm themselves. And so I think that it was when I kind of pivoted to saying, you know, there's actually a really unique joy in working with people who have committed harm, and who know that they've committed harm, and who are ready to face that and to do what they can to shift that. But I realized that there was also a power to working with institutions that have committed harm. 

Stas  
And we work quite a bit with organizations, institutions, that have been called out that have been like, you know, things have gone down, we have problems, and we want to talk about it, we want to work on work on it. And most groups that we work with, kind of come to us saying we know that we've done wrong, and that's kind of the bar that we need to be ready to go through the kind of consultation and work that we do, including with universities. 

Stas  
And I think what I will say is, I have not gone back to Dartmouth since then I think that's aligned for me, is that that's a space that is extremely traumatizing for me. And it's been challenging when we do public education. And there are people who come from Dartmouth and they're struggling, and they want to meet with us, and I just can't do it, I can't do it, because it's a space that just brought me so much pain. And I think that it's been interesting to work with students like Lisa and then also to work with people who have power to make very real policy and institutional changes and just say, like, you know, abolish this institution, or re, you know, do what you can to practice reparations with the resources that you have, by funding, you know, your students by putting your money where your mouth is supporting your local community breaking down those, those boundaries, and even being guest lectures within people's courses, which I think has been when I'm going to tear up now it's been a unique honor to be someone without an undergraduate degree, who's invited to be a speaker at universities and within courses, where I don't think that that's more legitimate than the other teaching that we do. I think that sometimes I'm actually kind of disturbed by how structured and perfectionistic those spaces are, and how difficult to compete to have real conversations. But that it knowing how much school meant to me as a young person, and knowing how much I felt I lost, when I was pushed out, it has meant a lot to me, people who are able to make it in that system invite me in, despite not having the credentials that are usually respected and appreciated by those institutions. And that's been a real joy, to be able to be peers, with professors, and to be able to kind of challenge what many of them needed to learn in order to succeed in those institutions, and to remind them of their humanity and to remind them of the ways that they can take what they've learned and apply it outside of those institutions and not just theorize about these ideas in an abstract sense, but to show up and do the work. In the real world, and and to challenge them to be more than their than their studies, both the students, the administrators, the professors, and to be seen in that, as a curriculum designer, as someone who designs liberatory learning spaces is something that I've been really, really grateful for. Yeah,

David (he/him)  
thank you so much for, for going there and sharing and I think, just want to affirm and re legitimize not that you need it coming from me that like, you know, your the knowledge that you'll have to share is valid without the Academy. And those things are cool, too. Right? Right, it does feel good to have those different, like all these different avenues where you can make change, spread the message. And you know, in some ways validating. I really do love, though, that when you talk about going to these universities, going to institutions, it's in response to people who know that they need the help, right. And so often, it is not the like the people at the very top with the levers of power that are upholding misogynistic, patriarchal, white supremacist systems, it's people who are often most affected by those things, but still acknowledge the harm, the conflict that is happening within those communities. I want to plug a conversation that y'all had with Miriam Kaba almost three years ago. Now, if you go on YouTube, and maybe we'll link it in the show notes, it's called Transforming harm experiments and accountability. One of the things that y'all shared on there is your analysis of harm, conflict, disagreement of use, and you know, since you've named harm so often in just the last few moments, can you give a high level overview of what you mean by people who have caused harm? And some of those other words do you shared? Yeah, well,

Stas  
we, it's interesting to be three years later, because we've got this, uh, this metaphor that I think has really stuck, that we always use in trainings now, that I think really resonates with people. Because often we find that we consider ourselves to be a community that is conflict forward. We believe that conflict can be healing can be generative, and in fact, is necessary in order to have effective strategies where you can be discerning around what you focus on. And in order to, you know, one of the quotes that will often say is that, as people who are seeking collective liberation and justice, we are in conflict with the status quo, we are in conflict with history. And so in order to practice justice, in order to practice equity, we need to embrace conflict, because being conflict, avoidant, being afraid of conflict is something that can contribute to not having the necessary conversations around things around things that are necessary to have an effective strategy. 

Stas  
So I think that because we embrace conflict so much, and are so condemning of harm, it's really important to have strong language and terms around kind of the different components of what we're talking about here. And so the metaphor that we often use, because it's something that many people deal with, is if you are thinking about pizza, so I'll start there. So now we start with the term disagreement. And a disagreement is when people you know, just have different opinions on things, which is normal. We're a very diverse, you know, you know, world. And so it makes a lot of sense for people to like different things. And that may mean that you just like different pizza toppings, right? You know, I like pepperoni with pineapples and olives. Luckily, the two of us love that together. Other people may want like a cauliflower, onion, veggie pizza, which sounds like the worst thing in the world to me. You know, everybody likes, you know, maybe you don't like pizza. I don't know if anyone's a fan of Abbott elementary here. But one of the people on the show does not like pizza, and this kind of lying about liking pizza. It's hilarious. But so it's a common issue that people have different opinions about pizza. And that's fine. You can kind of tease each other and laugh and say, oh, man, that's gross pizza, whatever. And if you're just you know, we're in different cities, right now, we can disagree about pizza. And it's not a big deal. Because we're all you know, living our own lives. Now, when that becomes a conflict is if we need to make a decision together about what pizza we're going to order, right. And so we're no longer just disagreeing about which pizza is best, and what kind of pizza we like, we have to make a decision about how we're going to navigate those differences in our collaboration, and so those stakes can be higher and higher within the conflict. For example, if we're ordering pizza, and you know, we're ordering online, and the place that we're ordering from will stop accepting orders in 10 minutes, that time urgency of needing to make a decision within 10 minutes can kind of increase the stakes of our conflict around pizza.

Lea  
And then resources are one of the biggest things that also up the stakes are a scarcity of perceived scarcity of resources. Because if we only have $10, for lunch, and we have to split something, then we have to find a compromise.

