Jill Strauss, PhD, teaches Conflict Resolution and Communications in the Speech, Communications and Theater Arts Department at Borough of Manhattan Community College (CUNY). Her research involves Restorative Practices and the visual interpretation of narrative and difficult histories.
Jill is co-editor of Slavery’s Descendants: Shared Legacies of Race and Reconciliation (Rutgers University Press 2019) along with other articles and book chapters.
Listening to the Movement: https://zehr-institute.org/publications/listening-to-the-movement
Slavery’s Descendants: https://www.rutgersuniversitypress.org/slaverys-descendants/9781978800762
From Pandemic to Protest: We Remember (CUNY and Rutgers undergraduates memorialize their experiences of the pandemic in augmented reaity https://openlab.bmcc.cuny.edu/from-pandemic-to-protest-we-remember/
Restorative Justice and Truth-Telling in the US https://youtu.be/VLFPaP-OaA4
Michale Harriot Twitter thread on white allyship: https://twitter.com/michaelharriot/status/1524898256949596163?s=21&t=cC5dkBTTHGSeZVAXp_IqKQ
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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.
Jill welcome to this restorative justice life. Who are you?
Jill Strauss (she/her): I am a new Yorker born and bred.
David (he/him): Who are you?
Jill Strauss (she/her): I am a woman, somebody who identifies as heterosexual.
David (he/him): Who are you?
Jill Strauss (she/her): I am someone who is feeling the weight of the world. I guess I always do, but it just seems like it's never ending, like never get a break.
David (he/him): Who are you?
Jill Strauss (she/her): I am an adoring aunt and the daughter of a 90 year old father and an 85 year old mother. So being a good daughter and being an adoring aunt are big in my life.
David (he/him): Mm-hmm who are you?
Jill Strauss (she/her): I'm an educator. I'd like to believe that I am teacher. Um, and that what I teach makes a difference in people's lives, that it matters in some way.
David (he/him): Who are you?
Jill Strauss (she/her): I am a swimmer.
David (he/him): And finally, who are you?
Jill Strauss (she/her): I am someone who dare. I say it survived the pandemic. I know it's not over yet, but it feels like it's, we're getting there. And so can I sit back and breathe a sigh of relief and say, okay, made it through our collective tragedy.
David (he/him): Well, thank you so much, Jill, for being here, very excited to have this conversation, which we'll get to with all the intersections of who you are right after this.
Elyse (she/her): Hey folks, I'm Elyse your producer. And today we are welcoming Jill Straus to the podcast. Jill teaches conflict resolution and communications in the speech communications and theater arts department at borough of Manhattan, community college, her research involves restorative practices and the visual interpretation of narrative and difficult histories.
You will hear so much more about sharing legacies and those histories in this podcast. And well, whether a do let's get right back into it.
David (he/him): Welcome back, Jill. It is so good to have you transparency for the listeners. This is the fourth time that we've attempted to have this conversation. You talked about, you know, the weight of the world being something that you're feeling and, you know, sometimes those things get in the way.
So to the extent that you want. So to the extent that you want to answer the question right now on these public airwaves, how are you?
Jill Strauss (she/her): What I normally say when somebody asks me, how are you doing? How are you? Um, I'll say my small world is. Um, and that's my way of saying . Um, I am, I am aware of what's happening in the larger world, uh, that there is, uh, a pandemic, um, that, um, you, Russia has invaded Ukraine or, uh, Syria is under sea or there is a, a war in Yemen.
I mean, whatever else is going on, um, or other countries are terribly affected in, in so many different ways. Um, um, but at least my small world is okay. And then, um, I can't, don't even, can't even say that right now because my neighbor upstairs flooded my apartment last week. Um, and it is not the first time he's done that, but.
The first time since the pandemic. Um, and, um, so I do feel especially fragile right now. Like I just don't have it in me to take it anymore, uh, to deal. And that happened to be the day that that happened out the day that we were supposed to do. That was the third the third interview, because this, the first one was the, the morning that 10 people were killed, um, or 10 people were shot at, in the subway.
I think it was the R train line. Uh, someone through a, I wanna say a smoke bomb mm-hmm in the subway and then started shooting, um, which just shook me up terribly. Just the thought of all, all of that harm caused all of that, all that loss, all that fear. Um, and then we rescheduled and my great-aunt died and then we rescheduled again and it was the day that my apartment was flooded.
And here we are so I will also say, David, thank you for your patience and your. Uh, persistence. I think I would've given up on me after the third I guess something like free strikes you're out.
David (he/him): well, I'll say you're welcome. But I think to the audience, it just shows that like, this conversation is gonna be really good, really valuable because like, uh, you know, I, I kept at it because, you know, we're talking to many of the authors who contributed to the book, um, listening to the movement.
Um, it's an anthology of, uh, contributions from folks across the restorative justice world. Um, and I loved your contribution, but before we get into like the nitty gritty of all that, um, you've been doing restorative justice work for a minute now, probably before you even knew the words, restorative justice.
So in your own words, how did this get started
Jill Strauss (she/her): for you? My, I have too many degrees to talk about, but my, I will just say that my, I have a master's in teaching English, uh, to speakers of other languages. So that. In its way is a human rights is a, is a right based education. Not that I think that English has to be your only language, but mm-hmm, living in the United States.
Um, it does facilitate your life and it, we should have multiple languages, all of us. Um, and then, um, I went on short story. I did a master's in peace education and consult resolution. Yeah. And during that. It was right, right. As I was graduating from my master's from teachers college at Columbia university, I, I was invited.
I reached out and then they invited me the way to say it to Eastern Mennonite university. They sent at the time it was, um, now it's called the center for justice and peace building. And, uh, they had created the star program, which is strategies for trauma awareness and resilience. And it was created after nine 11 to train, um, leaders and people in leadership positions, I'll say.
And, um, and religious. Leaders as well to understand what people were were going through after nine, after the trauma of nine 11. And because I'm in New York city and I was doing, um, I was facilitating the, um, work human rights and conflict resolution workshops with a Muslim woman. Um, we, they, they invited me and so I got to do that training.
And, um, so I do have, did already have some background in peace education and conflict resolution theory and practice. Um, but I didn't know what was coming in, walked during, during the training in walked. Um, Howard's there didn't know who Howard's. There was yet had no idea, no idea. He walked in. Spoke for spoken.
Um, we did some activities for maybe, I don't know what it, what it was maybe an maybe an hour. And I remember watching him walk out of the room and thinking he's just turned my world upside down. Mm. Which is actually the most that's when learning happens. So it was one of the most exciting moments of my life.
really, and I'm not just saying that for this podcast, it really was, it was like, oh, this makes so much sense. And oh, this is gonna be so hard. um, and then, uh, the, I guess it was the following year. I can't remember exactly how many months in between I was invited back for their intermediate star. Training when in walks Howard again, this time I'm I think I'm ready.
this time I'm ready. Um, and he's talking about, you know, how do we dress systemic harms? So, so in star one, it was about, um, um, interpersonal harms mm-hmm and interpersonal restorative justice. That second training was looking at more the systems. Um, and I just, I remember sitting at the table, working in my small group and looking up cause I was the reporter for our group and I just looked at him and I said, how do we get the United States to apologize?
