This Restorative Justice Life

83. Pod Mapping & Transformative Justice w/ Mia Mingus

June 16, 2022 David Ryan Castro-Harris Season 2 Episode 19
This Restorative Justice Life
83. Pod Mapping & Transformative Justice w/ Mia Mingus
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Mia Mingus is a writer, educator and trainer for transformative justice and disability justice. She is a queer disabled Korean transracial and transnational adoptee raised in the Caribbean. She works for community, interdependence and home for all of us, not just some of us, and longs for a world where disabled children can live free of violence, with dignity and love.

You will meet Mia (0:55). Mia defines transformative justice in her work (15:10) and discusses the difficulty of TJ in our current soil (34:41). She talks about accountability and pod mapping (46:12). Finally, she answers the closing questions (1:19:51).

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David (he/him):

This restorative justice life is a production of amplify RJ follow us on all social media platforms at amplify RJ or sign up for our email list to stay up to date on everything we have going on. And to get the most involved join our free mighty networks community to get connected with others living this restorative justice life all over the world. As far as this podcast goes, make sure you subscribe, leave a rating and review and share with a friend to help us further amplify this work. Enjoy the episode. Welcome to this restorative justice life, the podcast that explores how the philosophy practices and values of restorative justice apply to our everyday lives. I'm your host, David Ryan Barcega, Castro Harris, all five names for the ancestors. And I'm the founder of amplify RJ on this podcast, I talk with RJ practitioners, circle keepers, and others doing this work about how this way of being has impacted their lives. Mia. Welcome to this restorative justice life. Who are you?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Hi, David, thank you so much for having me. Who am I? I am someone who's trying to find out more about who I am every single day. That's definitely one answer to it,

David (he/him):

Who are you?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

I am somebody who's done a ton of work in TJ transformative justice work. So over the last two decades, which has been really such it's been an honor, but it's also you know, it's it's hard work. And it was at a time before TJ kind of got more trendy or visible. So I've been doing it for a little bit now.

David (he/him):

Who are you?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

I love this series of questions. That's great. I am also a queer disabled woman of color Korean adoptee who grew up outside of the US mainland in the Caribbean. And so that definitely has shaped a lot of who I am in a very rural and small place. So I had carry that with me wherever I go.

David (he/him):

Who are you?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

I'm also somebody who's done a ton of work in disability justice as well and really helped to forward that framework and help to create and forward it along with other folks as well who are also doing the same. And, again, did that at a time where disability justice wasn't even a term that people used and where disability and ableism and able to premacy were not readily talked about. And so it's exciting now to see so many more people practicing disability justice, but also like, saying the word disability is talking about ableism in you know, at movement conferences or what have you. So that's been exciting. And especially as a disabled person myself, who comes from multiple oppressed identities. Disability Justice DJ, not like, not like a record. Like DJ Disability Justice has really felt like a breath of fresh air, you know, giving you life.

David (he/him):

Who are you?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

I'm also somebody who is extremely passionate about, about compost and soil, which is why I named my group soil, which I'm sure I'll tell you about later. And in particular, like, I think, really passionate about, I'm a worm farmer. I do a lot of vermicomposting in particular. And yeah, I just I think that there. I think we, everything we do, no matter who you are, at this moment, and at this historical moment should incorporate like every part of our lives in some way, shape or form, hopefully should incorporate taking care of the planet and taking care of the land that we're on and, and ideally our own. It's not about us, but if that's what helps you taking care of our own survival so that we can actually like survive on the planet and not get extinguished out. So that's definitely part of who I am to. I think I think one thing people should also know about me is I, I really love to laugh, and I know that I'm in I'm in serious work all the time. People ask me very serious questions, but like, I really like, I like to laugh. I like to make jokes and I would I hate to burst people's bubble, but like 75% of things I say are jokes and sometimes they get taken seriously and I'm like, Oh no, that was okay. Hey, sure we're going with, we'll go right with that. So I, I've been like tapping more into that part, or like embracing it more, I guess it's a better way to say it and being like, we don't have to always be so serious all the time, everybody. I mean, there is a place in a time and I love being serious, too. But like, I also, I like silliness. And I feel like we don't I feel like silliness is kind of, it's very, like, I don't know, people talk, what am I trying to say? It's not valued enough. And it's like kind of underrated. It's actually a really important part of our lives.

David (he/him):

Who are you?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

I guess, maybe what I'll say to the last one is, I definitely feel like I'm somebody who knows that. Who knows, like, I'm a bridge. And that was, I think, like the part of multiple oppressed identities, you are naturally a bridge between communities. But then also, I think, with the work that I do, like trying to bridge us to another world, or be like, a brick in that larger bridge that so many of us as revolutionaries, and you know, freedom fighters and organizers, and activists are trying to do. Yeah, I feel like oftentimes, in my work, I'm holding space that in between space for like, what could be possible if we can all do our own work, and also do our work collectively together at the same time. So I feel like I feel like being a bridge has felt like what most of my life was, and is.

David (he/him):

Thank you so much. We'll be bringing the silly we'll be bringing the serious and all the intersections of everything that we just talked about right after this.

Elyse (she/her):

Hey, folks, I'm Elyse, your producer, and today we are welcoming Mia Mingus to the podcast. Mia is a writer, educator and trainer for transformative justice and disability justice. She is a queer, disabled, Korean transformational and transnational adoptee raised in the Caribbean. She works for community, interdependence, and home for all of us, not just some of us. I'm so excited to get right back into this episode. But before I do, I encourage you to check out our show notes below or we are hosting our mighty networks platform and where you sign up, and you can join and support the podcast by joining our discussion group where I'll be posting discussion questions, and we have a podcast discussion group every month. So make sure to sign up for this restorative justice life podcast discussion group with our mighty networks. Without further ado, let's get back into the episode.

David (he/him):

Mia again, welcome back to this restorative justice life. I'm very, very excited to have you here. We're going to get into so many of the things that you talked about in just a moment, but it's always good to start with a check in so to the full extent that you want to answer the question right now loaded as it may be, how are you?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Thanks. I think, David, I'm doing good. I'm doing so I feel like I am a mixture of like this duality in the moment where I'm at once both, like really excited and hopeful. A lot of the work that's going on is exciting. And and also just like I I live with a wonderful person, my partner like I am indeed, I'm obsessed and in love with my my dog who's basically still a puppy. But then also, I feel like the other side of that duality is that this week, these last couple of weeks have been especially hard for us in this country in particular. And so I think also, like being in that last three years have been hard. And so just, I think like being in that duality being in that contradiction. That is how I'm doing so I guess that kind of magnificence. You know, like both the grit and the like, beautiful. Yeah, the beautiful struggle, right?