Stas  
We can't all just get a personal pizza all the time, right? So but those conflicts, those are things that are important within our organizations within our relationships to figure out how we navigate difference equitably. And that's why we're so obsessed with the framework of consent because it's not something that only happens, you know, an intimacy, it's a it's a toolkit, it's a framework for navigating difference equitably? And thinking, you know, there's always power dynamics at play in every situation. And so how do we recognize those power dynamics, recognize people's differences, and navigate the conflicts within our decision making in a way that kind of mitigates the power dynamics that are at play. And I think that's, you know, conflict is just a really fascinating topic to explore now, once we're kind of escalating from conflict into harm, is when we can make things that create, you know, unmet needs and obligations. And I think we talk a lot about consequences, right. And I think harm often occurs when people are abusing their power, leveraging their power to, you know, not give other people access to what they need. And when we're thinking about the pizza situation, that may be that, you know, we're all part of a program, and I have the funds of the program, I'm the one who has access to, you know, the resources. And so if I'm like, Well, I have the money. So at the end of the day, I'm going to just order the pizza that I think we should have. And if I know that you have dietary restrictions, and I'm ordering a pizza, you can't eat, I've not committed harm, because I've created an unmet need and obligation, because now you can't eat, right. And so in the way that harm often occurs, the person who's impacted by the harm often holds the consequences of that harm. And so be you know, say I order a pizza that you can't eat, you're then going to hold the consequence of not being able to eat. Now in a restorative and transformative process, the goal is to figure out how to redistribute those consequences in a way that are more thoughtful. So that may be that instead of you not needing to eat, I as the person who committed the harm, I'm the one who ordered the food that you couldn't eat, knowing that you couldn't eat it, I may now need to spend more money to be able to get another pizza for you. Because it's not okay for you not to eat, I'm going to have to hold those consequences of needing to spend more money, or say, I don't have the ability to spend that, then it may be something that us as a community that need to hold, which is listen, it's not actually okay for David not to be able to eat right now. I, you know, ordered food that he wasn't able to eat that's on me, I'm going to acknowledge that to the community, I don't have the ability to pay for him to get more food, can we as a group, kind of figure out how to get David some food that he can eat, whether that's chipping in funds, or, you know, different people bringing different snacks? What does it mean to make it so that the person who was impacted doesn't have to hold those consequences

Lea  
alone. And then another example of community accountability would be the next time our group is ordering pizza, which we apparently do often, we for other people in the group to say, you know, we have to have a vegan one this time, you know, we have to have something that doesn't have porque, you know, we have to have something that's like gluten free. And so it would be the person who has those needs, not needing to always like be hyper vigilant about saying not to make sure that the harm doesn't keep happening. But instead, the other people are able to say, we know that we as a group, need something that's vegan. And so I think that that's a like pretty practical example, that if you're doing logistics for group, which so often happens in organizing is pretty realistic.

Stas  
And then that brings us to abuse, which would be a pattern of ongoing harm. And that may be that I know that you can't eat something and yet, every single time we're ordering food, I'm always getting things that you can't eat, even though you've surfaced it, to me, that's now becoming a pattern of behavior, that is abusive,

Lea  
especially if I see that it makes you sick. I don't care about that. And I make like comments about how you know, that's not like a real condition or that you're being too sensitive.

Stas  
And then finally, the last distinction that we always make is the distinction between hurt and harm. And this is to say that hurt is the activation of a pre existing harm. And that you know, in this, if there's often hurt and harm present, we like to show it like a Venn diagram where there's hurt on one side and harm on the other side, you may have a new harm that you've ever, never experienced before, and there's not a hurt that's surfacing. Or you may just feel an activation of hurt when that harm hasn't really occurred. But many times kind of both are present within the food example. You may say what it looks like for her to be activated, even if harm isn't activated is, you know, say someone is in the space and the food is about to come out. And this person says, Oh man, I really hope that there's something that I can eat. There's never options. For me, it's so frustrating. It's really a challenge when the food comes out of their options for them, and it's fine. But their hurt was still activated because they were nervous about whether or not their access needs were going to be met. Now if there was hurt and harm present, it would be maybe sometimes what feels like an overreaction to a situation where it would be someone who's like there is never good vegan options. Every single space that I'm in, I'm always expected to have an iceberg salad. Nothing is intentionally, you know, made for me. And this is yet another time that this is happening. Maybe it's my first time in this community you didn't even know that I had these needs. So I'm being harmed in a space that maybe you didn't necessarily intend or you didn't have the information necessary, but it's been such a pattern in my life, that it's really showing up as a major harm for me. Or, you know, I think that the other metaphor that we use a lot not to mix metaphors, but I think it is helpful is if I have a wound on my arm and you brushed up wound, but I had a shirt on you didn't see it. You may have hurt me because it activated a woman that I had but you didn't necessarily know that right? Where is it? If you saw that I had an open wound and you like flicked that wound, then you're intentionally harming me in the space where you think it's going to be the most sensitive for me. So I think those are kind of the terms that we use. And I think it can be very, very helpful for people to be able to discern what's actually happening here and to be able to decipher between, you know, disputes, which may include a disagreement or a conflict versus violence, which would be harm and abuse.

David (he/him)  
Thank you for those metaphors. I'm sure they're extremely helpful. And as you were sharing them, lots of different situations that I've experienced, have run through my mind. And I want to give folks a chance to pause and think about, you know, where those things might have shown up. I am curious if there is a situation that y'all have experienced, that kind of takes, like, like pizza is a great metaphor, like a wonderful metaphor. And I'm curious if there's an experience that y'all are able to share, that kind of walks people through what that looks like, in real life.

Lea  
I think that that is, you know, the pizza example, is both very real in that like, it's an organizing and logistical challenge and that people's dietary needs are very real. But I think the stakes feel higher and feel more like linked to your self conception and your ego and like what you believe needs to happen. When it comes to organizing strategy. I think that that's such a contentious, just thing because none of us knows what the right thing to do to like, transform our society is, you know, none of us can be sure that the strategy that I want to take is what's going to like, create a more liberated future for all of us, you know, especially because we so often, and you know, it's a stretch to imagine what would create a more liberated, liberated world for you personally, and then that can sometimes be in conflict with what other people need. And I think the organizing and coalition is just, I would say, where this comes up

Stas  
all the time. Yeah, I'm thinking particularly of an example, which Oh, I would prefer to keep it kind of like, anonymous in general. But I think that an example I'm thinking about it, so something to know about us at spring up is that we are a social enterprise. So we are technically a business that is fully funded by grassroots funding and selling products, like our online classes, private consultation, and we're very, very committed to cultural organizing, we believe that culture Work comes first, we have a lot of kind of critiques of policy based organizing, although it's great that people do that. And I want to, you know, support the work that they do. That's not for me, I did a lot of political organizing as a young person. And I've kind of come to this place as an abolitionist of, you know, I'm, you know, somewhat more of a, of a anarchist rejection, rejecting the framework that policy and government has the ability to, to, you know, free us, I believe in harm reduction. And so I believe that shifting policy can certainly reduce harm in our communities. But we believe very, very seriously that conversations with people culture shift, shifting people's internal cop, helping them to believe that that freedom is possible through their imagination. I often think about Adrienne Marie browns, quote, that we're in a war of imagination. And that I think that in order for us to get towards freedom, we have to shift what people conceive to be as possible. And so the way that that shows up as attention is that, you know, if we're not organizing together, we can all disagree about the best strategy for social change. You can say culture first, you can say, you know, political organizing, you can say, you know, be included at the table of people who are, you know, making decisions, there are a lot of different strategies. But there are quite a few kind of funds and grants out there within philanthropy. And I think that the way that philanthropy and funding shapes movement organizing is something that we have a lot of issues with, and think a lot about the nonprofit industrial complex and, you know, insights, the revolution will not be funded. And just the ways that funding mechanisms create urgency impact people's relationships with each other, their accountability to funders over their accountability to their communities, we could go on and on. But there was a there was a point where we were part of a coalition of organizations, most of the others being nonprofits.