And he just looked at me and laughed
um, anyway, so I remember that, I'm sure he doesn't remember that any of that, right. Of all the students he's had over over the years. Um, but, um, Yeah. And then, so in the meantime I was reading all of any, and all little books and more that I could get my hands on. Um, and, um, I met, I'm trying to like, keep the story concise as much as I can.
Um, and then I met Kate PR in New York and that was about 10 years later because it was, it was around the occupy wall street. So it was exactly 10 years later, right. Because 2000 1, 9 11 happened 2001. I don't think it's any coincidence that a decade later is the occupy movement, kitty corner to the world trade center.
by the way for those who don't know New York city. Um, and that's when I met Kay, she, she was in New York, um, doing restorative, uh, uh, doing peace, making circle PR, um, trainings. And I was able to attend that. And once again, my world just sitting in circle with her and, um, just turned my world upside down and left me in this place of dece, disequilibrium, sorry, disequilibrium, that where I had to put things back together and putting things back together in new ways, because my, it was different how I understood the world
David (he/him): was different.
Yeah. So there are multiple points that I want to touch on in there. And I think I'll start by saying, you know, There was an orientation that you had towards this kind of work, I would say. So that was before you, like even got into that piece, uh, piece building program, what was it, um, for you either growing up or in your early experiences that want like made you wanna go down this kind of path?
Jill Strauss (she/her): Yeah. Like how did I get here? I think, I think it's, um, it's a combination of things, you know, I remember as a child, very young, not fully understanding at any what was going on, walking, hearing my father yelling in Spanish. So my father's Argentine, my grandparents left Germany, um, um, in, in their late twenties.
So, uh, German Jews who left, uh, Germany in the late twenties to go to Argentina where my grandfather had the promise of a job. So this was primarily. It was antisemitism, but it was, it was also a worldwide, the worldwide, um, depression enough said about that. But anyway, so, um, my father's, I walked into my father's bedroom and he screamed, he was speaking very loudly, I will say, okay.
In Spanish to my uncle on the phone. Right. Um, and holding a letter fr that he had just received from my grandparents with large black parts parts, uh, blocked out in black, excuse me, you know, and thinking about, back about that now. And when I was studying human rights, reflecting and thinking I, as a child, I don't know how much of that I fully understood, but I have to wonder now as an adult, what could two old people in Argentina be writing to their son about?
That has to be blocked out by a paranoid hunter. Government right. Which is what my father was screaming to at about to my uncle. Right. Mm-hmm so I have that. And, and I, I was raised on Bob Dylan music. I am a sixties kid. Sure. I, I was raised on Dylan and Joni Mitchell and, and classical music as well. My father will always remind me, um, but Def and definitely folk music of the time, Peter Paul and Mary.
Um, and I do think I have a strong sense of justice. I'm told that I do also by other people, uh, so and strong sense of fairness. And I get angry at injustice. I get really angry, maybe too angry, but because sometimes I think when I get so angry, I don't know what to do with it, with the passion. So. Yeah, but that's a different conversation.
I think , I'm trying to figure out what to do with it.
David (he/him): well, and you know, that led you down the path that, that you, that I'm on did. Right. Um, and you know, going back to, you know, your initial story, when you had that encounter with, uh, Howard, um, in that teaching, like what were the things that made you feel like, oh, this is right.
And this is hard, you know, what was, what were the elements in there that were like, yes. And like,
Jill Strauss (she/her): oh yeah, yeah. Um, I, I, it was the first time that I had heard articulated in, um, in a way that made sense to me when people or a group are hurt, there are, they have some ne needs. And then who is responsible.
Who has the obligation to, to write those wrongs. Mm-hmm, , I'm not crazy about that language, but I'm gonna use it for this moment. Right? Sure. And, um, I think that what I had learned in conflict resolution was primarily analyzing the conflicts mm-hmm , um, which is very important. Right. Cuz if you, if you can't understand what's going happening, how do you, you know, how do you respond to it?
Yeah. If it's, if it's just totally out of control for you, if you, if you really can't see it for what it is. Um, so it was a very good background to have to walk into, uh, that workshop with him. Um, and, and peace education, uh, is really, uh, is, is at least partly about, is where I learned about human rights.
Uh, so I think, um, and, um, And a culture of peace. So I think that restorative justice and circle practices, I will also say circle keeping, um, were, are these concrete things that I can do, um, that are informed by the theory and the practice that I had learned before. Does that make sense? Yes. Okay. Um, yeah.
What was the hard part? Um, the hard part of doing it, it takes a lot of time. It takes a lot of time and, uh, we don't live in a world where there seems to be time. Um, there are there just time conflict. So it's a conflict right there. sure con and the processes take time. That's why they are effective because they take.
Yeah. And, um, I think it's also hard because requires a great deal of trust, a great deal of trust building. So, right. So here's the challenge, right? We work with the people who will work with us. Mm-hmm and then the hope is that you work with the people who will work with you, and then this will plant the seeds that will grow out.
Right. Because let's say you work with eight people, then they work with another eight people, then they work. Right. And so it goes out. Yeah. Great. That also takes time. Um, how do we reach those people who don't necessarily wanna work with us? And that's also the age old problem.
David (he/him): Yeah. There's yeah. Yeah.
Jill Strauss (she/her): I think
David (he/him): give, I think, I think, and you were able to identify all of these things in that one.
Talk in that moment.
Jill Strauss (she/her): Okay. That's that's a fair question. I I'm also looking at it, you know, some 15, 20 years later. Sure. Yeah. Yeah. So I really can't tell you right now what I was thinking in that moment. Mm-hmm and, and how I'm thinking about it now, but what I can tell you, what I, the visceral memory I have is watching Howard walk out of the room.
And in that moment, my wor I knew that my world was turned upside down. I keep, I know you can't, I don't know who, what pictures you're gonna use if at any of these, but what I'm doing right now is I keep doing it over and over again, using my hand and sort of twisting it by my head, because I really did feel like everything was turned inside out.
Gotcha. And I had to put it all back together and I knew it was gonna be. Yeah. Yeah. But I, um, I didn't necessarily yet know what it was going to look like and all of that sound like or feel like. Right.
David (he/him): Right. And all of that, all of those challenges that you identify come with, you know, the years of experience that you've had, um, embodying these ways, like the time that it takes inviting people into processes, uh, when they don't want to, right.
Like these are the, the challenges of restorative justice, um, that, you know, we, we all run into as practitioners, but you know, from there, you know, you talked about how you learned more, you went into more training, uh, you learned from K you learned circle, um, and, you know, you continued to do peace building work.