David (he/him):

I deeply resonate with that. And, you know, in that duality, right, like one can definitely be overwhelming. And this week for me, it's definitely the weight. Well, one the weight of just like I'm a tired new parent all the time, right? So two months is where we're at, but also the all the shit that's happened over the last three weeks, just in general experiencing violence on levels that like humans weren't meant to see on a constant basis, but also like me internalizing that as like the caretaker of a new little being and like what does it mean for a The world that we're building, but like also, yes, we don't do this work in response to the things that just happened this week, we've been doing this work for a long time, you've been doing this work for longer than I have, you know, better part of the last two decades. And so, you know, the entryway to this conversation in on most of the podcasts on this quote, unquote restorative justice, life is often you know, you've been doing this work before you probably even knew the word restorative justice. That's definitely true for you. And I imagine it's also true when it comes to the words disability and transformative justice. So in the grand scope of your life, how did doing this justice movement revolutionary work get started for you?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

This is a so this is a great question. And so my answer to this question usually is that I was kind of, I mean, literally adopted into it. I'm an adoptee from Korea. And so I was I was adopted as a baby. And I was adopted to the island of St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands in the Caribbean. And the family that I was adopted into, the year I was adopted. My mom along with nine other women, it they were, it was a multiracial group of women. So my adoptive mother's white and so there was white women, there was also women of color or part of it, or I guess, now we would say bipoc women started an organization, a direct service organization to help victims of domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, etc, etc. And so I grew up in this work, I, my childhood is like, Take Back the Night marches and making, you know, purple ribbons and turquoise ribbons, like every time like, you know, I always joke, it's like, their own little sweatshop like all of us, though, all of us kids who kind of like grew up, you know, who are children of a movement, like, or especially who are children of that particular movement on the island around that organization. We, we all were like, you know, spend our Saturdays with our moms in meetings, and we just play in like a random office room while they're meeting. So I was it was definitely like a part of what I grew up in. And we would have conversations about like racism and white supremacy at the dinner table. Like, I grew up in a very distinct kind of way that I think a lot of ribbons people probably didn't, I was very lucky that I got to see, in particular women organizing for themselves when no one else would, because the island didn't have anything to deal with domestic and sexual violence. And so basically, they had a symposium. And at that symposium, that was the people who would been come down to speak were Audre Lorde, although she lived on the island, so I don't think she traveled there, aren't you Lorde, Adrienne Rich, Tony Cade Bambara, and Michelle, I cannot remember the last name of the last person, it'll probably come to me that they were there speaking. And then by the end of that symposium, they were passing on a piece of paper to people in the room saying, If would you be interested in you know, getting together to think about doing something to be able to address domestic violence, domestic and sexual violence on the island. And then because the island is so small, it just the organization, the women's coalition of St. Croix, which still exists now, they kind of became a catch all for families in crisis, and in a way, and now they've grown to this large organization. So that was like the beginning. And then, from there, it just, I kept learning new things. And by the time I got to the States, I went to college in the states and then you know, studying, I would I would be like, my Women's Studies classes and like, they'd be, you know, we'd be like, I didn't know who Audrey Lorde was, I grew up with her. I didn't know who she was. And so we'd be like reading Audre Lorde's pieces, and I'd be like, oh my goodness, like that was the first time I ever really like I had, you know, like I knew about it, but I didn't realize like who she was in. In the world. I was like, that's that's just who I go over to her house and be like play in the yard like I didn't really know. And like, but it was when I was in I went to college in Atlanta. And it was there that I got connected with transformative justice work and really started to understand, you know, the work that I was grew up with was direct service work. And that is really important work. Absolutely. But I knew that, and I didn't have the language for it like so for example, David, like when we were younger, I remember family families, I remember one in particular stayed with us on our house, so that they could leave in the middle of the night to be able to fly off the island to escape domestic to escape their abuser, their domestic in terms of domestic violence. And, and I knew even at that young age, it was a mom and her two kids. And we were friends with them, we knew them. I didn't have the language for it, but I knew that I didn't, that I wanted to be part of making the violence stop, and not just kind of not just responding to it in a way that's like, you know, I knew that that guy was still going to abuse people. You know, like, of course, this, they were able to escape, like, you know, the mom and her two kids, but it wasn't necessarily going to stop him from abusing, the dad. And so when I found TJ, when I when I moved to Atlanta, and started working in an organization here. That was really the first time that I was like, Oh, this is something this is a way that we can actually not just keep, just keep responding and responding, responding. But this is a way that we can actually begin to break generational cycles of violence and harm,

David (he/him):

Right, changing the conditions under which harm occurs, which is some people's definition of TJ, you've talked about that you've been doing this work for the better part of the last two decades. And, you know, restorative justice, the words has its roots, you know, as identified in English as far back as the 1800s. But really thinking about the work of Howard Zehr, and others in the late late 80s 70s 80s 90s. TJ is a 90s thing that that's where the word like originated, to the best of my knowledge.

Mia Mingus (she/her):

So one way that I've been talking about it lately is transformative justice is a generative methodology for addressing harm and violence in ways that support survivors healing, harmers accountability, and community health and well being without relying on existing punishment systems. So what that all means that jumble of words is that we're talking about, we're talking about our response, an approach to violence and harm, that is generative, not destructive. That actually helps to in my mind, the most important part is I mean, obviously, that doesn't rely on the state and the you know, whether we're talking about prisons, police, the criminal legal system, ICE, Border Patrol, the foster care system, etc, etc. It doesn't rely on the state, obviously. But I think the most important part of TJ is that it actively cultivates and that's the generative part that it actively cultivates the very things that we know how to prevent violence and abuse and harm. So things like connection, things like accountability, healing, safety, etc, etc, etc. So all of that is what how I think about transformative justice. And, and I want to be clear, too, I think an important part of understanding TJ is not just that it doesn't rely on existing state systems, but it also doesn't rely on or replicate systemic violence and oppression in particular, so not vigilantism. Not, you know, in for reinforcing harmful gender norms or something like that. So in that way, when we're not when we talk about TJ for, for this podcast, we're talking about that both sand, right, we're talking about pushing back and resisting against the world that we don't want, while we actively build the world that we do want. And of course, embedded in that is, you know, that was on my healing for survivors, accountability for folks who have caused harm, and any other kind of like, health and well being or accountability or healing that might be needed for the community inside of which this took place, especially the immediate community, right. So like bystanders, like a family, the organization, the congregation, right, that might exist inside of the broader community. So that's, that's what TJ means. And maybe the one of the best core concepts of TJ is that we're talking about responding to violence in a way that meets the immediate needs of that form of violence, but also, that that simultaneously also gets us closer to the world that we actually want and desire and longing for. Yeah, yeah. And this is you know, May 2022. Understanding we as people, but I imagine like the way that you conceptualize transformative justice 20 years ago, it was not that. But this is where we are that definition, the understanding continues to grow. And so with the, for the purposes of this conversation, that's where we're playing. I really appreciate that framing because it's inclusive of so many things. And I think a risk in doing it in labels is that people just like, label it as these are the things and this is what it is. And anything that is not within the lines of this definition, is not what we're doing. Like that's something else. And I understand that like words need to mean things for people to like, understand on like foundational levels, but in so many ways, when I think about restorative justice, right? Sure. It's about asking questions that are not punitive when you're encountering harm. But thinking back about the indigenous roots of RJ, thinking about being in right relationship being interconnected with community, it is inclusive of so many of the things that you're talking about. And so like, while there are definitions and distinctions between like restorative and transformative approaches, especially when you're thinking about restorative justice programmatically, which is a whole nother problem in and of itself. This is the framing that we're working with. So thank you so much. The one thing that so the one thing I was gonna say that I think is really important, which I kind of said, but I think maybe a different way to say it might hit or land better, is, um, we're talking about, basically, we're talking about TJ, how do we respond to violence in a way that shifts and transforms the conditions that allowed for that violence to take place, or to happen in the first place, basically. And so in that, right, we're not just replicating kind of the traditional direct service model stuff, where it's like, you just respond to the incident of violence, but you don't actually tend to the conditions that created it, or the kind of traditional organizing activist movements that you know, social justice work, that's just like, only responding to conditions that that when an actual incidences of violence are not that we don't know what to do, right. So a big part of TJ and really, the essence of TJ is how do we respond to harm and violence in a way that shifts and transforms the conditions that created that violence or harm.

