This Restorative Justice Life

123. Creating Restorative Spaces for Florida Youth w/ Quincie "Q" Doucet

August 17, 2023 David Ryan Castro-Harris
This Restorative Justice Life
123. Creating Restorative Spaces for Florida Youth w/ Quincie "Q" Doucet
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

"Q" is an experienced facilitator, rooted in restorative practices, who is an expert in crafting containers for community to listen, reflect, create, and witness each other with presence and depth to inspire what is possible. Quincie has collaborated with a myriad of communities, organizations, and universities/colleges to develop and deliver programming that is tailored to a community’s need/curiosity. They are also a founder of Unity 360 Institute working toward offering customized, experiential training workshops and technical assistance for institutions, companies and organizations to guide them toward intentional representation and an inclusive transformative culture.

Our conversation takes an insightful turn as we reflect on our own childhood experiences and how they've led us to the path of restorative justice. We dive into the power of creating welcoming spaces that make young people’s voices heard and matter. We also unpack the definitions of restorative and transformative justice, the importance of an intergenerational approach, and the potential of RJ to envision a society beyond our current structures.

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Resources: http://frja.org/

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to this Restorative Justice Life. I'm your host, david Ryan, barca, castro, harris all five names for all the ancestors. And today we're continuing our series highlighting dope restorative justice practitioners doing restorative work in the South Q. Welcome to this restorative justice life. Who are you?

Speaker 2:

I am a daughter of the Caribbean, or a child of the Caribbean, depending on the day.

Speaker 1:

Who are you?

Speaker 2:

I am a person that loves to laugh with community.

Speaker 1:

Who are you?

Speaker 2:

I am a facilitator who loves crafting generative spaces.

Speaker 1:

Who are you?

Speaker 2:

I am. This is a great question. I am a lover of all things water.

Speaker 1:

Who are?

Speaker 2:

you. I am a person that's trying to leave the world a little bit better than when I got it.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, who are you?

Speaker 2:

I am a believer in the little miracles that happen every day.

Speaker 1:

And finally for now, who are you?

Speaker 2:

I am Quinty Demianna de Setberin for all the ancestors.

Speaker 1:

We're gonna get to the intersections of so many of those things throughout our conversation, but I just want to say up front, part of us doing this series highlighting restorative justice practitioners doing work in the South is to support the upcoming restorative justice conference, the remix gathering coming up in October. Do you want to tell the people a little bit about that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you so much for queuing that up. So for JAW, the Florida Restorative Justice Association will be holding a conference called the Deep South Conference RJ the Remix and that will be happening October 20th through the 22nd and we're hoping to have a gathering of folks who are practicing RJs in all different remixes and ways hence the title and offering some workshops to kind of orient folks around what those things look like around the country, with a kind of specific focus on what that work might look like here in the South. But of course, everybody's welcome and yeah, that's the conference that's coming up. Check out freeraworg to sign up.

Speaker 1:

Beautiful, beautiful and you know, over the course of this conversation we'll be highlighting some of the work that you're doing in, you know, the US geographic South, specifically in South Florida, but before we get to any of that, it's good to check in. So, to the fullest extent that you want to answer the question, how are you?

Speaker 2:

That's a great question. Thank you for asking it. I am, I'm doing well, I'm in light spirits right now. It's it's. It's not one of these rainy weeks in South Florida, it's one of these sunny ones, so just trying to relish in the sunshine of it all, how about?

Speaker 1:

you how?

Speaker 2:

are you David?

Speaker 1:

Oh well, thank you for asking. You know this conversation is going to air a little bit after we're actually recording this, but I am in the midst of doing a lot of work supporting schools as they're getting started to set off on the right foot, doing restorative justice work or like implementing restorative justice work. So, subtle plug, if you are part of a school or you know, I work with all kinds of organizations who are interested in doing this kind of work in your community. How about your boy? And check out the links down below to learn about the ways that you can learn as an individual or learn on a community level.

Speaker 1:

So the stress of that is relevant and present. But I'm really locked in, ready to have this conversation with you. We've been chatting before we started hitting record and I was like come on, come on, stop that we got to get this on. So let's get to it. You know you've been doing restorative justice work for a minute now, longer than you even knew the word restorative justice. So, from your own perspective, how did this journey get started for you?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great question, Thank you.

Speaker 2:

I feel, and I feel like I've always had faith in the ways that communities are able to relate with each other and I just feel like there's a certain magic to that.

Speaker 2:

And so I noticing, in the reflection of us talking to you beforehand, that everything in terms of the work that I've done, but really even the networks that I've operated in, has to do with how do we fortify our relationships with each other.