You continued to do, um, your, your teaching. Um, how did this framing of restorative justice, uh, a new framing, new words that you had for work that you were doing similarly already? How did that influence the way that you were moving in? Uh, those spaces?
Jill Strauss (she/her): Yeah, so, um, you know, I was working for NGOs for a while different NGOs and those who have worked for NGOs and community based organizations know that, or, um, what often happens, not necessarily all the time, but what often happens is, is you get a one or two year contract mm-hmm for a project.
Sure. Um, so it's really just moving from job to job mm-hmm with the pro contracts and the projects and the funding such as the nature of nonprofit work and, um, And in the meantime, so I, I also, um, have a background in art. I, I went to art school and which I've also just recently come back to, and I'm doing collage work now, but that's, um, which I am loving.
Um, but so I went to art school. That's still very much a part of, of, of who I am. And I was living with this idea and it comes out of restorative justice, actually about the validation of being heard and, um, and being able to speak. And, but, and I know from personal experience that I can stop listening.
Mm-hmm right. I, I, I can shut somebody else out. So I was wondering, I was the question that I, that my burning question, what got me to do a PhD well, and not a, a third master's degree. um, that didn't seem to make any point any sense. Um, it was, um, well, okay. I can't. I can look away perhaps, but what if an image or some kind of artwork, something visual could, could convey an experience?
Would it be, would people in, in conflict be able to see the other story if they killed and hear it? Could they see the other story and find empathy, be, feel more empathy in, in seeing the, what had happened? So for this, I, I went to Northern Ireland to do my PhD. Um, um, I, for several reasons, um, I did not this, so this was 2006.
I did not realize that the United States was about to elect a black man to be P. I did not see that one coming and the seismic shifts that would happen in the, in the country. Um, and I had been to Northern Ireland and I was fascinated by, I thought the GRA work that was happening at the, at the grassroots level was, was quite remarkable.
And these are people who really wanted change. And so I wanted to try out, so speaking like a good researcher. I wanted to try out my ideas. I have learned, I have learned, try out my ideas somewhere. Um, but I did to my credit, I guess I did decide to go and live there rather than fly in, do my project and leave.
At least I was there for a few years. Um, and I tried out the project. What I did was I worked with, um, um, art students at my, from my university and, um, and people who are their, um, grandparents' age at the time. Right. So that we skipped the parent generation. So it was a generation that had lived through, um, the, that most recent period of the troubles, um, the troubles in Northern Ireland, in the seventies and the eighties, um, and this younger generation that had never experienced that kind of violence, but also lived in a, a much more segregated Northern Ireland.
And to, to hear those stories and to hear those stories across, uh, religious identity lines. Um, and then we had. An exhibit of the art that was created. Um, and I don't know, I don't know that I necessarily got to, uh, test out the part about, um, would seeing the other story create, create more empathy, but it did create a lot of conversation.
the art did create conversation. Um, and, um, and I, and I know that it meant a lot to the people who participated. Um, it meant a lot to the, to the older people to, to have young people who weren't, who weren't, didn't have to listen to them who wanted to hear their stories that mattered a great deal to them.
And for the young people that got to hear stories they wouldn't have ever heard otherwise about people's experiences. And those are all important. Yeah. I think as well. So, um, yeah, so, so there was an exhibition. I wrote my. Doctoral thesis. And, um, and here we are. yeah. Oh, well, there's a lot in between that, but yeah,
David (he/him): absolutely, you know, when you shared your, who are yous, I was curious why you didn't say artists, but thank you for sharing that now, because like, you know, that is such an important element of being able to communicate these ideas before we were on the call before we were recording, we were talking about how, you know, in the world that we live in, we're bombarded with so much information all the time.
We're made aware of so much harm that is happening, um, across the world this moment, right? Um, we're recording this conversation in mid-May, um, amidst, all the things that are going on in mid-May. We talked about, you know, Roe versus way, we talked about war, we talked about, you know, all these kinds of different conflicts and harms and abuses that are happening.
Um, and it's hard. To, you know, be able to focus on a particular thing. Yeah. Unless there's something eye catching. Right. And art has the ability to do that art doesn't. Well, and to your point, like, I don't know if it generated empathy, you don't know if it generated empathy, but it did give folks, um, a way into conversations.
What did that look like? Uh, like, yeah. What did those conversations look like in Ireland?
Jill Strauss (she/her): Okay. So, um, I don't know, because they, I was, I was facilitating the group. They were in small groups. Everybody was in small groups and so I was not part oh, gotcha. Of those, those dialogues. Um, uh, there's also confidentiality around that.
And, and of course when people talk about when, uh, you know, as, as the researcher, the academic coming from the United States, you know, there's all of that. So, um, and I wanted everybody to feel as com comfortable as they possibly could. That said the story. So the stories that I am aware of, so this is what, um, I heard about after the fact.
So, you know, in, in the post-project interviews mm-hmm , so what they were wanted to share with me right, is, is what's important, um, that it was, they wanted me to know this, um, , uh, the story, the kinds of stories that they heard were personal experiences. And also, uh, those stories that lived as myths mm-hmm in, in the communities, there were some, um, really powerful ones I would say.
So, uh, there's one, one of the stories, um, is about, um, Some, so there were some, especially when it came to work there, there are, there were examples of, of communities, the, the I, uh, Protestant and Catholics working together. And in this case, it I'm hoping I remember who was, who in this story. I hope I'm right about this.
was, uh, the workers were Catholic. I think there was one Protestant. It could have been the reverse, but I hope I'd have this. Right. Um, um, they were on a, they were in a van returning from a day of work and they were stopped by paramilitary. Um, so in this, they would've been Catholic paramilitary. I hope I have the story.
Right. Uh, the van was stopped. They all got out of the van. Now. They were all wearing, you know, their uniforms. They were all working. So, and you can't tell by just looking at somebody necessarily. I mean, such as the, such as the such are the challenges of these kinds of isms, right. Um, you know, what are we really talking about?
And so the here's the important part of the story, right? All of the men said to the one who was not of their religious identity group, don't say anything, don't out yourself. We're not gonna out, you we're all gonna stand together. And the paramilitary said, okay, which one of you is, which ones of you who are the Protestants?
And they all said, none of us are we're all or yeah. Um, and so they ended up all being shot because they misunderstood who the para militaries were because the right there was an assumption that the para militaries were Catholic. They were actually Protestant, like who who's Catholic. So the whole thing got, so what I think is most important about that story, whether or not I got the Protestant of the Catholic, right, is that there was solidarity in this group and that there was a promise, uh, to their, to their fellow, that they were not going to give him up.
That, that there, that there was solidarity and, um, friendship and support and in the end, they all died for it, which is what's the tragedy of the story. Right. But there's also this other part. So how do we know that this, this happened right? Is this right? Um, if I'm not mistaken, the, the driver survived to tell the story.