Lea  
And this is honestly happened multiple times. So this is really not about like any particular group, right.

Stas  
But we were in a group that was applying to get funding to do transformative justice work. And, you know, we, we, I think, felt that what we thought would be a good idea was to follow youth leadership. We did a participatory action research project with young people in the community around the kind of like peer leadership, peer support based programming that they wanted. And were really excited about what the young people were looking for. I really believe that this grant funding was going to be going towards funding that program. And we were very interested in being involved in, in supporting and program design, and we're very involved in the application process. But I think that we had had kind of informal disagreements with different people around Oh, well, should we do a culture strategy should we do whatever, but it wasn't a big deal, because we either, you know, we could do multiple campaigns, or, um, you know, we didn't actually have to collaborate on something we were we had sprung up, we're gonna go do something that other work was going to go do something was not really a big deal. So we felt that we were on very good terms. And once money came into it, and it was a question of what are the literal budget line items, and how much goes towards different components of the work that became much more contentious. And it and it felt like we needed, we couldn't do all the ideas that everyone had. And we needed to make some choices around what kind of programming we were going to do. And I think

Lea  
that and and it became very clear that as a, you know, applying for this grant in a coalition not being the nonprofit that had received that, but instead being like a partner in that, that we had no formal decision making power, right, and things that we thought were, you know, decided, were just totally able to be changed.

Stas  
And I think that just this idea that the conflict over what the right strategy was, was fine, we could totally be in conflict around what the right strategy was. Now the challenge was, I think what was harmful was the way that funds were distributed, which I think is saying that because we were an informal kind of younger collective of people, we kept getting delegated more and more tasks that we had not agreed to earlier, that were swelling, the amount of work that we took, we didn't have formal decision making power, and how the funds were going to be distributed. And it got to this point where we had agreed to I don't know, what was it like five hours a week worth of work that aligned with how much we were getting out of the budget, and how much we were expected to actually coordinate, ended up looking like four to 10 times that amount of work. And as we surfaced that to the coalition partners, and said, hey, the work that we're holding here, not only is it not what we originally agreed to, and you kind of decided to go down a path that did not align with kind of our theory of change. But it's also that you are expecting us to do more work than we realistically can. And we don't have full time income, we don't have outside grant funding. And so you expecting us to do more work for not being willing to give us more money is really putting us in a tough financial position and putting us in a difficult position to have boundaries around our capacity, because we still have to do enough work to make an enough of an income to pay our rent and support ourselves. But we have to do a lot of work for this partnership for very little funds. And so we tried to negotiate making more money of this grant. And they were like, no, no, you can't do that we can't give you more funds, because out of the budget, you know, we're not we don't have the ability to provide more funds to you. And ultimately, we ended up you know, ending the partnership, and they moved on with the work without us. And I think that that brings up kind of also the scales of harm that we talked about of how harm and conflict can show up on an internal interpersonal, intergroup institutional and systemic level. And I think that that brought up a lot for us internally, around navigating funding with, you know, more formal institutions that had, you know, accountants and bookkeepers, and you know, so much more infrastructure for managing funds and being very difficult for us to figure out how to ask for more money and to be told to know, that brought up a lot of internal strife for us, that I think was an activation of hurt, and not just their own behavior, but previous patterns of navigating money that were difficult for us as people who had been, we already told you spending three years on the road living out of our car, like it's hard to ask to ask for money. And then I think at an interpersonal level, we were, you know, close friends with when many of the people in these organizations that felt like it really impacted our friendships, the kind of navigation of funds that were showing up. And then on the intergroup level, it really felt like we were representing the young people, and that we weren't just representing our organization, but that there was this tension between the adults who made decisions and the young people who were asking for something different, and kind of ageism, and the power dynamics that play there. And then on an institutional level, just like how does the nonprofit system the funding system, the distribution of funds shape our movements, shape our relationships was something that we really struggled with. So I think just that that's, that's an example of kind of how these things came into play, ultimately resulting in some some ending and some pausing on interpersonal and organizational you know, friendships and partnerships.

David (he/him)  
Yeah, and want to recognize that those boundaries are needed, and healthy. And there, I imagine still probably some unresolved tension in spaces. Are there any that have been restored, transformed? What did that process look like?

Stas  
I mean, many Oh, yeah. I

Lea  
mean, I think that I honestly love being a consulting partner to organizations. I think that that allows us to constantly renegotiate the partnership to revisit it every three months every year. We do have some organizational partnerships that have been going for three, four years now. And then we have some partnerships that we have for six months. And then we decided to move on. And I think that for us operating in this way, feels very compatible with a bounded structure. I think that when we've been informal community members, when we've been just participants in programs, volunteers, volunteers, it's felt like it's very hard to practice consent, like boundaries get eroded, like the power dynamics are not formal, there's not a contract that you can go back to and say, well, here's what we agreed on. So has that changed, you know, and does that mean that we need to shift as partnership or in this partnership, and I think that that has allowed us to be very generative and very constructive and very, even pre emptive, about when we can see that orgs that we've been working with for years are going into strategy going in a direction that we don't feel we can support them. And that doesn't mean that it's not the right strategy for them, it just means that that's not something that we have the capacity or, you know, maybe the interest to, to go down, I think that that can cause it to not be so interpersonal to not be so like, when we talk about, like, what's a relational conflict, and what's a strategic conflict, and I can be in right relationship with a leader who's decided to take their organization in a strategic direction, but is not, you know, compatible with what I feel called to be doing right now. And our relationship could be fine, you know, or

Stas  
we could maintain an organizational relationship, as you know, collectives and groups, even if we've had kind of an interpersonal conflict or fallout with individuals within the organization.

Lea  
Yeah. And even just recently, we've had several orgs, that we decided to, you know, just go in different directions with a couple of years ago, come back and say, let's try to revisit this partnership, let's see what that would look like. This is where we're at right now, where are you all at right now. And then also individuals within organizations that we've been like, I can't work with this person. It's about me, for me that where this person is is not something that I can support right now. I can call on the people around them to see if that's something that they could do, you know, but I really believe that trusting people not trying to control them, not trying to just grab them by the shoulders and hold them accountable. But instead, being honest, being direct creating space for them, and trusting that they will take accountability in the ways and in the time that they can, we've had so many relationships, and honestly, where we've just let it cool for two years. And then we come back together, and they just have these stories of like, this is the journey that I've been on, this is where I am right now, this is the ways that I've taken accountability and shifted my behavior. And I think that that is honestly more common. I mean, sometimes we just never hear from people again, that That definitely happens to and they might be like, Oh, you guys are too critical, or, you know, I don't like your way of being direct, which is fine, you know, but I do think that there absolutely is the potential for repair. And that for us, just giving it space, is what's led to some of those most like restorative, repairing kind of conversations