David (he/him):

Anything think, you know, the genesis of this framework of responding to harm really did originate within, you know, sexual violence, domestic assault, because of the relationships that were there where people aren't necessarily wanting to get rid of the people in their lives that are causing them harm, for one reason or another, right, because of the love that's there, the the benefit that that person is bringing the sense of security, that person is bringing in other ways and to rely on the state, you know, is harmful for everybody involved in you know, when you talk about your upbringing, doing DV work, all of that kind of like family direct, direct care, like, it totally makes sense. How have you, you acknowledge from the jump that this is not by any means easy, right? And a community accountability process doesn't always happen flawlessly, rarely happens. I don't think there's any like, way to frame it as like, flawlessly. But what was one of the first times or a really like, standout moment of a transformative justice process or account community accountability process that you witnessed that was really salient for you, of course, keeping confidentiality and keeping people's identities as out of it as much as?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Yes. You know, there have been many. And I think it's like, there's the both end of lesson, I'm just gonna say that before, just so everybody knows, like, solid to a stable there, because that's the world of TJ, but I think also this whole band of like, interventions or any kind of response, TJ response is incredibly hard, you know? Absolutely. And both and if there's also a lot of really beautiful parts of it to me, like, yes, it's hard and there's good things that happen inside of them. So I think, you know, one of the one of the ones that I can talk about is that, that I can talk about without, like, breaking confidentiality or risking my own safety. It's one that happened a while back that, you know, one of the wins, I think, Okay, let me back it up. And say that for a lot of these processes, because they are so hard, and because we don't have the conditions or the soil, if you will, that we don't have really rich and fertile soil that we're working, we're working in toxic conditions, we, we have to stop planting plants and toxic soil essentially, like the conditions that we are living in, are incredibly violent, they're incredibly toxic. They're incredibly traumatic. And so what "success", looks like in TJ, and I would argue that probably an RJ two is very different than I think most people think or understand. I think most people when they hear about transformative justice, they're like, oh, my gosh, that sounds amazing. And so we'll have a community accountability process, and everybody will be accountable, everyone will be healed, and everything will be great. And it's like, no friend, or, you know, maybe in .01% of cases right now, we could have that, you know, or what, 2% Maybe I'm being too harsh, maybe like 2%. But most of the time, where we're trying to deal with harm and violence inside of harm and violence, if that, if that makes sense to people inside of and what I mean by that is that we're trying to deal with, you know, harm and violence inside of like rape culture, for example, inside of it really intense misogyny, attacks, white supremacy, really intense, trans and homophobia, you know, like, there's just so much or just just insular kind of conditions or fear and isolation or greed or, you know, punishment, all of that. So, having said that, a lot of the things that I might share that feel really successful or wonderful. And I hope that listeners understand that I'm going to tell you from a different perspective than maybe most people are. So what I always what I always say is, but like I like in our TJ oftentimes to like the desert, that I think a lot of people want these, like really rich, luscious, forest lands, you know, where like, everything's growing and beautiful and wonderful. And like, really where we're at right now is we are still very much in a desert. And the desert is not a bad place to the people that live there. And the animals and beings that live there. They know how to survive. They know how to get water, they know how to, you know, wait in between the rains, yes, the downpours are wonderful, but they're few and far between. And so you have to adjust your perspective, you have to adjust your expectations. So having said that, I'm one of the ones that I think, are actually anytime this has happened. One of the successes definitely has been whenever, like bystanders, or any of the support people in the intervention, right? Or people in maybe even people who are bystanders to the harm, and they're not involved in the intervention, but they were involved and directly impacted by the harm or the violence that happened whenever they start taking it upon themselves to heal or repair their ruptured relationship. And let me just tell you, David, in every community, there's beef, and there's, you know, there's baggage. And so it's not even just that you're dealing with the one incident that happened or sometimes multiple incidences, but then it's also happening inside of that very complex web of relationships. And in terms of who can help and who's going to be part of this, who was part of what happened, all of that. So anytime that they take it upon themselves to work on their relationship, to try to build, to try to practice repair, build a stronger relationship for the sake of being able to, you know, not only just hold this intervention, but for the sake of being able to have a healthier community, being able to have a more thoughtful and connected community, a kinder community all of those things, those are big successes anytime we have. I mean, honestly, anytime a survivor comes to me and wants a community accountability process, I think that's a win. Like that they're not going to the state, you know what I mean? Like, I think that's a win and that, that we have survivors who, you know, I've had so many survivors come to me who, if anybody ever heard their stories, anybody would be like you have, you are totally in the right, to take that person to court and go, you know, like, lock them away forever, and that we have survivors who are saying, No, I don't want that, even though I have been through this thing, that's terrible. I don't want to cause more harm, I don't want them to, you know, have more harm happen to them or have more violence happens to them. I think that's a huge one too. I can tell you that, like, you know, I remember being a part of a response. And just as a side note, in the beginning, we didn't have like TJ trainings and like, all of the resources and readings out there that are exist now. Like, we were just, I knew I can't curse on this podcast, probably Louis, just Can I were just pushed into the deep end of the pool. And, you know, had to learn how to swim by ourselves and help other people learn how to swim at the same time. So so like, some of the earlier things that I was a part of, we were just, you know, like, like, we wake up in the night, you have to go to the bathroom, and you just like, where is the bed? Where's the door? Like, you're just kind of like feeling around in the dark, trying to get butts in the bathroom? Like, that's why I feel like we it was like, trying to figure out like, what is it that we're doing and I consider myself a 1.5 generation in this meaning that I'm not the OG Oh, geez. But I was those people that trained me. And I'm kind of again, like that bridge between the Oh geez. And like the newer generation. Now, that is really exciting. I'm seeing so many folks, and not now but like, you know, the last five years or last six, seven years. But honestly, if you don't, let me just say, I'll just share this, like, there have been also farmers who have reached out to me to work because they want to work on their accountability. And, you know, sometimes that's because nobody will work with them anymore. Because they were so not great to people, or when they were in processes, they didn't cooperate. They weren't in a place yet where they could do that. Or because of that they learned like, right, like, I don't want to do that anymore. And will you help me work with me. And so I actually feel like those have been some of also some of the biggest, like, success stories. And I and I feel like it breaks the myth that so many people have about harmers or people that have caused harm that, you know, they only are just concerned about getting away with what they've done, or they don't want to take accountability, you have to force them to that has not been Yes, I do believe that there's people like that for sure. And I think that there's a lot more people than we think, who actually do want to be better and do better. They actually do want to account for what they've done. But they don't know how or they don't have support, or they're terrified of it. Because we don't live in a society that encourages people to come forward about their mistakes or about when they've hurt people. Sorry, this is a very long answer to that to what you asked.