David (he/him): Yeah. And, and hearing that very arresting story, right. Gives cause for pause, like for anyone listening. Right. For, for any number of reasons and this idea of. You know how fucked up are these conflicts that we can't see each other, like for the fullness of our humanity, which I think is in many ways, at the core of what restorative justice asks us to do, right?
How do we not see that we're all interconnected? How are we causing harm to each other? And when this harm happens, like what are the things that we can do to make it right? Obviously in that situation, there is no bringing people back, back from the dead, but like in the, in efforts to prevent that harm from happening again, moving forward, the driver being able to tell his story, right.
Mm-hmm is, is a way forward, you know, you've also. The framing of our conversation today is around your chapter in listening to the movement. And I believe it's called shared legacies. Right? Mm-hmm um, and you, um, highlight the, coming to the table, uh, initiative and we've had, uh, Jodi Getti, uh, here talk about, uh, the coming to the table initiative where you're bringing, uh, white people and black people, people whose ancestors were enslaves and people whose ancestors had been enslaved together, um, in dialogue and part of it is dialogue.
But you also talked about some of the other ways that you tried to elicit bringing out these stories in increasing the empathy. Uh, would you like to share, um, what that looked like and the impact that, that it had?
Jill Strauss (she/her): Yeah, so that's, uh, it's an anthology that I co-edited with, um, with, uh, an African American woman.
Uh, who's also part of coming to the table, Deion Ford. And, um, so the, the book is, is an anthology of. 25, uh, short pieces of, um, the O so in this case, we're using, we are using words. Um, what we, uh, so descendants of enslaves have written their stories about their experience of, um, researching their family's histories, what it means to find, uh, to find out that they are descended from enslaves.
Where, what are we come back to the, to the restorative justice language again, what are, what are the needs created by those obligations? What are the responsibilities of the harms caused historically? And how do you make that? Right? How do we make that right in the present for something that we don't necessarily, aren't not necessarily respons, um, uh, we didn't do it ourselves in the present.
But nevertheless, we have benefited from, which is what our white privilege in this case as well. Right. Um, and also money and opportunity resources that that were, are, are off are denied, have, have been denied people of color in, in the United States because this is a country built on structural racism that comes out of slavery.
Um, and so what a part of the way that the I'm speaking specifically now about the white authors in this, um, or the authors, um, who are dis European Americans is a better way to say it, right? Mm-hmm those authors who are descended from enslaves part of one step that they want to take towards making things, right.
Is telling the story. Saying, yeah, we did this this, this, this, this is truth and uh, we need to get the story out. The other thing that they do in, in their stories and in their other work in many cases is pub. They have access to the wills of their ancestors. In many cases, mm-hmm because, and is, and in these wills, it's often named the enslaved people and it's often the only way that descendants of enslaved people can find their ancestors.
And so that's another act that they action. I should say that they feel is really important, um, is to get those names out there. And in fact, in the book, every single enslaved person who is named in the book is cross-referenced. In the index so that peop people can go and try to, to find it that way. So you don't have to read the entire book to fi to see if you can find your ancestor.
You can look in the index and see if you can find their name. Um, uh, and, um, so they're doing, they're doing that. That's what they told me they're doing, right? This is what they say they're doing. They said it to me, they write about it. That's what they're doing. Um, and, and struggling with the accountability in the part, in, in the present, excuse me, and for the descendants of enslaved people, they wanna tell their story because to fill the gaps, to fill the absences of, of these experiences.
So these stories, these narratives that have lived in families, um, orally. Sometimes written as well and off, but often orally, they, they are writing down, they are writing down their own research and searches for their ancestors and the work that they do and, um, and what they find out and what that means to them.
So I, so, and so what we wanted to do is we've juxtaposed these stories based on coming to the table, um, uh, uh, the, uh, the, um, what come the coming to the table's mission and vision. And so we've put 'em to put them together that way they're, it's mixed. And what we hope is that people see, um, in, in the reading, um, a more complete, a more new end nuanced history of the United States.
Yeah. Is what we hope. So it's both the individual and the greater whole,
David (he/him): yeah. There's. To the question that you asked Howard about like, you know, how do we heal the us? This is one element of like all the terrible things that like the United States of the country has done. And the individuals who were part of, you know, upholding white supremacy, institutions of chattel, slavery, um, et cetera, this is one part of that harm that like the us need to heal, but you know, what is the impact that you've seen so far?
Jill Strauss (she/her): So are we talking when you say so far in my lifetime and since I I'm just not okay. Nevermind. I'm gonna answer the question. yeah. I just answer it as you. Yeah. Um, well, let's, let's see. Um, Prior a lot of my world is pre COVID and, and pre COVID COVID and where we are now in our new normal, whatever that is.
Um, so I, you know, the us, uh, the, the Congress did vote to an apology for, um, for lynching. Uh, we have a lynching museum in the United States and of all places, Montgomery, Alabama, right. Um, at an institutional level, this is being talked about, um, and acknowledged kicking and screaming for some people. But yeah, you know, we, we are beginning to have those conversations that we need to have.
Um, uh, Thomas Jefferson it's acknowledged that Thomas Jefferson has descendants who are biracial, that he had those children. Uh, with, within with his enslaved woman, Sally Hemings, uh, I'm seeing different. I now I'm gonna jump ahead to, um, uh, local and local go city councils, local governments were putting up cameras and we were being surveilled in a way that we hadn't been in the past.
People were up in arms, but at the same time, it, we became, it became possible to record on our phones. And the average person was able to flip that power. And we are able now to record the injustices that we live, that many of us live with daily and that's empowering right, because the record is there.
The record is kept, and I think that black lives matter movement and people coming out across, um, Across ethnicities across class, um, across religious affiliation. It really hasn't been like this since the civil rights movement. Um, again, um, coming out and into the streets and saying no is a huge change.
Yeah. Um, at an institutional level, it's harder. It's always for meaningful change. Right. You can get the apology for lynching is important. Does it have any teeth, reparations conversations around reparations? Um, um, I don't know where they're moving if they're moving at all.
David (he/him): So this reminds me of. A conversation about restorative justice and truth telling in the us put out by impact justice.
Um, just a few weeks ago, um, at the time of this recording and it was really talking about, you know, there are all these things that have not yet happened at macro levels. And there are some things that have happened on, on the small scale. Um, you know, a little while ago, um, Oh, I don't know what order this podcast is running in.
Oh, no, it was a little bit ago, um, where Dorothy Burge was talking about the way that, um, the city of Chicago made reparations to victims of police torture, right? Mm-hmm um, and you know, the members of this panel, who we were, who I'm referencing with the impact justice, uh, restorative justice and truth telling, um, you know, talking about like different instances, um, in their locals, but to your point, right, we still need this happening, um, on a large scale, um, What did Howard say to you when you asked that when you asked him that question and what do you think your response to, you know, how do we heal would be now?