Stas  
more often than not the majority of the time. You know, a couple years later, we do end up rebuilding that relationship, it just takes a little bit of space. And I think whether that's with the organization or the individual, I can now see like a list, I think when you're conflict forward person or group, that happens, the tension the fallouts happen, but I think that I really don't believe in canceling people. And I think that I've been grateful for that, you know, on the on the receiving end of someone who's, you know, committed harm or, or who's been, you know, problematic in relationships in organizations, the ability to take space, take time, really do your personal work, and be okay to come back together, even if in more distant or different formation. I think that more often than not that does that does end up happening with us, including we are working with the fraternity that we were in at Dartmouth currently, that I lived in that house, and I'm not going to go back there in person, but I'm happy to work with, you know, the students who are at that fraternity or, you know, in the sexual violence movement, we have, you know, some some tensions and falling out with organizations. And now, the New York Historical Society is doing almost a year long exhibition on Title Nine, and on the Youth Organizing movement that we were a part of, and it's been really interesting to reconnect with people who were organizing with almost 10 years ago, and kind of just laugh at kind of all the tensions that happened at that time. And we've all taken different paths and have transformed as people and saw each other at some of our worst times. And I think it's been really beautiful to kind of close that loop and to, to circle around on that process with honestly the vast majority of groups that we've had fallouts with

David (he/him)  
when you share that so much came up again reflective of all those instances in my life in the life of in the short Two year life of amplify RJ where it's like, what are the organizational individual relationships that in which harm has happened, where conflict exists, and how you navigate that given, like, the short timeframe, and then thinking about the zoomed out in the, in the in the scope of years, because I think when you're talking about infusing these practices, these principles into the world of organizing, we're talking about people who deeply, deeply care about building a better world for future generations, we have different abilities, we have different visions, we have different backgrounds, we have different resources, working towards very, very similar goals. What surfaces like what does community safety mean? And you know, for some people, that means calling the police. And while I might disagree, and we're probably not going to work together on this specific issue, like, I'm not going to negate that, like, calling the police makes you feel safe. And that's just not a point of tension that like, we're going to resolve, but it's okay for us to still be friends. And it's okay for us to work on other things together. Yeah, I mean, I can just think about, like all the different tensions that we've encountered over the years with people who are doing really similar work. And it doesn't mean that anyone is a terrible person, or someone that I'm gonna, like cut out of my life forever. It just like, it might not make sense to work together at this time place on this issue. Absolutely.

Lea  
I think that's what's one of the most messed up things about all the pressures that academia capitalism, you know, state adjacency put it on our relationships is that you end up having the most bitter Fallout and resentments with the people who are most similar to you. And I think that that is very painful, honestly. And, you know, you can always see, like, what if I had taken a different path? What if I had, you know, I think in my case, I like, may have become a, you know, I was planning to be a psychiatrist. And so when we think about community based mental health response, I know that that would have really put me in a position of harm, and I was able to, you know, through being in a privileged educational institution see enough of what that will look like, to be able to decide that I didn't want to continue down that path. If I had already spent $300,000 on medical school, I don't think I would have had the ability to pivot off of that path. Right. And I think likewise, you know, you could have been a lawyer. And so these are just different different choices, different paths, you know, the the pressures that people face are, are different when it comes to family and your your ability to take care of yourself your resources. And I think that that's one of the reasons why reform is not going to be enough. But we really do need to rethink, reconstruct, reimagine our institutions, because the way that they are set up right now causes us to just be constantly fighting with each other. And I do think, though, that we've seen some really incredible transformations, when the people in those institutions and organizations focus on accountability, you know, what are we who are we accountable to? What are we accountable for? Just keep having those conversations, right? And then consent, you know, what? is in my range of tolerance? What is in your range of tolerance? How can those overlap overlap? How can we respect each other. And I do think that that can help to, like mend some of those divides, but it's honestly so painful. And it's so painful when we have such a scarcity of resources and such a scarcity of people who are deeply committing their lives to this that we end up having these fallouts and resenting each other, when we shouldn't be able to be, you know, working together and building each other.

Stas  
I think it's also interesting, the way that the opposite of what we're talking about can be true where unexpected partnerships can be so fruitful, and not always thinking, well, who thinks the same way that I do, who does the same sort of work that I do, being the obvious partnerships, but really being willing to go outside what seems like the natural partnership, and that's been a theme throughout all of our work is that we really embrace unexpected partnerships. And I think an example of this is when we were organizing at Dartmouth, you know, we were very deep in the organizing of students of color of queer and trans students of survivors. And at the same time, there was a whole thing going on on campus around hazing within the fraternities. And people really kind of had this like bad guy persona, around the fraternity brothers, this idea that they were the ones who were kind of committing harm and doing problems and yet at the same time, they were experiencing a lot of harm within those institutions themselves. And so when we ended up filing our federal complaint against the university, there were four of us were public complainants, and about 30 Anonymous, private complainants and Leona were the lead complainants and then we had the third person was a fraternity brother, who had been making complaints about the nature of sexualized hazing within In the fraternity system, and really holding conversations where we weren't saying, you know, were the victims, you're the bad guys. But what does it mean, for us to be honest about the prevalence of violence affecting all of us within this community, we'll be honest about the ways that some of you have harmed us. And I think that it was, it was a really interesting strategy, because it caused people to look at us differently, to feel that we were finding common ground with folks that they perceived us to be, you know, against, I think that there it that's a tricky line to draw. Because I really do not like when I hear people saying, like, oh, let's do a restorative justice circle with young people in the police, and then they'll humanize each other. And I'm like, I don't, I don't think that that's I don't think that the power dynamics are such that your understanding, kind of the impact that that can have, I don't think that it's a lack of understanding of humanity there. I think that sometimes humanity and understanding is a certain level, and you can still perpetuate violence, despite your understanding. So I think there's, there's more going on there. But at the same time, I think it's interesting, because, you know, this may be a taboo thing to say, but, you know, it's been interesting for me to realize how many people around me particularly coming from, whether it's a low income background, or a background where school wasn't a good fit for them, ended up being funneled into the military and police as a kind of strategy of wanting to be there for people wanting to be, you know, a source of safety and support for people as well as wanting to have a job that would provide security. That was very, very difficult to find. And I think it's been interesting, because a close friend of ours, actually left the police force recently, and identifies as an abolitionist, and kind of going through years of navigating what it looked like for them to be, you know, a person of marginalized identities within the police thinking that they could make changes us being very vocal abolitionists, and that being kind of, you know, challenging us having, you know, meetups with friends, knowing that there were people there who, you know, would definitely not feel comfortable with a police officer being present, knowing how to navigate those boundaries, but also humanizing that that person felt trapped in golden handcuffs felt like they couldn't imagine, you know, another way to earn a living after they had been kind of funneled and recruited into this very, very harmful system that was also harmful for them. And I think it's been a really incredible journey to see their abolitionist journey of now being someone who is really thinking about community safety outside of institutions, and what does it mean for me to still be someone who's committed to supporting the people around me, but recognizing the ways that institutions are harmful? And I think it's the same thing we know a lot of people who are social workers, and I think there's, you know, it's a taboo thing to say, but social workers are, in some ways cops in and of themselves, cops of the mind, they're surveilling their communities, they're, you know, mandatory reporting, I've seen, you know, social workers commit just as much harm and community as police officers. And even though that's seen as something that's like, so good, I've seen them be the source of really intense force institutionalization for people with disabilities and psychiatric disabilities and breaking apart families. And I think figuring out how we, you know, build unexpected relationships with people who we may be see as folks who are not on the same, you know, quote, unquote, side as us. And then also the way that we think critically about people who seem like they are on the same side, or people who seem like they're, they're doing similar work and the ways that they can ended up committing harm as