David (he/him):

Well, yeah, I I appreciate it. And they're like lots of things that I wanted to interject on. But you know, I think like to this last point that you said, like that people even ask for these processes, is a win in and of themselves and like the execution of these processes. You measure "success" differently based off of the conditions that exist, right. But to your point about people being people who cause harm, being terrified of what happens. That is that is so very real. Because it's not just like terrified. They've just been conditioned to like deny, deny, deny, right, like, innocent until proven guilty, if I'm going to admit to the harm that and how is this going to come back and have repercussions on me in a legal sense in the context of my community. And because our soil is infertile, alright, desert soil, doesn't it? Like it's not easy for like these practices to take roots? It's a really terrifying thing for people. I think a lot of the times when I talk about restorative justice, it's yes about like that response to harm. But, you know, we have this framing of quote, unquote, restorative practices of building and maintaining relationships rooted in equity and trust, to start with. And so like, when there is harm that happens within the context of those relationships, it is easier for us to repair right we know the values that we have within our community to do that we know the people who we are accountable to, and those people know how to call us in like, or call us out even right, like, hey, just, I see what you're doing. Stop, right. And like, these are the repair steps. Having those explicit conversations, right, having those explicit people in your life is really similar framing to framework that you've talked about pods and pod mapping, which in other interviews or writings that I've heard you say, like, oh, it's like this sci-fi futuristic way of talking about like, these really, really nitty gritty things that one proactively help us navigate relationships in, in a good way. You talked a lot about this during the pandemic, the early stages of the pandemic, about how we respond to each other's needs, not just like, to acute incidents of harm and violence. But I'm curious if you could share just a little bit about that framework, not like the whole training, but you know, high level, yeah.

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Yeah, I can absolutely share about it. And, you know, it's so funny, because it hides is that once like, so intuitive, but also, like, it's so organic, you know, and intuitive that sometimes it's like, it's like explaining it, I'm sometimes I'm like, it's just the simplest thing ever, but that is also not because of the world that we live in, and the society that we currently live in. So pods, your pot are basically the people that you will call on if you are experiencing harm or violence, right. And so that is both like, if you were experiencing the harm of violence, so as a survivor, or as the person most directly impacted, or directly impacted. Also, if you are somebody who did the harm, or maybe might do the harm, as well as if you witnessed the harm, so you can have as many pods as you want to pods is really about it is a specific kind of relationship inside of transformative justice work. And it your pod people, again, that's the science fiction, part of it, your pod people are basically who you would turn to if something happened, and you might have different people in different pods. So the pod that you might have for if you experienced harm or violence, and it was directed at you, like if you weren't a survivor, they might be different people than who you might call on if, if I did some harm to somebody, or if I caught if I was violent with somebody, and that's okay. Like, you don't, you don't need to have the same people in every pot. But what I would say, though, is that you should, I would encourage everybody listening to have at least a local pod, meaning people who are in your neighborhood, your city, who can get to you quickly. And I think we all learn this with the pandemic, in terms of that crisis, that that three year crisis, but definitely that first year in particular, that it really mattered who was living close to you, I would so I would recommend, of course, we all have people who live far away from us, and those people can absolutely be part of our pods. But definitely try to have a local pod, even if it's just one or two people. And then also to have an accountability pod, that everybody should have people or at least one person that they can turn to in their life to talk to about and say like, you know, I this is harm that I did, or this is harm I might do, right? The example I use all the time as if you used to be controlling in your last two relationships, and you know that you took some time out from dating and you want to to work on yourself, you've worked with your pod around it, and maybe you've also had therapists I don't know whatever else, healing modalities or work that you've done. And maybe you've met somebody that you think is cute and you want to try to ask them out or whatever, and maybe you go to that time we go to your accountability partner and say, Hey, I'm, I'm worried that some of these patterns might show up again, will you support me in that, right, so it doesn't have to only be harmed, that's already happened. So I would recommend that people have at least those two, just for your own, like crisis/emergency, you know, safety, and immediate safety, but also, so that you can start to build that long term accountability work in and I should say, also pod work is it takes a lot of time. It's not like overnight immediate work, that's going to happen. So start now, and I know this is kind of meta. But I really encourage people to have like a pod-building pod, if that makes sense, like people that you check in with, that you're all building your pods, so that you can check in once a quarter, maybe twice a year, whatever works for you. Because again, this is long term work, to see to say, like, David, how's it going, building your pod, right, and I can share how it's going building my part, I can be like, David, I haven't done any work to build my pod over the past six months, I really got to, you know, put some time into that. Right. Like, I think that that's really key because pod work is it's a marathon, and you need support for that. And it's hard to do on your own. The other thing I'll say about pods is that this is a framework for transformative justice work, because if we're not going to rely on the state, right, if we're not going to rely on prisons, and police, the criminal legal system, then that means it's us. That means that it's us who will have to deal with things at all the different forms of harm, child abuse, murder, you know, intimate partner violence, etc, etc, that, like, we're gonna have to figure out a way that we deal with these things. And so given that, we need people to help us do that. So your pod people, ideally, would be the people that ideally would help you to prevent violence or harm from toppling, obviously, but that also, if something happened, those are the people you can call in, to help you respond, right? Because David, the goal is not for everybody to call Mia or for every call, you know, like the eight, you know, kind of more visible TJ people in in the world like that are in the country. That's not what we're, we're not trying to replicate direct service models at all, what we're trying to do is build capacity into people's everyday lives. So if you start now, building your pod, that means that if something happens in two years, let's say, right, that, let's say that I'm called to accountability, right, in two years, that hopefully that means that I have some hot people that I can turn to and say, Hey, this thing happened. You know, can I get some support around that. And remember, we talked about accountability. Your pod, pods are there to support you to take accountability. Holding yourself accountable is your job. It's nobody else's job to hold you accountable. We want to move from holding people accountable to supporting people to take accountability. Because, again, we don't want it to be that if I do something that's harmful, that I'm just sitting around classes, my fingers like, hoping nobody finds out, right? We want to build strong moral compasses so that if I do something that harms somebody, ideally, I would or if I harm you, David, right? Ideally, I would proactively without you having to come to me and say you did so you know, I'm, and then obviously, sometimes, sometimes that might have to happen, like that's we we live in an interdependent world, you know, I may not be able to, to recognize everything. But ideally, I would be able to proactively come to you and say, I'm really sorry about that thing, right? Like, what can I do to make it better or, or even Hey, David, like, can we check in about what happened? Like, you know, how was that for you? I've made I don't know if that made you uncomfortable, or I don't know if that hurt you or maybe was harmful what I said or what I did. So that is what like the work that happens in the accountability pod in your accountability pod, hopefully is work to help to support you to take accountability, which could be any type of work that includes anything from like, supporting you to to apologize, learn how to apologize better or even practicing apologizing, like maybe if I, if I did something that harmed you gave it I would go to my pod and say, oh shit, you know, I really messed up and I want to apologize to David. You know, I'm, I'm such a good friend like he's such a good friend to me and I and I'm so I feel so terrible, but I'm nervous can I practice? Here's my apology, can I practice it with you all, you know, so that when I'm in front of David, like, I can actually say it, or get some feedback right around like, you know, hey, this apology seems more about you than it does about David, you know, whatever. So it could be about that kind of work. But it could also be work to just like, build a culture of accountability, right. And like, where you have people that you can come to, to share about mistakes you've done, talk about things you're ashamed of, or embarrassed about, talk about your feelings about things, all of that kind of talk about your own personal work, right, like to change your behavior, all of that can be part of what you do with your accountability pod.