Jill Strauss (she/her): Okay. So Howard laughed sure. Yeah, because I, you know, I mean that, that's the, you know, I, I, now what was almost like a child's question and, and innocent question, how do we get the United States to apologize? Sure. Um, uh, the wise one looked, yeah, right, right. Uh, the wise one, the experienced one. Yeah. Um, I, I wanna add something though, to what I was saying before.
Yeah. I was thinking about, as you were speaking, I think of a profound difference is that people are speaking up now. Mm-hmm right. Peop people who are at the margins have a platform, a microphone, if you will. Um, they are not waiting to be invited. They are taking it. They're using it. That's good because it's not up to me to empower somebody else.
Right. I can't, I mean, that's perpetuating those kinds. That language is perpetuating the, the, uh, uh, I can't think of the word in the moment, but it's, it's perpetuating the ideas that the concepts and the ideas that we wanna get away from mm-hmm I can't do it for you. You have to do it for yourself. There we go.
Right. So it's not that I, I, I can give you the space to speak your truth and even better if you take it and you do it yourself. Yeah. And damn the consequences of that. Right. Um, and. I think what we're finding now, there are consequences. Some of them not so pretty, but we're also finding that more and more people are joining because hearing those stories, hearing those truths are validating for others and they make sense.
Yeah. And it's helpful to fill in those gaps that are missing, but we have to be ready and not, everybody's ready to hear it or willing to hear it. And we can't wait. We have to go ahead anyway.
David (he/him): Yeah. And you know, maybe this is a bit of a rough segue, but you know, some of the ways that you've done that, like is this is not just mm-hmm, like harm is not just like a black and white issue right here in America.
Yeah. Um, and harm happens across all different, um, identities. Um, you know, you were telling me, uh, like as a Jewish person, right. One like experiencing like. Holocaust erasure that still happens. Right. Mm-hmm but all and antisemitism that happens. But also like at what you described to me as like Jewish fragility around issues happening, um, you know, here and in Palestine and across the world.
And so I wanted to, you know, give you an opportunity to share, like, as, as a Jewish person who, you know, it's not oppression Olympics, we're not comparing the Holocaust to chattel slavery, but like as a Jewish person, how have you won, you know, told your story, learned your story, told the truth, um, and engaged in this work in your community.
Jill Strauss (she/her): Yeah. Ooh, that's a big one. um, so, so yeah, so I should, um, and thank you for that. So I can clarify a couple of things, right? So I am. Jewish American Europe of European Jewish descent. via Argentina as it turns out. Right. Um, not unusual. Um, actually, um, and so, so one thing I wanted, I wanted to add also, um, is that it, one thing that I didn't anticipate in the project in Northern Ireland that did also happen is the validation that the storytellers felt, seeing their stories on hanging on a wall mm-hmm in a, in a gallery, in an art gallery, how important that was for them.
So to, to sit on a bench in the gallery space and look at their art, uh, look at the, their stories, um, depicted visually that level of legitimization turned out to be really powerful. And so. That also always stayed with me. Mm-hmm and then fast forward it's 20 2017. So it's a, just about a decade later, more or less.
And I found out from a cousin, uh, in Israel that, um, my, um, her grandfather, my great-grandfather was being honored in, um, our, this small town that, that he, that, where he had lived, where he lived with my, with my great-grandmother and that they had lived for several generations. This is where this the family's from.
Um, um, the town is, I, I'm not going to, I'm gonna say this to you now. I'm not gonna name it because the article I wrote is under review mm-hmm so I can't, uh, it's under blind review, so I can't name, I don't wanna name it here. Um, but so, um, So the small town in Southern Germany and, um, my great grandfather is being honored as the last head of the Jewish community.
And, um, this is a great honor. And can anybody go, can anyone in the family go? Um, and it, the event was happening, um, To honor also Christ Christ kn excuse me. So I couldn't go, it was like two weeks before, it wasn't possible. Another relative one who was all who lives in Europe. Um, but I did wanna go because, um, the Germans in this town were wanted to honor the Jews who were no longer in there.
The Jewish cemetery was, is still there. Um, and this is something that's happening, um, at various levels throughout Germany, that there are, um, there is commemoration at, at the government at the institutional level, but there, and there are also these smaller grassroots projects, um, that I also think are really important in terms of, you know, how do again for historical harms, how do we make right in the present, what our ancestors did to other people mm-hmm right.
How do is, is there any way to write that wrong? Um, I think visibility, um, and acknowledgement go a long way. Doesn't go all the way, but it goes, it goes some part of the way. Yeah. And so I went to the village and, um, well, what, it's a euphemism in the, you know, it's a euphemism, my great-grandfather is honored as the last head of the Jewish community there because he was the last Jew there.
He and my great-grandmother were the last Jewish people there. So I'm not really sure if that's an honor necessarily mm-hmm they did survive. Um, they were, uh, that's a different story. Um, so I grapple with that, but I also grapple with the validation of seeing these plaques on the wall of seeing the family names of going to the cemetery.
Um, and, and, um, And the, the feelings of legitimate legitimization validation, um, but also the frustrations and the gaps in the stories that are still left and that, so I'm also looking at it from my own perspective. So that's, that's my story. Then I have also worked on and off through the, through the years, um, with, um, other Jewish Americans and Muslim and Christian Arabs here in the, of people of Muslim and Christian Arab descent, I should say mm-hmm or mu um, Muslim descent, right?
Because, uh, there are Muslims around the world who immigrate or are born in the, and or who are born in the United States. Um, and because of the strong link, uh, between the us and Israel. Israel is the us' largest donor nation, just on a financial level. And what are we doing? What's what are they doing with that money?
Um, there are really strong connections, uh, here in the us and what happens there, reverberates here all around the world, but here. And so how do we talk about that? Um, and right, so right now I'm, um, co-facilitating a group that I'm not a part of. That's brought in to facilitate and it's hard, you know, it's really hard.
We have the limits of time. We have the limit limits of being on zoom, uh, which is both a bless zoom is both a blessing and a curse, right? It means that I, you and I can do this interview, uh, this podcast, um, uh, even though you're on one end one side of the country and I'm on the other side of the country.
Um, but we can't be in the same room together. We're not in the same room together. And yeah. So, um, And so in this case, we're not even at the place of obligation, acknowledgement or recognition of the harms done in many cases, thinking about the hard of it, the hard, how hard this is, let me rephrase that, how hard this is, um, getting to that acknowledgement.
So is it my agenda? right. So that's the other thing I would struggle with is this my agenda? Or, um, or, and how do I make, you know, how do you, how do you, how do we get people? How do we get people to see things the way we want them to? Right. Which sounds so UN RJ, doesn't it. So, um, yes, in a lot of ways, it's much easier being a teacher.
Uh, because I have time, I have time to build and scaffold and engaging conversation and dialogue. And, um, yeah. Um, so I don't know, I I'm really struggling with time right now, primarily time and not being in the same space and how, and how to do this. Kind of, I know there are people doing it on, uh, ver um, distance, but I, um, I think that this is part of our new reality and, um, I'm wondering what new skills we need to make it possible.