Speaker 2:

And when it comes to the work that I've done, where there's a lot of overlap in youth development work and empowering youth, or really empowering youth, I think it's more allowing youth the space and place to see how their magic can amplify all great things. And sometimes that takes a level of support from one another and your peers, who are kind of in it with you and that phase with you, to be able to do so. And so, in all the things that I've ever done, there has been a specific way that we move through process in which we try to get everybody or we always get everybody's voices who might be impacted by a certain situation, a certain thing, come together collectively to try to figure out what are some of the moves that we want to make and be intentional about supporting that person along to fulfilling whatever that plan looks like, and so yeah, yeah, what were some of the early models of that?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, so that's a great question. I used to be funny enough when I was in high school this is so fun, okay. When I was in high school I went to a private school. For high school I've done all iterations of I went public, charter and private. The last couple of years of when I was in school I was in a private school and I was a facilitator for, like a peer facilitator for eighth graders, ninth graders, like with the younger crew of folks, and so that is what I.

Speaker 2:

It's a while because this is just coming to me now, but one of the things that we used to do is, if there was conflict, that at a moment and in the retreats that we would hold, there would be specific spaces and places where we would have folks in smaller groups kind of think through what is it that has been really heavy in terms of the dynamics that they've had with their peers in their classes, and provide some space for folks to reflect in different mediums, like a writing space or like a shouting corner or like we even have like a like how are you moving it out of your body? And then created spaces for folks at facilitated and mediated spaces for folks to have those conversations if those folks are actually on the retreat with them. So I think that that is one of the first like early, early trainings that I didn't even realize, whereas a part of this like longer lineage of how communities have been moving through a sort of practice for beyond a millennia. So I think that's the earliest that I can think through.

Speaker 1:

For sure. So you know, like from the early, early years, like that was something that you knew was available to you, but like what made you want to step into that kind of space? What was it about those spaces that were like, oh, this might be a little something that I'm interested in learning more about.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, this is. These are great questions. I you know I wouldn't say that I was, and I've since actually learned. Shout out to Kimberly Crenshaw and all these folks that do work in terms of folks who are socializes as femme, growing up and mad, curious and loud, such as myself, I would have been categorized, especially in the public school system, when I in the mind games county school, so that I grew up in as a child who was like a bad child and I spent a lot of time in like principal's offices or like indoor suspension or detention, and a lot of it was there was no space for me to have a conversation about what went down. There was no space for, and I think it was really hammered down that what you thought and what you think does not matter. This is what needs to happen and you need to follow in line and without context or a conversation.

Speaker 2:

I've, since I found out it's very difficult for even adults, in some of the processes that I moved through, to be held to that expectation, and I think, from very young, there was an understanding that, even though you know I grew up in a Dominican, haitian household, my parents did not play that being in trouble at that rate, though I had pretty decent grades, I did know that the conversations that I was having with my friends about what was going down or even the ways in which there was this expectation of like you could treat youth in any way, shape or form because, yeah, there's just not anything valid to say, it's just really it's like a militarized way of like getting them to a certain point just isn't a way that is conducive to how fun and inspiring being in a collective and a space that's like social and also like about learning can be.

Speaker 2:

And so I think I started actually doing that facilitation stuff in eighth grade and I think it was about there's something really really magical and like still feeds my soul about being in small groups and making creating space for folks to have this understanding, and especially young folks to have this understanding that you're not only to do your voice matter but you are the expert of your own experience and that expertise can be used to channel and fill out any vision that you have for the questions that you're having about what the world looks like, and you are deserving to have a space to be able to show that out. And I think, like when I got that first taste of what that looks like. I just couldn't let it go. And when I was after I love college and I was trying to explain to folks what I do, I was like, essentially, like I'm just the still the same facilitator, I'm just getting paid to do it now. So I think that that's where that comes from.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, which is a labor issue and an equity issue that doesn't always get addressed. We can circle back to that in a little bit. But when we think about you know the conditions that led you to being that person who was able to like develop those skills. You know, I imagine part of your work now is like coaching and helping adults like create those spaces. But what was it for you as a child, as a young person, that like made those spaces welcoming, inviting? What were the things that adults did that were like oh, this is something that like is for me bad. Child that I am.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think it took also like. I think it took adults who were grounded and had an understanding that and a belief that youth can do it. I will say there was friction. You know, there was a certain point where I was asked to be and had to go through like this in the, in interviewing rounds of sorts, to be what they called. I don't know what they called. It was like a peer minister, which is essentially just like I'm no minister, you know but essentially is just like you get to really be at the helm of crafting what these things look like.