David (he/him):

One, like, the things that you're talking about are actually like very simple conceptually, but very, very hard to do. And so it takes a tremendous amount of courage, one, even to initiate the conversation of like, Hey, do you want to be this person in relationship with me, because the person gets to say, no, if they don't want to be, right, and that kind of rejection is, is really hard. And so I don't want to dismiss or belittle the bravery, the courage that it takes to put yourself out there to invite someone into that kind of relationship with you. That's not something that I have generated outside of "best friends" and my immediate family, right? And there are benefits and risks to having those people be your pod people, because of like the interlocking of, you know, complications that come in to all of that, which again, like me, has got lots of resources out there to like, help you all think through some of these things as well. But the thing that I really wanted to like zero in on is like, you know, you're only accountable to yourself, only you can hold yourself accountable. And in today's world. And we can take that to mean very many things. But I think like in global capitalist, or late stage global capitalism, and like an incredibly online world, where we see so many things where people cause harm, or people do things that offend us. And I hate to bring up like the words "cancel culture" right, but like, trying, like public attempts at accountability, and doing this work at scale, like, rarely, if ever manifest in anything restorative or transformative, it is just like replicating, like systems of harm. And to your point about like, I'm not like, like, we're not trying to, like direct everybody to Miriam Kaaba or Mia Mingus to, like, solve all of our problems, like, how do we scale up this ability to, like, understand these frameworks, and then like, practice, in our own lives before we even like, start to call people out publicly because like that, I don't know if you can think of a time where like public and public community accountability process like happened, like, quote, unquote, successfully? But like, it's very rare. It just looks like punishment a lot of the time.

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Yeah, no, I, I cannot think of one that is, because the thing about it is, is that when you call somebody out publicly, when you're using shame, as right, as your tool of choice, or whatever, right, like, usually what that does is, it just means that people learn how to hide the harm, they're doing better. Or they maybe you can get an apology out of them, but it doesn't necessarily change their behavior. This is also is also complicated, because, like, I understand that we live in a culture and a society where there's different levels of power and status. And sometimes calling somebody out is the only, you know, is the form of power that that somebody might have right against like a very, you know, I'm thinking about celebrities or something like that. But I also think, though, that part of what the ideal of what we want to be able to do is we ideally we want people to be able to take accountability for themselves. And in order to do that to your question. In our everyday lives. There's so much work we have to do there's there's so much soil we have to build because we are living in cracked barren earth. Like that's where we are and some people like for people listening to this who are like, I live in an amazing community and have so many TJ minded people, that's wonderful. And I say that with all sincerity that is wonderful for you, I'm so happy for you. That's what we're trying to get to. But I would argue that most overwhelmingly, the most majority people do not live in those communities. And many people are really isolated. I mean, David, even when, you know, as, as in the past, like, what, eight, nine years since I wrote that pods thing. And that concept was put out. One of the things that I really learned so deeply is, and I travel before the pandemic, I I've traveled all over North America, and and spoke and met people in different communities. One of the things that struck me so intensely and mentally for this is like the past like 15 years is that people are so lonely. People don't have strong relationships. Like most people, I would argue most people that I've met really don't have a best friend, like a real genuine best friend, you know, that they can actually be their whole complete, silly, messed up flawed self with. A lot of people don't have somebody or they might have just one person in their life. And that's it. So I think part of what we have to do part of that soil, it looks like supporting each other around our own accountability and building a culture of accountability wherever we are in all of our relationships, right? So in your friendships, or if you have partners, or lovers, or what have you. You can ask from time to time, this is something I've learned from my current, my current partner that I've had for 12, almost 12 years now is I remember when I we first started dating, she would ask like, maybe it wasn't like formal, it was just like, informally, but it was going to like twice a year. At some point. She just be like, you know, and it was weird. I was like, while we were getting ready for bed, or like eating dinner together. Like it wasn't, it wasn't like, now we will have a serious conversation. It was just like, hey, you know, how you feeling about everything? Is there any things that I'm doing that you wish I did differently? Are you happy? Are there any things that you know that you want to any feedback, you were to give me an I had never experienced that with a partner before? That's how I knew she was a good partner. It's that I should say, no. But like, and then I started doing that it to hurt to like so then we would both ask it. And again, it wasn't like formal, it was just like checking in. And I started doing on my friendships. And I started doing that in my relationships, all kinds of things. But like, even small things like that, how do we build in that culture and all of that small work, right, doing our own healing, investing in our own work, to heal our own individual trauma, and then obviously, engaging in collective healing work together, which I think is one thing that RJ definitely got, like so practice, definitely, that's one thing that one of its powers. But I also feel like, David, there's so much. So there's so much more, right? There's like figuring out what your values are. There's, you know, trying to do less so that you're not running around constantly like a chicken with its head cut off so that you have the time to practice your, you know, I know self care has become a buzzword, but like for lack of a better term, like your self care your own time for yourself, your own time with your kids, your whatever it is, because when we get rushed, and what capitalism is realizing the breaking of relationships, and so when we're rushed and stressed and never having enough time, all of that is how, like all of those things help to support unaccountability, just that at large, right. So I would say that, obviously building pods. But I also think that a big part of this is building a new paradigm. And so what I always encourage people to do is invite your pod people, if there's a TJ training coming up, invite your pod people to it, so that they can start to build the skills and the knowledge to so it's not just you by yourself, and then you can talk about it or read an article together, watch a video together. On accountability even. Yeah, there's so many things that people can do and because we want to get to the place where we can have these hard conversations and where people don't confuse feeling unsafe with being uncomfortable, right, because remember, you have to be uncomfortable if you want to grow though, if you don't care about growing, then you can stay the same forever. But comfort and transformation do not live on the same block. So we got to be uncomfortable. And we can't then say, well, now you're making me feel unsafe. And so now now you need to be accountable to me like that, we got to get past that. And a lot of that is embedded in our own trauma. Granted, of course, some of that is generational trauma, but a lot of is that our is our own individual trauma that we haven't necessarily done our work around. And when I say work, I'm saying it can be everything from like more formalized healing, like therapy, bodywork, acupuncture, you know, whatever modality works for you, all the way to the other side of the spectrum, which is like being connected to some form of spirituality, meaning something larger than yourself, not organ, it could be organized religion, but it doesn't have to be. It could be things like spending time in nature, it can be things like creativity and artwork, like all of that, I mean, the whole spectrum. So I'm not here saying that, like everybody has to be in therapy, or everybody has to be doing the same thing. What I'm saying, though, is that everybody should take investing in their own healing seriously, and know what that looks like in their life.

David (he/him):

As you know, amplify RJ is trying to do very similar things, right? Like, you people just need to know that like, restorative justice isn't what caused the like the Parkland shooting, right? Soft on discipline, whatever, like, people just need to know like, definitions of these frameworks. And so they understand like, you know, what can't what we mean when we say accountability, what it takes to hold yourself accountable, what it takes to establish those relationships, have those explicit conversations around values. And in the world that we live in, that is so fast paced that disincentivizes us from that slowing down from that healing work from that "self care", right, both the both the self soothing, when, like there is, things that are activating us, and like the proactive things that we're doing to like, keep ourselves like in "balance" or like on a journey towards healing. It's really tough to do that. And without people like yourself, in communities across the world, people who really know this work and like, are deep practitioners, not to like, put you on a pedestal or like, give you a little shout, but like people who are like very experienced in doing this, like, it's really hard for this to like, proliferate, I know, some of the work that you are trying to do with soil is in order to like continue to build people's capacity. What are the things that you're doing within the context of soil? And what are some of the other ways that you are encouraged by like the growth of this, I'll call it a movement of transformative justice, but in like the lowercase m, sense of the word.