David (he/him): Yeah. You know, restorative justice is not about like mandating that people do a certain thing believe a certain way. Right. Um, all we can do is right. One model, um, share our stories, um, invite people into. These ways. And to your point, like you can't make people be a certain way, think a certain way, believe a certain thing.
It's just, when you see the impact of these actions that have been taken by people who've caused harm in Northern Ireland, Germany in the land that we now call the United States in all, all these places like, and you're confronted with those things like, Hmm, do you wanna perpetuate that or not? Right. And you know, many people answer like, yeah, I'm okay with that.
and like, what do we do with those people? Right. Um,
Jill Strauss (she/her): Yes. Um, I, I was actually going to say, um, I'm more concerned about the people who say no, no, no, I don't, you know, I don't see color. Um, okay. Um, we're all saying, or like that happened so long ago. Right? Right, right. Yeah. I'm I, that's more of a concern for me actually, because this, the other person's being honest.
Fair, fair. And, and has, um, and I, I, I think the, the person who says I, this isn't my fault or the person who says, I don't see color, it's not meant to perpetuate the harm. Mm-hmm it does, but it's not, that's not their intention. Right. They really want to be different or better because they're not acknowledging they're taking this other way than saying yeah.
You know, this happened, this is what we live with. Um, it, it it's, it's. It's well, both are equally hard. I don't know. I think they're both equally hard. so, yeah. Um,
David (he/him): to your point, like the impact is the same, like yes, I'm okay with the status quo. Um, I've never done this on a podcast, but I'm gonna try, um, and we'll see how this goes.
Right. Um, I was on Twitter this morning, right? And there's, uh, there's this man, uh, Michael Harriet. And he was talking about this model of, you know, and the limits of white allyship, even for people who are like, you know, the most well intended. Um, and I'm just gonna read a long Twitter thread and, you know, see what happens.
Um, uh, Michael says, whenever I'm asked about allyship, I like to tell the story of history's most notoriously revolutionary group of white allies, the Boston in vigilance committee. Uh, the group was organized in 1841 by an abolish abolitionist named Charles Turner Tory secure. Sorry, secure to persons of color, the enjoyment of their constitutional and legal rights to secure this object.
It will employ every legal, peaceful and Christian method and none other, right. So there's a group of white people who were all about abolition. Um, this. Tori, uh, was saved, sanctified and filled with the black holy ghost. Um, when he was at Yale, he started attending black churches. He didn't even, um, I'm skipping through the parts that aren't, uh, relevant.
Um, but you know, he was so anti-slavery, he hated slavery. So we started financing part of the underground railroad, right. He was, you know, truth telling he was using his resources, um, AGA uh, to work against the, the systems that were there. Um, he worked in Massachusetts, um, but, um, ended up leaving their, uh, anti-slavery society, uh, due to, um, conflict with William Lloyd Garrison, who mm-hmm um, some know as maybe the founder, uh, the, the most famous white abolitionist, um, They had, um, there, there was infighting between them, but instead of leaving the cause, um, Tori started the Boston vigilance committee, um, and also helped folks in New York and in DC, most of these members were white of the Boston vigilance committee and they believed that slavery should be abolished and tried really hard to help black people.
They did a lot. Right. Perhaps there's no better example of their decision than the story of Shara. Uh Minkins he had escaped. He's a black man who escaped slavery in Virginia, moved to Boston and got a job working at a Barita in a coffee house. um, in February of 1851, federal marshals went undercover at the coffee house and arrested him.
Right. He was the first person in the state, um, arrested under this new law, um, to, to like slave catchers. Right. All of these white allies, um, uh, you know, jumped into action. And within 30 minutes, hundreds of protestors, uh, were at the jail. Um, they parti the lawyers app who were abolitionists petitioned, uh, for, uh, habeas Corpus.
Um, but the Supreme court judge wouldn't budge, um, and the dedicated abolitionists, remember their pledge to employ every quote, unquote legal, peaceful, and Christian method and none other. And so when the Supreme court ruling came down, what did they do? Right. They gave up all of this is to say, you know, these well intentioned white folks who are saying like, oh, like, can't we get past this?
Like I like we've passed the civil rights act. We've passed the voting act. We, we had a black president, right. Um, Isn't this enough, or like, you know, I donate to the a C L U I have that dumb lawn side in my yard or on my window. Right? Like, what is the action that you're gonna take? Because you know, now these white abolitionist lawyers and businessmen, um, stopped, but what did the black men do?
Right? These black men, including Edward Walker. Um, the first black, uh, man to pass the bar in Massachusetts, um, came up with a plan and de arrested him, broke him out of court. And, um, I love, I love
Jill Strauss (she/her): de arrested. I love that. Can we make that a word? make that a word in the
David (he/him): LinkedIn. I mean, that's a word they dere did him and got him to Canada.
They snatched him outta court, um, hit him and got him to Canada. Right. Um, at that physical risk to themselves. And so like, you know, the white businessmen lawyers, like they. They did great things, right. They had, um, I'm not like, like I'm not, and Michael Harriet is not like, um, putting them down for their efforts, but it's like, you know, to what extent are you really about making repair, making things, right.
Getting to liberation. Um, and that's what, you know, restorative justice is asking us to, even if you are not the person who like wasn't in slavery, right? Like you are still a beneficiary as a white person of child, slavery of white supremacy. And so like how much about this life are you? And be honest with yourself.
And if you're not, there has to be this acknowledgement that like you're okay with the status quo as it
Jill Strauss (she/her): is. Yeah. Yes. You know, uh, what I was thinking about as I was listening to you is, um, how uncomfortable are we willing to be? Right. How, how, uh, Yeah. How about, it's about living with dis are we willing to live with discomfort?
And when I say we now I do mean, um, European Americans. I'll say it that way right now for now it feels more accurate. Um, yeah. So, um, it sounds like that the, these lawyers said, well, the law says the laws decided the judge says, right. That's as much as we can do. And other people, um, said, you know what, there's one more thing.
We there's, we can try one more thing or what, however they thought about it. Right. Mm-hmm . And because they had lived with discomfort, they could live with discomfort again. Um, I it's may, perhaps it's something like that. And, but I, I, I do think that, what do I wanna say? Um, I wanna be careful now and not. I wanna be careful.
I wanna be careful because what I wanna do is, uh, my, my inclination inside. So part of this is also about being honest with myself. Mm-hmm and my inclination is to say something to you, like, well, I'm sure that there were some European Americans, there were some white people who abolitionists, who did get uncomfortable.
Right. But that's not, there's no reason to say that there is absolutely no, that's my, there's something in me that wants to say that to, to make it better. But there's no reason to say that. No, it's, it's unnecessary. And so just pretend, I didn't say it well, I mean, but, but more importantly that I recognize that, right.
That I recognize that I recognize that it's unnecessary to say that. And I have to question myself, well, why did I wanna do that? Yeah. Cause if I wanna be better, right. If I wanna be better.