Speaker 2:

And even though the folks that ran that program were like I think he would be fantastic for it, the school administration stripped me of the title because they were like you can't have this person as like an example, but that looks like. And so I think it took adults who were willing to ace it back and understand that they, just because you've lived a longer life, doesn't mean that you're the expert on how to exist and create space for young people to be able to collaborate and coordinate with each other, to kind of get into the group of what existings can look like, what looks like right now and what it can look like in the future. So I think it took adults and even in the adults that I work with now, because part of the things I I the evolution of the works that I've, the work that I've done is coaching coaches to do kind of this similar work is a lot of having those conversations it's like but how are you relishing in their expertise and how are you creating space for that to be aired out?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, this idea of expertise and buzzword like authority right is really tricky. I know you've been appreciating the episodes we've recently put out reflecting on Abba Elementary and there's this discussion that popped off in one of the comment sections of one of the videos that we put out around, something that happened in episode 13 of season one and I'll like highlight it here, just for your sake and for the viewers who haven't quite listened or watched again.

Speaker 1:

Go watch those videos, go listen, share it with all your educator friends as an easy on road to learning about restorative justice.

Speaker 1:

Plug over right in season one, episode 13. It's the end of the season. They're on this zoo field trip. Barbara and Janine are having this conversation on the bus and in the back of the bus the kids are being rowdy and Janine stands up and yells sit down, yeah right. And Barbara is taken back and like that is on the show seen as a moment of like oh, janine has arrived as a teacher and Polina and I, in the context of that discussion, were like Okay, I'm not saying that there is never a time to raise your voice, but what is the impact of that? What are the dynamics that are being perpetuated, right?

Speaker 1:

I think, Felina, in the context of that conversation she was saying that you know, I had a moment like that and the student came back and he was like I'm not a dog, right, like why?

Speaker 2:

are you like?

Speaker 1:

treating me like that. Right, students have this ability to like have conversations with you, young students, right? What are the things that this that Janine and Barbara didn't do as the students came onto the bus that like, hey, we do need to like be in our seats, we do need to be like some level of quiet for our own safety and like what is the thing that we could have done that reminded students of that instead of?

Speaker 1:

Yeah commanding them Right, these dynamics that adults have right Just because we are more experienced in the world, just because we have XYZ job title, like we expect this level of like, quote, unquote, authority and respect, or, like you know, and I'm not saying that like we are not worthy of respect, but it has to go both ways.

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

We're dealing with young people who are also full of life experience, who are also valuable, contributing members to your community. And what are the things that you need to do in order to create the conditions right. It sounds like in your case the conditions.

Speaker 2:

David create the conditions.

Speaker 1:

All right, it sounded like you had some teachers, adults, in your life. You're like, yeah, like we believe in you, and then like administrators, like, no, we need like those. We need people who are like our peer ministers, peer counselors, whatever title you're calling them, like to be like these pristine, like angelic like do no wrong ever Right.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, yeah, exactly, exactly. I appreciate you bringing up that example because I feel I had a similar situation that happened with a student and it was in one of these programming sessions that I was in, where we were working with these students and, like I think the other part of what you're sharing is the challenge in trying to navigate in a different way is that the training in order to get to these quote unquote like spaces, is a programming tool of itself that flattens and makes a narrow vision as to how you can relate to a student, right, and so you're also fighting like train, you're kind of unprogramming, while the programming is still trying to like telling you that this is the only way to move. I had a situation where I was working with a student and a student we all got off the bus it's a while these things always happen on a bus and my one of the students that were in this collective, this cohort of folks that were going to go off to school together, it was like I have some really hard news and I would like to share it with my group, and as the student was talking this, this other person in their cohort just started laughing and, like set a joke, probably wasn't paying attention to this, and I got very stern, which the students are not accustomed to. Me be like snapping almost right was just like did you just hear what this person said? Why are you reacting in this way? And I could just see kind of that person shrink into themselves.

Speaker 2:

And the day or two afterwards I actually called them into a one on one and we had a conversation about what that looked like and the storytelling behind what happened and they're also their own processing of what happens when these really heavy things are shared was not something I was creating space for in that moment.

Speaker 2:

And even though it's funny, because I've had this conversation with my own Barbara in my my world, where they're like I don't know why you even have to have that one on one, and I was like this person was acting out of pocket and you clocked it in that moment and I was like, yes, but if something similar would have happened to an adult, I would never say that like I would have never just snapped.

Speaker 2:

I probably would have pulled somebody to the side in that moment. I would have said yo did, you know, you know, and so why not extend that same courtesy to a young person, if, especially if, these are the values that we're saying, that we're trying to move through and share with students, and so I think you're absolutely sharing the same emotions and the containers that we're creating for folks to have an understanding of how we're trying to move. It's not always going to work like you're sharing, but it is an important question to constantly be reflecting about, especially in such an important position like supporting the, the shaping of what a student will will experience in their education.

Speaker 1:

I understand, like all the structural barriers to having those conversations right. A lot of times people like well, where's the time to do that right?

Speaker 2:

Right.