Lea  
well. I think also, we really believe in seeing the individuals and the people, within any institution, I think that even if you're talking about a very harmful institution, an individual within that can have a like, change of heart change of mind and choose a different path for themselves. And I think that's also a really important part of abolition is not sort of condemning people based on choices they made when they were 1718 years old, based on the context that they were in, but creating offerings for people, ways for people to say, I didn't realize what I was getting into. And now I can have support in getting this up. Yeah.

David (he/him)  
Yeah. A while ago, I was having this conversation with my dad about what would it mean like to abolish the police, right? And his whole thing was like, Well, yeah, what about all these people whose jobs it has been to do this, like, making like, really clear options for that, like, has to be part of that imagination for people? Because it's scary to like, lose your livelihood, right? Something that you've invested in for so long this this, this family, quote, unquote, family, that you have, you feel like you're a part of

Stas  
I think that evolution has to be a vision of what you want, not just what you don't want. And I think that boundaries are still really, really pivotal in there. And I think that people I don't think that everyone has to like welcome former cops with open arms. In order for us to get to that abolitionists future. I think that people have every ability to say this is who I can work with. This is who I can't work with. And these and I think having a multiplicity of communities and multiplicity of strategies all working towards kind of the same outcome of collective liberation, that in order for us all to be free We need to think about us all being free. And that includes people who have been harmful people who have been part of really harmful institutions, and and still believing that there are strategies for us all to meet our needs. On the other side of the very long kind of infinite process of all the different choices that get us towards abolition.

David (he/him)  
Yeah, I want to make sure that people know the role that you and spring up is playing in bringing this vision or putting that up, setting that imagination, creating that vision and then bringing that to life in the world and how people can support that.

Lea  
Absolutely. Yeah, so one of the main things that we do is our blue LED Academy courses, and those are online courses that are open to the community. And I think that with what we were just talking about, it can be a very a space, the shift these institutional power dynamics that we're talking about. If you're in a community based education class, with, let's say, you know, some people who are graduate students at elite institutions, and people who are doing, you know, community mutual aid projects,

Stas  
or some people will even do it with their parents or their partners, we encourage most people to sign up in pairs or in groups. And those include kind of self guided classes that you can do on your own time, similar to a podcast, or we have a eight week cohort courses that are largely asynchronous, they have office hours, every week, we have an alumni community of now men, many people all over the world, which has been really beautiful to see growing, to see our alumni base in other countries and kind of what navigating the the ideas of us exceptionalism and US imperialism and where, you know, being being open about what does it mean for folks to join our spaces from an international space, but really being grateful for how open and honest they've been about what works and what doesn't work for them. But I would say that those courses are a really, really cool environment, not only during the week time, but you know, for you get content for the year, and people continue to meet each other and meet up in different locations, and to build relationships through that process. And those courses currently include our transformative justice course, our consent, gender, and power course, and our liberatory education courses, is actually launching this year this summer. And so those are ways that we're building community. And let's see, we started last summer. And since then, we've had 500, people go through these trainings. And we even have a free online course, that's called resilience and revitalization that features the voices of 20 different community members, largely the voices of young, queer and trans people and people of colors, we also have a collective of incarcerated women that contributed to that. And that's something that's free online.

Lea  
And I would really, I would highly recommend that I think we can share the link in the notes. But that's a free resource that was sponsored by the life comes from giving circle. And it is meant to be a community generated, arch based vision of the abolitionist future that we need. And so if you're a teacher, if you're a parent, if you're someone who is wanting kind of intro resources to start having these conversations about abolition and about mental health, about sexual violence response, I think that that's really what we created that resource to be. And so I, I hope that people

Stas  
will use it. And outside of that free resource, all of our programming a sliding scale, so there's multiple price points for people. And on our website, people can book webinars with us like our everyday transformative justice webinar, they can book question and answer sessions with our collective members, which is kind of the most customized one off thing that we can do where your group can just submit some questions to us. And we'll come and talk to you about it kind of whatever that means to you. We also have our ziens, which is what many people know us for, we have a number of print workbooks that people can order in packs of five on our website, because we believe that people learn in community. And so we hope for them to distribute them to the people around them so that folks have shared languaging frameworks to draw on in their practice with each other. We also offer consultation and trainings for organizations and communities. And like we said, different institutions, particularly if you know that your community has called you out on be uncomfortable. That's who we're looking to work with. That's that's who we want. If you're like, listen, we've been talking about racism, we've been talking about harm. We know that we practice some, you know, white dominant patterns, we know that we avoid conflict and it contributes to harm in our community, we know that we have a hard time knowing how to be inclusive of trans people. That's who we want to work with. Because we're really, really committed to bringing this understanding into practice to translating from an intention or an ideal or a goal of who you hope to be and figuring out how to translate that to your behavior is really, you know, our sweet spot of what we love to be able to do.

Lea  
And then I will say that people you know, have and do reach out to us saying like, can you facilitate my transformative justice process? I think that we do not do that for people that we are not currently In relationship with, however, in our Patreon community, we I mean, we're like you go out, you facilitate that you become the transformative tool. And we really believe in that, like, widespread democratization of that. And so our Patreon, there are a lot of people who are, you know, whether you're trying to make change in your organization, or going through an accountability process yourself in any role, or in your family, a lot of that, yeah, you can join our Patreon. And if you are subscribed, $5 a month, you can get quarterly coaching with people who can just coach you as a peer in building your own transformative justice practice or kind of making shifts in your own organization. But that's really how we believe this work needs to be done is that if you're looking for someone outside to come in, and like, hold that for you, you know, outside people can hold a training, you can bring your group to a training space, but people do need to take ownership of, you know, realizing these shifts in their own communities. And that's really important to