David (he/him): Yeah. Um, thank you for going there and. The intent of sharing this story was not to like to elicit that response outta you.
But it really is like when we are talking about repair, when we are talking about healing this country, like what are our limits of uncomfortability? Yeah. Safety, um, all of these things, and we've, we've got a long way to go. I think what is comforting to me in circumstances that seem very dire and sometimes hopeless is that we've been dealing with white supremacy on this continent for, you know, hundreds of years at this point.
And child slavery was abolished 160 years ago. We've the impact of that, of the impact of genocide, of, uh, indigenous people. Right? Mm-hmm um, The impact of homophobia of like, is like, that has been entrenched in, um, all of the ways that, you know, our laws are in the way that, you know, all the ways that our laws have been written to exclude people who have been on the margins, whether, um, they are quote unquote undocumented, um, immigrants, right?
Like all of these things, like they've been on the books, they have existed for a lot longer than, um, even like in this current moment, like it has been like in the public consciousness to like fight against of course along the way people who have been impacted across those marginalized identities has always been pushing back.
Right. Um, and now people who are, I think now more than. Maybe not more than ever, but because to our point about like the, these stories being told, um, and amplified using digital media, using art, using all of these things, um, these stories are getting out there and do elicit empathy. I don't know that, like, that empathy always leads to someone like going out and de arresting folks.
Right, right. Um, going out, um, personally making Repar like financial reparations for, um, harm that their ancestors have caused, but, you know, through efforts like coming to the table efforts, like, um, you know, these different art exhibitions, these different storytellings, and like, I'll say this podcast and other things that are happening in, in public sphere, people are coming to more consciousness.
So, you know, thank you for going there with me. I hope that was, um, Generative for the listeners, cuz you know, I kind of just pulled that out of what was in my brain this morning.
Jill Strauss (she/her): well, it, it was in your brain, it was also in your heart. Yeah. Right. Uh, and, and I appreciate you trusting me with that. Yeah,
David (he/him): absolutely.
Um, go ahead.
Jill Strauss (she/her): Oh, I just, um, I want to come back to the art one for one last moment. Um, one, one last moment and, and the digital, cause you brought up digital media. So I've been working with, uh, digital, um, a media artist and educator for a few years when I can at, at CUNY where I teach. Um, he's wonderful. Uh, will Roberts of augmented pictures is wonderful.
If I he'll take whatever I can pay him for him. It's surface . So I get a small grand. He takes whatever it is. I get a bigger grand. He takes whatever it's um, Anyway, um, not to say that it's all about money for him. It isn't for me as, as, as again, a white person who is salaried. It's very important to me that someone of color is also compensated mm-hmm for his work.
Right. If, if, if it's work that I, if I, if I have anything to say about it, right. so, um, uh, even if it's, even if it's a symbolic amount that, that there is that that happens. So anyway, um, we've been using, um, augmented reality in, in my classes, uh, to, uh, make visible these, uh, marginalized histories in different ways.
And then the pandemic happened and it happened how many times have I brought that up today? um, anyway, um, and we were virtual and, and we were dying. New York city was hit hard. Early on. Um, and, and it was, my students are primarily of color, first generation working class. It hit, it, hit those communities particularly hard.
And I, I was in mourn. It was also, um, uh, the black lives matter marches. George Floyd had been murdered on camera. literally, um, uh, I was grieving and I felt like if I was grieving, then my other people are grieving too. I'm not so special. So when we came, when classes started again in, in the fall of 2020, um, with will, we had our, the students making and, and thinking about trauma and trauma informed pedagogy, um, we wanted them to have a chance to share their stories and hear other people's stories, um, about what they were going through, because we were going to, we were in class virtually isolated as we were, but how could we build communities somehow?
And then. How did they want to memorialize their experiences of the pandemic? And we did, we're doing, we did this in virtual reality. We did this in augmented reality, uh, and the students made their own memorials, um, that, uh, that are, um, that there is an online exhibit of on the, uh, my college's website, uh, which, uh, is a, is kind of a validation.
These are the P these are the people who are never asked mm-hmm people most directly affected are never asked how they want. Well, I shouldn't say never that's changing too, but are almost never asked how do they want to honor their experience and the experiences of their families and the experiences of their communities.
And that in itself is, is a kind of a validation. So I'd like to, I'd like to think that I created the conditions for these people who are primarily, um, people of color working class first generat. To work together to honor their experiences and doing it with virtual reality makes it possible to do it without it quickly.
And, um, and without any imprint, if you will, but nevertheless, they feel, it feels like it's real when you're looking at them. And so from that, um, um, and with another colleague, we got a grant to, uh, do, uh, collect oral histories of people in east, Harlem at east and central Harlem, west Harlem, um, here in New York city and then memorials are being created out of those stories as well.
That will be in central park. So, uh, in augmented reality. So again, this idea of the people most directly affected some of the people most directly affected who never get asked. and being able to share those experiences visually with other people, with people like themselves in their communities. Yeah. Um, is I think another kind of, it's another way to address harms.
Yes. In a, you know, we can't bring the people back. I can't bring the people back, but I can create an opportunity to honor those who have been lost.
David (he/him): Yeah. Is that publicly accessible for folks who are listening?
Jill Strauss (she/her): Yes, the student work. I can send you the link for the student memorials and their artist statements, which are also on online.
So you can also read about what the, the, the student groups were thinking about when they created their memorials well, um, and how they, and how they did that. Um, and the, the project, um, in Harlem, um, is not it's. The launch will be in July and then the, uh, book is coming after that, the exhibition, the online exhibition in the book are coming following that that will be fall spring of next year.
The exhibition will be first I'm sure. Cause that's the easier part than publishing an online book, um, is much more involved. So I can send you those links as, as things come up, if that's of interest,
David (he/him): uh, thank you so much for all of the wisdom and experiences that you've shared, but now it's time for the questions that everybody answers when they come on this podcast.
So in your own words, define restorative justice.
Jill Strauss (she/her): Restorative justice is making things right to the best of our ability.
David (he/him): Mm-hmm yeah. As you've been doing this work, what's been an oh shit moment. And what did you
Jill Strauss (she/her): learn? Well, realizing that there are very different expectations. Oh. In the group with the group and, um, um, that
not everybody was wi was willing, even though they had said, you know, not everybody's willing to go to the hard places. They didn't say it quite like that wasn't phrased quite like that. But experiencing that vis again, a visceral experience of just being lashed out at, because they didn't wanna go there.
Um, uh, was enlightening. sure to say the least. Um, now on the one hand, um, I'll say that it's right. You know, um, Part, uh, people in who are being, who are in a group should not be sheep. Right. They, they should speak up and say, no, this isn't okay with MES mm-hmm . But on the other hand, if you say no, this isn't okay with me when things are getting uncomfortable
David (he/him): versus
Jill Strauss (she/her): unsafe.