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Let me just preface this by saying I was kind of taken out of the world for a year last year, I mean, by some medical Body Issue, stuff that happened, I still worked because unfortunately, we live in a society where you gotta, you can't just heal, you have to keep working. Oh, capitalism. So I might also have missed some things. So I may not be at this moment in time, like the most upon everything that's happening. Um, so soil, though, one of the reasons I created soil was because to your previous question, I was like, We got to back it up. We got to like, you know, I think when we talk about TJ, everybody immediately thinks of like, the most egregious forms of violence, the worst forms of violence, and I'm like, Y'all, we can't even handle conflict and misunderstandings. Well, like we we can't even handle hurt feelings. Well, we got a long way to go. We like yes, of course, we want to be able to respond to like rape and sexual assault. Yeah, absolutely. And there are definitely those of us who are doing that work for sure. But also, we can't respond to those well if we're doing that inside of a context that is completely toxic or completely unprepared for any of that. Like just like you're saying, like, people when I talk about needing to understand a paradigm Yes, it's everything you're saying. Like it's people need to understand what what the hell are we even doing but they're like, why are y'all keep kneading together? Like what is happening in there, you know, and so even and just understanding that what accountability is what TJ is what, what it is that the approach the the kind of like general approach that we're trying to take, or even just that there is a different way outside of punishment to respond to harm, like, I mean, from so many people, especially in this country, they've never even thought about that. Or like, we got to start figuring out a defining what Justice looks like between each other. Because if we don't even know what Justice looks like, between each other, how are we going to demand it? And if we're all doing justice work, just as base work then, but we don't know what justice is, then what are we doing? Right? Like we're demanding justice from these institutions and from these systems, but we can't even work out what Justice looks like between two people, three people, you know, inside of an organization inside of a coalition. So that's one soil was literally the metaphor of like, how do we build better soil? We have to stop planting plants and toxic soil, what would that look like? So because right now, and this is again, the desert, right, like we would, metaphorically we're planting TJ in barren soil with no water, no help from no fertilizer, nothing. And expecting it to perform and grow as if it was planted in like, super rich, fertile soil. So part of soils work is to literally our mission is just to build the conditions for transformative justice to be able to happen and and to happen effectively. But to even be able to happen at all, David like that, we're still there, the bar is very low. And so that includes right two pronged approach, which is like, basically, how do we saturate communities with just basic one on one level information, right, like, what is TJ? What is accountability? What is a pod? How do I how do you build it, all of that, like, because pot is basically like a community in formal infrastructure, right, which is what we're trying to build. And then the other branch of that of soils work is to go deeper with the people who do want to actually like lead interventions, or, you know, should be in the whole mediation processes, or what have you, or just be leaders and TJ organizing. So that's what soils work is what we are doing. And we do a lot of work around like trainings, for sure, we are strategic partners. But we also are building what I'm calling my cellular networks, which are basically just like formations of people who are communities, doing TJ practicing TJ in some way, shape, or form that are either like above ground or below. And then creating tools. And so soils work is really, in my mind, like filling up filling one of the many, many, many, many, many gaps and things that we have gaps that we have and things that we need in TJ work. And I, I mean, I feel really heartened and excited by TJ work right now, the field I think, is one the summer of 2020. Like, salt gave TJ so much visibility. And I can't even explain to you how much how many people reached out to me that I had no idea who they were, I had no, I had never heard of them before. But they were so excited about TJ because they never heard of it before. So I feel excited by that, like burst of life into it. I also feel nervous about the CO optation of TJ because anytime something gets visualized, people like to take it and corporatize it. But, you know, that's that's what everything. You know, I think some of the most exciting work that I see happening is work. That's not necessarily the it's like the Everyday Stories of people that are that are trying to do make something out of nothing and like are succeeding at that, you know, that are that are not they don't have a website. They don't have funding or anything, but they're like, we, we want to how do we build this more? And quite frankly, let me just say this to people listening, like, quite frankly, our movement culture is very toxic. And so a lot of the people, communities that I've been working with outside of movement culture, actually have to have more like assets for lack of a better word, you know, more fertile soil. There we go. And then folks who are inside the movement, not everybody inside the movement, but like, Come on people like we were workaholics. We live in an incestuous movement culture who we, you know, like, there's just so many things. Yeah, that are very toxic about the culture that, in many ways exists, you know, as a part of the conditions that surround our movements, which of course will show up. But I do, I think what's really exciting now is that, because there has been such visibility, and more people have learned about TJ, a lot more seeds are getting planted, and a lot more people are experimenting. You know, like, the 1 million experiments work or documentary work that Miriam's doing and like, you know, I think about even the creative work around like, folks try to figure out how to do TJ and different types of structures, like, you know, or at word like, if full TJ is not possible, can we infuse some TJ work into things to to lessen because TJ has built an abolitionist framework and a harm reduction thing came out of harm reduction as well. So can we lessen the harm? And, you know, when I think about organizations, you know, that are in our movements, I'm like, That is a site where we have to do more work. Because if we're going to say that organizations are going to be one of our main not the only but one of our main structures that we're going to use to build movements, then we're going to have to figure out how to deal with harm and abuse and violence that happens because there's time happening inside of them.

David (he/him):