Stas  
us in our organizational partnerships, it's really important to keep in mind that organizations cannot do transformative justice, transformative justice cannot be done by organizations, because transformative justice is inherently oppositional to institutions, but being the actors within the practice. And so what organizations and institutions can do is they can learn about, you know, transformative philosophies transformative practices, we talk a lot about participatory action research and feedback and evaluation mechanisms to recognize who you're accountable to what you're accountable for, and kind of follow the leadership of what people in your community say that they need to recognize patterns of harm in your organization and try to address the root causes through the design of how you're structured. And we do that often within starting many of our ongoing partnerships with audits that are driven by a participatory action research ethic. And so we'll identify leaders from within their own group to co hold the research process with us to co identify the goals of the process. And with most of our you know, partnerships that involve multiple trainings, or ongoing, you know, retreats, which we really encourage as much as possible, you can work with us for six months or more, with a few different spaces. This is really work that requires a slow burn, and will usually ask them to identify peer leaders within their group. And those peer leaders will do prep sessions with us, we will get to know them a little bit better. We'll talk about the right structures for them to learn the specific outcomes will ask what kinds of conflicts are going on in your group? And how can we anticipate those going into the space with everyone else. And then it's been really interesting, we just closed out a three year partnership with a group where we've been working with kind of different iterations of peer leaders over the three years. And by the end, it was just incredible. They co design the systems with us, based on the patterns of harm they were seeing in their organizations, we made a mini class together online that's held on our lead academy platform that they can use during their orientation and onboarding. For new team members with everyone has the same shared frameworks and tools and language. And they design these new systems that are living documents that they are applying for how they address harm, before it gets to a kind of legal requirement of intervention, so that they can de escalate before things escalate. We talked about building a more intentional resource list, practicing informed consent with people in their identity in their in their community, and really buildings, co building systems with them. And we just did earlier this week, over treat with their whole team where the pure leadership team kind of presented back all the systems that we've been designing for the last 18 months. And this online class that we co made with videos of their leaders, talking about what they learned and what they hope people take from this. And it's just been really, really incredible to see over that three year journey, what it means for them to really adapt and digest this information and iterate it to the point where they can really effectively lead this work without US President. I think the last thing I'll say on this is this brings up why are we called spring up. And people don't really know this story. People often associate spring up with the spring, which we do, you know, love the season of spring. Absolutely. But it's actually for us about a spring of water is what we're what we're referring to. And so we think that every community is extremely resource rich, and we like to think about the the idea of aquifers. Now aquifers are bodies of water that are beneath the surface that are extremely resource rich, and supportive. But there is not always a way to connect with the aquifer. And so at spring up, we believe that we come in, and we are invited in rather. And our goal is to create a spring to support that community and tapping into the resources in their own aquifer in a way that is not dependent on us. And so we like to think of ourselves as a community that helps you to tap the potential and wisdom that's already present within your group. And then for us to be able to step back and let you kind of take that work in whatever direction makes sense for you. And then you know, we certainly love to stay in community, hear how things are going maybe have ongoing coaching sessions with people beyond the training space, but it's been really incredible. We talked about how we're coming up on our 10 year anniversary. It's been really incredible to connect with partners that we've worked with years ago and to see the way that the the wisdom that has served Just through the spring has really shifted the entire ecosystem. And just the the sense of interconnectedness, the sense of, you know, mutual aid and support, and the belief that they have an abundant resource within their own community has just been a really, really beautiful thing to see. And I think a lot. The other thing is that I know you asked us if we're presenting at na CRJ. This year, we did just get the email that were confirmed to present at NAC RJ this year, and we're going to be doing a presentation on a tool that we've been working on for the last, you know, maybe five, six years called the organizational accountability wheel. And it's a it's a framework for thinking about the different components of harm, prevention and response thinking through the root causes people often think of accountability is how do we respond when harm has occurred? And in feminist accountability, and Rousseau kind of paraphrases bell hooks in this really incredible way she says it when we're committed to being anti racist, it's not a question of whether harm will occur. It's a question of how we will respond when it occurs. And so we're thinking about not only that response, but how do we think about kind of the structure of the organization itself? How do we think about the culture and the relationships? How do we think about our practices of feedback and adaptation and emergence together, all of those things contribute to the root causes of harm in organizations. And so we'll really be digging into kind of the tool that people can use to do a self evaluation of their own organizations and communities to identify their strengths, their areas of growth, and their ability to kind of leverage those towards their goal outcome of collective liberation and a toolkit for practicing accountability in a very real world and pragmatic way.

Lea  
Yeah, I'm really excited about that. I know the connections, we need that the previous any surgery in Denver, including with you, were so important to us as we transition to moving to Denver, actually. And so we're really excited to come to this next NAC R J. And we're also going to be having a table there. And so if you want to come say hi, come chat with us. We'll be tabling

Stas  
have our stickers and our workbooks and all sorts of tools for you to get when you when you come see us. They're

David (he/him)  
beautiful. And we'll hear a little bit more about NAC at a conference right now. 

David (he/him)  
Back to the issue. We are back to ask Stoss and lead the questions that everybody answers when they come on this restorative justice life. In your own words, restorative justice is

Stas  
pursuing repair a life philosophy committed to Healing Justice, radical truth telling and imagining a different way of being with each other.

David (he/him)  
As you've been doing this work, what's been a moment? What did you learn from it?

Stas  
The moment that I wanted to share was that I was doing a restorative justice diversion case with the State Attorney's Office. And I had me and my co facilitator, were just really deep in this process of, you know, how do we address a pretty serious, you know, harm that occurred between these two young people. And I was just so desiring to talk to the parents to get so much deeper, so much deeper. And we actually had a limit on how long we could take in the process. And we realized that me coming from a transformative justice background really did mean that I had a different approach. And I had really been like, well, RJ TJ, they're basically the same thing. It's like, you know, everybody's approaching it in their own way. And I had this moment where I was like, Oh, my gosh, I just do not think that this structure works for me. I just don't think that this aligns with the kinds of questions and the kinds of approaches that I want to have. And that was really a moment because I had anticipated continuing to do that work for quite a while. And I had to realize like, even though this is work that's paid within a field that is very often unpaid. That's not actually a structure that works for the way that I approach arm.

David (he/him)  
Oh, man, there's a whole nother episode to talk about just that peace around the time limits of like, trying to get through a process within the criminal legal system or within like a Title Nine. That's a whole nother conversation. But I feel that so hard. Lee, is there something that you wanted to share?

Lea  
Yeah, I'll say that, um, you know, without getting too in detail. We've run you know, a variety of consent peer educator programs. And we were running a very intensive one with a group and have young, you know, young people. And we thought it was going great. We were like, Oh, this is awesome. They're going to be just, you know, force multipliers for consent in, in their communities. And then towards the end of the program, we actually learned some pretty serious arm that had been happening between the young people in an ongoing way that many of them knew about and were impacted by and we were just like, whoa, we are trying to do prevention here, but the harm is already in the space and How do we? How should we intervene? Do we say what we know? Should we hold a circle around this like, now we're both trying to set up structures for prevention. And we're realizing that the harm is already happening in our space. And so I think that was really a big, a big moment of like, yeah, just the people in the room are all is impacted by the issue that you're talking about,

David (he/him)  
especially as practitioners, consultants, trainers coming into a space, like people are asking you to come in and start from here, right, just like we were talking with Edward Alondra, a couple weeks ago. It's like, hey, restorative justice, starting from this point, right, not thinking about all the things that have happened, you know, within the context of that organization, or, you know, land theft and genocide or simulation. But those are such important things to continue to think about. Thank you for those moments. This, we ask this question to everybody, collectively, y'all get four people in a circle, living or dead? Who are they? What question do you ask the circle? This is such a

Stas  
tough question. You know, and I think that I think it's just a marker of where I am right now. I think that my answer would be very different at different points

Lea  
in time. And I'll just say I'm very willing to go to this dinner party.