Right. Well, okay. Now here's the thing about unsafe. I don't know even what that means safe or unsafe, because if does safe mean that you don't, you don't have to hear what you don't want. What makes you uncomfortable? What does, you know, how do we feel? I think there's a difference between feeling respected and feeling unsafe.
Hmm. Right. Um, I don't wanna feel unsafe either. It's it doesn't feel good, but how am I gonna learn UN unless how am I gonna learn? Yeah. And, um, so, and. Who gets to decide what's safe. so again, the individual should decide it's it's this is complicated. You wanna know shit moment. All of these are all shit moments because they're hard.
Yeah. It, all of this is hard. And that doesn't mean we don't keep trying.
I think one of the challenges of being virtual is that we can't, we don't get that closure. We don't get those opportunities to hug each other in spite of our differences. Right. We don't get, um, that chance to say, you know, I, I disagree with everything that just happened here, but I respect you as a person.
And, um, and I, and I'm grateful for our relationship. We don't, we don't get to show that. Yeah. Um, and yeah, so that's what I'm living with right now. Like how to, how to fix that. Cause there was a lot of harm caused mm-hmm not just by me. Right. But there was a lot of harm caused, but, and I did cause some of it, um, and I have to own that and um, you know, and, and what needs need to be met now and what are their obligations yeah.
To go with that. And I, and I'm trying to figure that out. Yeah. And hopefully by the time, and I can't do it by myself, of course. I'm sorry, what were you
David (he/him): say? Oh, and hopefully by the time this airs, um, some of those things will be addressed and, um, move forward in a, in a good way.
Jill Strauss (she/her): Yeah. Or not, you know, but um, hopefully leaving people with some food for.
David (he/him): Yeah,
Jill Strauss (she/her): absolutely. Certainly I am left with that.
David (he/him): this next question might be equally as hard, but for different reasons, uh, you get to sit in circle with four people living your dead. Who are they? And what is the question you asked the circle?
Jill Strauss (she/her): So I'm sorry, what missed the
David (he/him): last part? So four people living your dead, um, who are they?
And then what is the one question you ask that circle of
Jill Strauss (she/her): people? So do I have to name them? I would wanna be in circle with my good friends that I don't, who I don't get to see anymore. Sure. Okay. just cause it's an opportunity to be in, in circle with them, um, and to have conversations with them. Um, and, and what would be the question?
David (he/him): Um, so four of your good friends and what's the questions
Jill Strauss (she/her): you ask them? What I would like to know what they love most in the world. Mm-hmm
David (he/him): yeah. What do you love most in the world?
Jill Strauss (she/her): My niece and my nephew and my cat. No, or no hierarchy there.
David (he/him): Beautiful. Thank you. Thank you. You didn't know I was gonna turn that back around on you.
Um, what is one thing that you want everyone listening to know might be a mantra, might be an affirmation, might be something different
Jill Strauss (she/her): as hard. Here's that word hard again? Right. Uh, let me find it, let me find a synonym as difficult as it can be sometimes to give everyone the benefit of the doubt that we are all doing the best that we can.
David (he/him): Um, this one requires a little bit of homework for you. Who's one person that I should have on the podcast and you have to help me get them
Jill Strauss (she/her): on.
Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. There there's a woman she worked with. I wonder if she's still there? I didn't know. Erica had left. Okay. Um, a lot has happened. um, yeah. So I need to give that some thought then. Yeah. Sounds like some people have moved jobs and so on.
David (he/him): Absolutely. Um, Well last final question. We've mentioned some of them already, but how, and where can people support you in your work, in the ways that you wanna be supported?
Jill Strauss (she/her): Please take a look at my, my students work and, um, uh, the Harlem members work. Um, the, the, when I say the work, I mean their memorials , uh, when, when they're up and online and please leave your comments there, there are spaces, uh, your affirmations, you know, uh, would be, are appreciated. Um, And I guess if you have the courage, read my articles.
I dunno. tell me what you think. The good, the bad, the ugly
David (he/him): beautiful. Well, we'll link a lot of . Well, I don't know that we're gonna have people signing up for college courses, but we'll definitely link of your students work. And some of your writing, uh, in the show notes, that'd be great for folks to engage in.
Also the book, um, listening to the movement is available for sale. Um, but thank you so much. Oh, go ahead. Oh,
Jill Strauss (she/her): and I was gonna say slavery's descendants shared legacies of race and reconciliation, uh, which, um, which I don't think I gave the title for before, when I was talking about the book that's, uh, uh, 25 contributors from coming to the table.
Descendants of enslaved in enslaves. Yes. That would be great. Read that book please.
David (he/him): Yes. Um, and definitely get, just pull that up and we'll definitely get that in the show notes as well. Um, anything else you wanna leave? The people.
Jill Strauss (she/her): I appreciate your everyone who does listen to listen to this. I appreciate you David, very much for the invitation and again, your patience
Um, and, um, yeah. And, and your commitment to the work mm-hmm well, and getting the word out about other people's work, right. Because you're using your efforts to, to, um, amplify amplify. Yes. I was about to say make visible, but I knew that that wasn't the right word, amplify other people's efforts. And so, um, and so that is a G the kind of a gift that keeps on giving.
David (he/him): Yeah. Beautiful. Well, again, Jill, thank you so much for your stories, your wisdom, your experiences. Um, it's been fun and I know people learned a lot, um, to everyone else. Who's listening. Thank you. Thank you for being here. And, uh, we'll be back with another conversation with someone living this restorative justice life next week until then take care.
Jill Strauss (she/her): Thank you, Jill. There's a lot we can learn from this. And one thing I really wanted to point out was the episode title and the title of the chapter. Jill is the co-editor of slavery's descendants, shared legacies of race and reconciliation, shared legacies, shared legacies, shared legacies. We often talk about feature ancestors and tying back our indigenous roots to these restorative practices.
And we always have a lot of shared legacies that also have a lot of intersection between race, racism, and oppression. How can we balance reckoning with the past, with pushing forward for the future? Another conversation that I was having that relates to shared legacies is about future ancestors. One of the things amplify RJ does and has on our merch and a lot of our different platforms is future ancestors.
You can definitely join and check out our merch on our website. But one thing about future ancestors is, um, for me personally, I'm someone who is adopted and, um, has not a super strong tie to blood ancestry. And I think this also relates to the idea of shared legacies, because legacy is a way to honor history without necessarily having it be ancestry.
And I do wanna broaden the idea of ancestry when I think of ancestry, I think of love not blood ancestry is of love. Not specifically of blood by expanding our definition of ancestry, expanding our definition and understanding of shared legacies. We can learn a lot from this episode 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. Or if you're old school, tell a friend, it really helps us further amplify this work. You can also support us by following us on our social platforms, signing up for our email list, signing up for a community gathering workshop, or course so many options links to everything in the show notes or on our website.
Amplify rj.com. Thanks so much for listening. We'll talk to you next week.