Inside of movement spaces, harm happens all the time, people in "positions of power", right? Whether that is somebody who is the Executive Director, or, you know, just movement celebrity of the moment, whether they asked for that or not, right? People project values onto them, and when they don't live up to those values, or when the conversation in the genesis of the formation of these organizations like because they happen out of crisis. So many times, like, when those values and principles and agreements between people, like, aren't explicit, or people are just projecting, like, people who are working towards the same goals come into conflict, and like, then our movements splintered, because like we're not able to deal with like, the interpersonal beef that comes up, right, like, how do we, like I know, you're talking about, like, the need to build that capacity. But, you know, how do we navigate that?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Listen, it's so many things, and it's, and it's happening everywhere. I mean, that's the thing, right? Like, I think TJ is so critical to our work to get free both on a movement level, as well as just like a general community, like intrapersonal level, like, I think about TJ as like the foundation upon which our movement set like if we don't have a strong foundation, because let's let's also think about it this way, if we do when, right, and we do get to liberation, or we're able to start to build some of our own systems and structures or what have you, we're still going to need a way to deal with harm and violence and abuse, like that's not going anywhere we until we heal generational violence, it sorry, generational trauma, then we're still going to be dealing with a lot of a lot of this until we end things like colonization and you know, worn militarization and white supremacy and patriarchy, like capitalism, we're still going to have violence, harm and abuse. So, you know, I think it's easy to be like out in the streets or on Facebook or whatever Twitter and be like, nobody uses, maybe it's TikTok. Now, I don't know what the kids are using. But like, you know, it's easy to be like, no, please, no prisons, it's so much harder to build the actual kind of community infrastructure and the things that we're actually going to need. So, when you when I think about, like, how do we do that? It's, I think about what Gracie Boggs would talk about how we have to change ourselves in the world at the same time, like that's, that we have to, we have to do more than one thing at the same time. Like we need, you need to do your own work. We need to be doing work together. Like whether that's filled in collected that so many of you should have your own values, your own personal like, you know, work that you're doing on yourself need including building your pot, including your own healing work, as we've talked about, including having joy and resilience in your life, all of those things. You should we should be doing that collectively, right? We should have collective values. Anybody who's part of any group, whether it's a family organization, a partnership, you're in a poly whatever. Are you should add values together, you should if you're in a friendship, you should talk to your friend and say, what are our values for our friendship? Like, we should be doing these things collectively we should talk about, what are we going to do when when we have conflict anyway? I mean, you live in California, I used to live in California for 10 years, like, we practice fire drills and earthquake drills all the time. conflict happens much more commonly than a fire or an earthquake, but we never talked about what we're going to do if something happens, that should be one of the first things right, that should be these are competitions we should be having, what are we going to do if one of us bucks up? And how do we want to be accountable all of these conversations. And this also includes things like healing, the healing, justice, work, all of that. But I also think, David, like a big part of this is, we have to be doing this inside of our formations as well. Like, it's gotta be the people with the power, whether it's the ED, the Advisory Board, whatever they may be, right, setting the tone, and saying, like, this is how we're going to deal with conflict, or this is how we're going to be deal with accountability in our organization, or, or even like, you know, creating feedback and accountability loops, like all of that type of work is what we should be doing. But especially though, like, I mean, I can't stress our own individual work enough, because if we're on the same side, you don't have, okay, you don't have to like everybody you work with. First of all, I feel like there's this weird thing and movement culture, that's like, we all got to be besties or family. And like, we don't have to do that. But also, like, ideally, right? We should all be stepping up to be braver and practice more with courage. So if you hear somebody gossiping about somebody, say something, you know, like, and it doesn't have to be punishing, or shaming or blaming, but like, these are small interventions that we can make, if you if you if you know that somebody like, somebody hurts somebody else, right. And your friend is like venting to you about like, Oh, my God, I can't do that did this, whatever, whatever. You can, of course, hold space and support for that for that friend. And you can also say, you know, hey, I'm happy to hold space for you to bed. And both and, and hopefully you have a culture of accountability. So it's already understood. Or if not, you can be like, you know, I'm happy to do that. And, like at the end of this, I also want to talk about how you can approach that person to tell them what to tell them about this? Because I think it's both sides, right? It's like, how can you change if you never get feedback about what your problematic behavior that everybody is talking about? And, and I know that every single person, including both of us knows people like this where we all talk about them, right? Everybody knows that they do like problematic shit, but nobody says anything to them. And this is why a fundamental core concept of TJ is that we all are fundamental core understanding is that we have a collective responsibility for harm and violence and abuse. It doesn't mean that you had the same responsibility as the person who did the harm. But it means that you have some responsibility, just to say to intervene if you and we can understand this concept when we're talking about violence, right? Like, if you see somebody getting beat up, like, try to stop them not not to, you know, obviously, it's safe. But you know what I mean, like, but we don't really think about things in its beginning stages. So when that's a part of it, too, right? Like how do we intervene and harm at its beginning small stages, instead of waiting till it escalates into something completely, totally overwhelming and out of control? And just like spinning completely out of control? The shit hits the fan, right? How do we like before that happens? Because the thing about harm is that it doesn't happen in a vacuum. Harm and violence do not happen in a vacuum. They come out of conditions, they come out of smaller, the harms and forms of violence, they come out of right trauma, all of this. So usually we can wind back the clock and see how we got here. And nine times out of 10 It's because there were many, many, many, many, many smaller things that no one did anything about. Nobody said, Hey, that's not okay. Or like, hey, you know, I know that these are the values you can get you. And that's not how you're behaving right now, like, what's going on? Do you need some support? Let's talk about it, can I help you with anything, you know, like, I'm down to like, listen, or what's maybe there's other things going on in your life that I don't know about that are stressing you out or you feel unsupported or you or you don't have anybody in your life that you could talk to. So I think that's part of how we do it. But I also think another part of how we do it is, we have to think about formal like, in a more formal way, like we have to think about how can we support more people to be able to hold space? Like, ideally, it would be the people who would be holding space for like an intervention or a mediation or whatever, would ideally be the people who are part of that community. Obviously, sometimes there's sometimes it can be helpful to have somebody from outside come in, if it's, you know, depending on what's going on. But so I think part of this is also like, how do we all build our own skills as well, and like, so there's the work that you do on yourself, but then there's also active actual skills building. And David, one of the things that I one of the trainings I run is just a communication train of just like, how do you listen? How do you practice active listening, and accountable sharing? Like, how do you listen well, in a way that you don't disappear yourself? But how do you also share in a manner where you're not sucking all the air out of the room? So become a better that, you know, like, but that's how basic you have to start? Do you see I'm saying like, we don't even know that, well how to do that. Well, most people don't even know how to tell their friend that they hurt their feelings. Like, like, that's how low the bar is.

David (he/him):

Well, most people can't identify their own feelings.

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Right? We are on the same page. Yeah, you and I, so we gotta we got to do that work. And everybody needs to participate in it. It's like parenting. I know. You said you're a new parent. It's like parenting, right? You're you are parenting all the time. It's not like, oh, I parent from three to four. And then after, and then from, like, four on, I just do we do what I want. You are always parenting. And hopefully, we are always practicing responsibility and accountability with each other. So like, if I'm your friend, and you're doing something that's like, or you say something that's like not, it's not like causing immense harm, but maybe it's not, it's not cool to say that I'm like, Hey, David, like, that's not a cool thing. Like, you know, hey, we, if you want to talk about it, we can, or the that's it, right? And you're like, Oh, thank you so much. Yeah, right. And those, it's like, easy. It's not like a big thing we have to process.

David (he/him):

The people who are listening to this podcast are people who are probably like values aligned, right? And people like me, who values like, haven't necessarily taken those steps and all of those places in our lives, like what is the thing that you want to invite them to do? As soon as like this podcast is over, right? Like right now pause and like, go have this conversation with X person,

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Build your pod, that will be the that will be the thing I would want everybody to do. Like literally as soon as they're done listening to this podcast, is like, map your pod and or just even just start thinking about it. Think about who you might approach in your life or who you might need to build more relationship with, I would say that's number one, because you need support in this work, and pod people are like some of the best people. So I would say that is number one. The second thing is to write out your values and put them up somewhere where you will see them every single day, maybe on your Home Lock screen of your phone, I don't know, push yourself to practice them every day and share them with at least one person in your life. Those two things will be what I would say to do right away.

David (he/him):

There's an immense amount of work to do, right. And, you know, the concepts are simple. But like, these are the small steps. These are the things that will get us started on that journey towards whatever where do we want to say, right relationship, collective liberation, equity, justice, trust, and there's always this acknowledgement from me that we're dealing with systems of oppression and powers that will not go away in our lifetime. Right? But that doesn't absolve us of making the moves right now, to reduce harm in the spaces that we can and continue to build the world that, you know, I want for very specifically my kid, but you know, future generations to come. We're gonna do a shortened version of the questions that everybody answers when they come on this podcast. You've been in circles. You get to sit in circle with four people dead or alive. So who are they? What is the one question you asked about circle?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Really good. That's a great question. Um, well, yeah, this might be a little bit of a cop out. As an adoptee I think I would want to sit in circle with my mother, my grandmother, my bowls, and my grandmother's actually, because one of them in my story was not so good. And, and then this other lady that helped to raise that, that was like my in between person, but she spent like six months with me, when I was putting the time I was like, a week old to six months. So I think I would want all four of them. And I would want to ask them, Why in terms of the adoption, and like how they felt about it, I think I would want to, to kick it off with that, which I think would be a very lively and maybe, maybe dramatic conversation. But um, yeah, that's what I was.