Stas  
So yeah, I was I was reflecting on this question before and I was like, I think it's actually a space that I've been in before. So it's with four people that I've been in conversation with at the same time before, but I would ask them a different question now than when I was in space with them before so I would say it's Mimi Kim, Mia Mingus. Leah Lakshmi pips notice Amara Sina and Merriam Cava. And I think when I first met them, I was so in awe. So like, oh, my gosh, it's you what's happening? That I don't think that I asked the question that I would want to ask now, which is, I would want to ask about sustainability, I would want to ask about how they've been able to continue doing this work. And I would want to ask about the access needs of the facilitator, I think that often we talk a lot about the access needs of people in our community, the participants in spaces that we're facilitating, and often it feels like there's an expectation of the facilitator or the holder of the space, just like meets those needs for other people. And I have been struggling a lot with my own access needs. And feeling that it's very difficult for me as the holder of the space to not always be okay, as the tone setter of the space as the person who's, you know, so hard to coordinate with all these different people. It's like, well, if they all can make this work, I can't be the one who's stopping it from working. And it's really impacted my sense of burnout in a way that I've been struggling with recently, and particularly the expectation of women and femmes of color to be infinitely available with their care. And kind of the quickness to say that those people are, you know, bitches if they're not showing up. And I think particularly of an essay from care work that Leah wrote, I don't remember the the name right now. It's basically about some of color leaders being, you know, called out and being expected to be superhuman, and it's something that I returned to really frequently. And I think there's another essay from that same book called a fair trade, a radical, what is it? It's a

Lea  
radical proposal for a fair trade care economy, we share that in many of our courses.

Stas  
And it's thinking about consent, thinking about what it means to have boundaries, to be able to say, no doubt, a sense of gratitude for the emotional and care labor that's often expected of particularly families, and queer and trans folks and disabled people. And I think that as much as I'm in community with people who are committed to the same values, I see those patterns creeping, creeping up so much in a way that it's very difficult for me to really sit with the impact that it's had on my health, on my well being, and my sense of resentment of the people around me, who always expected me to do more. And I would just want to be in community with other people who I know I've dealt with that and ask, how, how was that looked for you? What what do you wish you knew earlier on in your journey about what to say no to when to call people out for having unreasonable expectations of you, because people are so quick to turn on leaders that they share identities with me because of the expectation of us to be their Manny, and to show up for them and do whatever it is that they want. Because that's the only way that we're invested in care. Just this expectation of infinite amounts of emotional labor, for me, has been really, really difficult for me to know how to navigate as a leader.

Lea  
Yeah. And I think that something that has been sending a decent amount recently that resonates is leadership is a position of service. But it's not a position of sacrifice. And sacrifice is not what's being like, offered when you step into like taking on the responsibility of leadership.

Stas  
A young person with many shared identities with me was said this thing and I really snapped at them. They were like, you know, you're just so committed to this. You're always able to give more of yourself, you have such a sense of vision. I don't think I have the degree of commitment that you have to be able to do this and I was like, I don't offer so much of myself. It is taken. It is expected of me in order for us to continue doing this work. I don't want you to have to feel the way that I do in order to be a leader in this field. And it's hard for me to imagine that, especially when I think about many of these folks are able to sustain themselves because of their adjacency to the Academy. And because of their funding from universities, and as someone who's outside of those systems, it feels like the demands of capitalism are all encompassing, it's very difficult to know how to sustain a living without kind of buddying up and being dependent on institutions that we critique. And I don't totally know how to do that effectively, which is, you're listening to this, please support our work by buying our resources and paying the supporter rate if you can, because it really does make a difference for us to have a sense of abundance and spaciousness. And this kind of hustle to always figure out where your next check is coming from, as a collective that now supports 1616 people. It's a huge, huge responsibility to always be figuring out how to make figure out where those resources are going to come from. And often in order to make those resources continue showing up. It's very difficult for me as a leader to have boundaries, and to be a difficult person to work with sometimes, and to be a disabled person who's not always able to show up and takes a long time to do certain things. And I get crabby. And then it's not acceptable because I've been charged and so just how how do you be a badass bitch and still make money is kind of my question.

David (he/him)  
I think the layer, it's part of it, it's like badass bitch doing care work. Because like, you can be a badass bitch and like, Fuck all them like it still get money, but like doing care work specifically. Um, thank you. Thank you so much for sharing that, um, my follow up, you know, when that young person said that to you? What was your internal thought of like, oh, this is what they see me modeling.

Stas  
I mean, I started to dissociate in that moment, for sure. I started to feel like I couldn't be in my body in that moment. Because I knew that if I knew how hard this work was going to be 10 years ago, I don't know that I would have made this choice. I'm really grateful for what I've learned for the unique opportunities that I've had. But I don't think it should have to be this hard. And I'm tired of so many of the people from history that I look up to not being appreciated until after they passed. And that is just such a deep fear for me, because I feel like there's this pressure to martyr, our mentors. And I don't want to be a martyr, I want to be a writer, I want to be a storyteller. I want to be a creative, I want to be playful, I want to go on vacations, I want to rest, I want to be in nature, I love mushroom foraging, I want that to be my life. And I don't actually want to be only celebrated for the ways that I'm expected to sacrifice myself and seeing the young person on a similar path. Feel that that was what was modeled for them just broke my heart and made me feel like that shouldn't have to be true. And it was it was really painful for me to hear. I think

Lea  
that people shouldn't have to be superhuman or exceptional, or the like kind of Guru these topics in their communities to be able to commit to this life path. And I think seeing people in that way, is what isolates us.

Stas  
Yeah. Because you become to humanize also in this idea of your exceptionalism, this idea of I could never be like you, because you're so great, is also dehumanizing. Because it's work that has gotten us to this point, I'm not like I didn't come out the womb like this, like, Oh, I know all the definitions of conflict, and I'm so ready to navigate it. It's taken labor, it's taken commitment, it's taken devotion, it's taken reflection, it's taking pain, it's taken trauma, it's taken broken relationships, it's taken so much to get me to this place, because I'm a person. And other people could also make these choices. It's just a very difficult choice to continue to make. It's not one choice, oh, I'm going to be a transformative justice practitioner. It is 10 choices a day, every single day, recommitting to this path. And that's something that I think any person could do. And so I'd rather not be seen as so exceptional, or different from other people. And I, it can be very difficult to maintain relationships with people when they don't see you as a person.

Lea  
And I think the more other people choose to make those choices, the easier it becomes for all of us.

Stas  
Yeah, if there were other people out here, I think those of us who are doing it would not necessarily have to take on so much.

Lea  
I mean, there are so many people are coming into this work now like 1000s Millions of people I think are really like committing themselves to this.

Stas  
But look at the people who are training you look at the people that are modeling this and ask Are they tired? Are they okay? And what does it mean to have a reciprocal relationship with them considering how much they've given? How much would you hope that they could receive in exchange because I am young but I am tired. And I wish that I could still be sustained without needing to show up so fully every day of every week of every month. You know, I would love to still be able to do this work and be you know, appreciated in a way that actually sustains me without expecting to always do more and more work. Yeah, yeah,

David (he/him)  
definitely. The next question is, you know, what's one mantra or affirmation? You want everyone listening to this to know?

Lea  
Yeah, I wouldn't say it's a mantra necessarily, but I, what I find myself saying a lot these days is, where are we in the process? I think that when you're conceptualizing of something, versus when you're four months into a pilot of a thing that you have decided to do, versus when you're thinking about where you want to be in three years, I think, sometimes we sometimes I hear a lot of urgency from people, or a lot of this should already be fixed. Or if we haven't already solved this problem, then this is going to fail. And I think that we are 18 months into a very intense process of decentralization and collectivization for collective. And it's taken a lot, it's, it's felt urgent at times, it's felt very demanding of resources. In every direction, it's felt like we're sort of the soil that's being drawn on and externalizing that, which is something that we very, very much want to happen and need to happen so that we're not the primary people doing this work in 10 years. Um, but I think that that's why I've been saying this all the time of just like, but where are we in this process? And especially I know, people's initial reaction, when they hear transformative justice processes can take six months to two years is long, or longer is I mean, obviously, we don't have time for that. But that's just how long it takes, you know, is six months to two years is just I think how long it realistically takes in a non super hierarchical way.

Stas  
We're not controlling outcomes, controlling people, right for people

Lea  
to realize change and to move in new ways. And so yeah, we're, we're 18 months into what will hopefully be a two year kind of collectivization process in which we will no longer be the only two member owners of this end in which we will have a more stable network of facilitators, and courts consistent

Stas  
and not just come in for a couple months and then leave,

Lea  
right. But that's also a two year training process. That's a three year training process in some ways. And so just being patient, and just like asking yourself, like, where am I in this process? And do I expect myself to be either earlier or further along? has been important for me to ground in?

Stas  
Absolutely. And for me, every night, I asked myself the same two questions, which is, how free was I today? And how free were the people around me. And I think what's been really interesting for me around that is to see kind of the internal tension between achieving things and being free. And I think really trying to find that sweet spot where I was free, I did what I wanted to do, the people around me were free to mess up, be human, be creative, do things that I didn't anticipate. And we're also getting the things done that we need to get done. Whereas sometimes I ended and I'm like, wow, I really checked off my checklist. But I felt bound to this thing that was out of my control that I couldn't really be a creative human in this moment, because I was so focused on what I needed to accomplish. And I think that's been as, as someone who's socialized in a very, you know, perfectionistic, achievement oriented competitive way to kind of take out not like, what am I proud of myself for today? Or what did I achieve today, but how free was I today has really caused me to have a different orientation to finding little pockets of freedom of freedom, finding little moments of spontaneity that I didn't expect and appreciating when the people around me act in ways that I didn't anticipate because it's a marker of our collective freedom.

David (he/him)  
Last few questions, who's one person that I should have on the podcast and you got to help me make the Connect?

Stas  
We were thinking about this. And we were thinking of someone that we also met at NAC RJ that we've worked with quite a bit in the last three years since then, which is Dara Bayer, who is just an incredible practitioner based in Boston, who has is involved in Unity circles, which is a youth transformative justice training program, and also is involved in the Brown University transformative justice peer Practitioner program. And I just think that dhara has so much wisdom to share. I think that would be a really good person for you to speak with,

Lea  
and is also a restorative justice practitioner.

David (he/him)  
Looking forward to that introductory email or DM. And then finally, how and where can people support you in your work in the way that you want, in the way that you want to be supported? I know we've mentioned a lot, they're all going to be linked in the show notes, but just one last time for the people. So it's like drilled into their heads.

Lea  
I would say check out blue light dot Academy. That's where you can see our courses, including some self guided courses. And when this goes up, registration for our summer courses should still be open. So head over there. We'd love to see you in our transformative justice course or consent gender power course.

Stas  
Check out our website time to spring up.org and has all of our beautiful graphics and lots of different ways for you to stay involved including a forum for you to collaborate with us if you would like Like,

Lea  
and then become a patron, you know, that's I think a really, you can choose whatever amount feels good to you or is sustainable for you could be as low as $1 a month. And we share resource posts in there that you, if you're at $5, you have access to our community, peer coaches

Stas  
will send you our workbooks and stickers in the mail, whenever they get released, we have mixers with people around the world to meet each other. It's a really cool space.

Lea  
Yeah. And then, you know, if you're not listening to this, like the day drops, I'm just in the fall. And in the spring, we have now public retreats. And so those are on conflict analysis, harm systems design for your orgs very practical. And then liberatory facilitation, we just did that one that was really fun. And then safety and self care. And so we would love to see folks from the RJ community in those. And those have been really fun spaces. It's a lower commitment than maybe taking an eight week course where you can just come by yourself one day can bring a colleague, bring a friend and just spend you know, one day in virtual space. And then

Stas  
finally follow us at time to string up where particularly active on Instagram, we have a little bit of a Twitter and a little bit of a Facebook, but they're mostly repost from Instagram, but check us out on Instagram and we have lots of beautiful graphics resources. You know, different events for the public that we do are always going to be posted there. That's kind of the easiest way to get updated. And if you go to our website, you can also sign up for our newsletter that we send up dates every month about upcoming opportunities, things that we're up to cool things that we think you might enjoy, and it's just a good way to be a part of the community.

David (he/him)  
Beautiful. Y'all heard them thank you so much thoughts and Lee for sharing so deeply with our community. I'm breathing a sigh of relief like we made it episode but two people we did it a little bit longer than our typical ones, but so much depth so much wisdom shared. We'll be back with another wonderful episode of people living this restorative justice Life next week. Until then, take care

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

(Cont.) 72. Consent & Collective Liberation w/ Stas Schmiedt and Lea Roth
(Cont.) 72. Consent & Collective Liberation w/ Stas Schmiedt and Lea Roth
(Cont.) 72. Consent & Collective Liberation w/ Stas Schmiedt and Lea Roth
(Cont.) 72. Consent & Collective Liberation w/ Stas Schmiedt and Lea Roth
(Cont.) 72. Consent & Collective Liberation w/ Stas Schmiedt and Lea Roth