David (he/him):

Here for. So. Perfect answer. Sometimes when people answer the question, it's like, Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Audre Lorde. And like, Nas, and like, they asked some, like, question about, you know, their approaches to the world. And then I flipped the question back on the guest, I can't do that. I can't, because you're not in the frame, where you can answer questions for them about, you know, why? What I'm gonna do that is asked like, what would you want to share with them?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

I mean, I'm going to share with them in the context of what we're talking about, I would want to share with them my experience, and just, you know, I think like, I think about my mom a lot, my adoptive mother, I'm sorry, my birth mother a lot in TJ work, because I think that for a lot of people, they think giving up a child is like, unforgivable and adoption is a form of harm, like it is a form of violence and so and trauma, like there's no adoptee I know, who doesn't have some kind of significant trauma because of it. And so yeah, like, I think about her all the time, because I don't have any bad feelings towards her. And I don't, I have so much compassion for her. And I feel like, in the work that I do, it's just so beautiful. So anyways, I want to share about my experience, and I want to share that, you know, my feelings towards each of them and like, how I think about them? Yeah, because, because we the thing about all of this is, in this whole conversation, and I'm sure you've talked about this a lot on the podcast, is that we all cause harm. And we are all capable of causing immense harm. And, and or being violent, like, like, we, I think sometimes we think about harmers as being these like other people, but we forget that, like, part of what we're talking about is that we want an accountable a world obviously, for your child, for sure. That's number one. For me, that's going to be forever, like, definitely, but like also for all of us like it, it behooves all of us to not practice punishment, because then because we will all have our time on the chopping block. So I think I would love to talk with them. Yeah, because I think my mom carries a lot of shame. I know she does. I know she does. And, you know, I would want her to know like, you don't have to carry that with you. Like I don't blame you. I have so much empathy and compassion for for you because I know it was a it. I know that you also suffered trauma from that decision to like, it wasn't just me, you know.

David (he/him):

Thank you. Thank you for sharing that. Thank you for going there in that framework that's a little bit different than what happened to you. You didn't know that. But it was different and it was beautiful. I love it. This one requires a little bit of homework for you. Who's one person that I should have on the podcast and the caveat is you have to help me get them on.

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Listen, actually, this is somebody who I bet you have not had who is one of my good friends. Her name is Tashmica Torokh, and she is one of the CO directors of the firecracker Foundation. And I will get her on but also I'm sure she would love to

David (he/him):

Beautiful, love it. And that is we will link up about that. And then finally in the most expansive or the most specific way, how can people support you and your work in the way that you want to be supported?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

and one of the best ways so people can go to the soil website. It's called soil a transformative justice project. You can just Google. Yeah. So one of the best ways is to what one, you could tell people about soil. But to sign up for our listserv, if our email listserv, which is very low volume, like I actually haven't even sent one email out yet. So if you sign up now you'll get our first one, which is exciting. And then you can also become like, if you want to donate money, that's great, you can also become a monthly donor. Um, yeah, I feel like those would be the main things that I would ask that feel really supportive. And also, like, if you want to share any of my work on, you know, do your networks, social media, or environment, word of mouth, or email or whatever, from my blog, or what have you, that feels really supportive, but, but honestly, I just want people I just want the work to be useful. So even if you do nothing, like just send me good vibes, that's going to.

David (he/him):

Beautiful. Um, definitely, all of those things are linked in the show notes, and definitely encourage people to share and engage and in all of those ways, are there any last words that you want to leave the people with?

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Um, I think the last words, I want to leave the people with this, that really, TJ is practice. It's Yes, it's this analysis, and it's tools, but if you don't practice them, it really means nothing. And that you're gonna be practice is not perfection, like, we're talking about practicing and you'll, you'll stumble, at first, maybe a lot. And that's okay. That's why having support is really important. So I would just leave people with, like, you know, if you're learning how to give a good apology, for example, practice it. Start small, don't start with like the biggest, most important policy you have to make in your life. Start with like, I'm sorry, make the bed or I'm sorry, you forgot,

David (he/him):

You know, sorry that I left the milk out. And now it's not good.

Mia Mingus (she/her):

Absolutely, yes, that would be a great example. Let's get started practice. And to remember that like, you know, you don't go to the gym and start bench pressing 500 pounds, immediately you start small. Small, you don't sit down at a piano and immediately play a sonata use, you learn chords, you're clunky, you'll have notes and rhythms and beats, and so have compassion for yourself. But remember that TJ is something and this new world that we all want to create is something that we have to practice as much as possible every day as much as we can.

David (he/him):

Thank you so much. For all all of that. I'm so glad that we had this conversation, I am going to be reflecting on so many of the things that were shared. And I hope that folks who are listening right now off, take the pause to not just, you know, next podcast on to the next thing, but take the moments to sit with this. Take the moments to strategize about your practice. And then join us again next week for another conversation with somebody living this restorative or transformative, Justice life. Until then take care.

Elyse (she/her):

Thank you so much, Mia, there's so much that we can learn out of this episode today. And I wanted to share a few of my thoughts after listening to the podcast. One thing that really stuck out to me was Mia's use of transformative justice. We often think of transformative and restorative justice. But these things are different. However, one of the key factors is that they work hand in hand to create relationship based and connected communities by targeting relationship creation, restoration and transformation. Whereas punitive resources and punitive punishments focus mostly on the action. How do you honor both TJ and RJ in your spaces? Also, towards the end, Mia got very personal in this episode in a way that really connected to me as an adoptee myself, I found a lot of connection to her sentiments of asking her adoptive family, what that means for them. I think that this can also be brought in to all children to address childhood issues and trauma that may not have been addressed or that you may not have equipped to handle at the time. What do you want to revisit from your childhood and what do you want to hear and see from your families? Finally, Mia talked about disability justice. This kind of stuff is not talked enough about in schools. It's not talked enough about within our restorative communities, and it's important that we bring it to the table. One thing that we do at Amplify RJ is with each of our podcasts we've released transcripts to help create a more accessible manner of showing the podcast so make sure to check out the transcript which should also be available for this podcast. And make sure to share and subscribe to our podcasts and whenever listening platform you use. As always, thank you so much for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.

David (he/him):

Like what you heard, please subscribe, rate, review and share this podcast on whatever platform you're using right now. It really helps us further amplify this work. You can also support us by following us on our social platforms, sending it for our email list, rocky our new merch joining our Patreon or signing up for a workshop. So many options. Links to everything in the show notes and on our website amplifyrj.com. Thanks so much for listening. We'll talk to you next week.

(Cont.) 83. Pod Mapping & Transformative Justice w/ Mia Mingus
(Cont.) 83. Pod Mapping & Transformative Justice w/ Mia Mingus
(Cont.) 83. Pod Mapping & Transformative Justice w/ Mia Mingus
(Cont.) 83. Pod Mapping & Transformative Justice w/ Mia Mingus
(Cont.) 83. Pod Mapping & Transformative Justice w/ Mia Mingus