Speaker 1:

You create the time that the time for the things that are important for you. And if, like, that's not an important priority for your school or for your organization, or for the culture of the space that you're working in, like, I understand, like, why you might be resistant to that and that's why we're saying, hey, let's challenge this idea of authority and the way that we are with students, like as a whole, right, like it can't just be on like individuals to like correct behavior, but like individuals, do have choice individuals do have agency and decide to uphold these values moment to moment or not.

Speaker 2:

None of us are ever going to get it perfectly.

Speaker 1:

And when we are imperfect, when we fall short of doing that, we can always make amends, we can always repair right and sort of justice. Work is about engaging in that process of building, strengthening as well as repairing relationships when harm occurs and you know we all cause harm in those in circumstances Exactly. You know we talked about like the informal ways you were introduced to these ideas, but when did capital R, capital J come on to your preview?

Speaker 2:

I was in like a like a two week training for RJ and it was actually RJ, trans, rjtj, transformative justice, collab, and it was just like a couple of folks in the like organization that I was working for is like one of these things, you know you can add this certificate or whatever. And so I did that training and though I was really grateful for the fun, like the foundations that were provided in those spaces, I was really curious how this could happen in practice and specifically like community structures versus like this organization that I was working with. And that's actually where I met Jay, who I think is going to be showing up on another episode, actually Jay and Cindy, who I think is going to also be showing up on another episode.

Speaker 1:

And so if you will last week, cindy will be next week.

Speaker 2:

Next week. Okay, I'm in the center, but we were part of this restorative justice, transformative justice, it was. That was the crux of what we were working through. It was a gender based violence training that happened. I think that also was like a two week or, but it also tied into us building out programming, which is really cool. So it was a very specific ask in terms of how are you sharing back these skills and how are you applying the skills and not share back? And so I think, whereas I did have like a formal training, I think that that one was a lot more impact.

Speaker 2:

I was very impacted by that training because, first off, it was intergenerational. So there were young people who on that and also like grandmothers that were up there like kind of circling, and then you know actual parents that were having conversations with us and moving to these different exercises, and it really expanded my understanding of how RJ practices, practices can work. Outside of like let's write this into a policy, it's like no, well, how does this actually work when we relate to one another? So I did that training and then I had another, like I had a couple different iterations of formalized training and then the next formal training was working with an organization because I was part of a part of facilitating a restorative justice diversion program, and so then figuring out okay, so how are our P's going to work when braided with the state expectation, which is a very interesting? Yeah, it was a very interesting task, and so those are the iterations of my formal training.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and so I guess I do ask this question typically towards the end, but I think it's worth saying now as it stands. Now, like, what is your understanding of restorative justice? How do you define it for yourself?

Speaker 2:

for myself, okay, I for me. This is fun because I've been thinking a lot more of a sort of practice, so it's interesting to like zoom back out a bit. I think that restorative justice is a way to get to some sort of homeostasis, to move towards transformative justice. How do we kind of get to a place of it starts with an H homeostasis within a community network, to then be able to get to a place where we can imagine, beyond whatever implications we were dealing with, that fed into us having to deal with set harm in the first place? I think that right now that's where I'm at.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I guess it bears asking how do you find to find transformative justice then?

Speaker 2:

So much fun. Okay. Transformative justice, I think, is envisioning the strong and this is not I don't have the technical term on hand because I'm no academic but for me, transformative justice, where restorative justice is, how do we figure out a way to get back to or to create a space where we're, at this, like homeostasis, this like feeling, for the most part, balance. I think transformative justice is like okay, now, how do we reimagine the structures that are at play, that fueled the harm that God has? That kind of that fueled us having to do our day in the first place or our piece in the first place.

Speaker 2:

I think an example of that would be for me, like a student who stole a purse in a school and it was a teacher's purse, and we would move through like a restorative process to, kind of men, figure out how we can be accountable to the harm. What are some action plans that can build out as a collective and as community representation to be able to remedy said harm and move to a place of accountability. And then I think the step of transformative justice is to say Okay, but like some of the things that the student was sharing in the circle is that they come to school hungry, that they don't have the resources to like come to school in uniform, and so how are we reimagining the barriers to how that student can look like with? Maybe we need a pantry, maybe we need a community, we need some sort of community program. That's happening here. So I think maybe it's a stepping stone, sounds too linear, but to me that's kind of the domino effect, if that makes sense.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, that totally makes sense. I just wanted people have a grasp of, like, what you mean when you say these words for the purposes of our conversation because you know part of doing restorative justice work is, like you know, collaborative community agreement and so like.

Speaker 1:

As we're having this specific conversation right now, like what is it that we mean when we throw around those terms and you know, when I'm thinking about you, know the specific applications of this work like it will change context to context, from gender based violence to, you know, youth empowerment to whatever's happening in schools, what's happening in diversion programs, which I wouldn't label restorative justice. That's just diversion, which is a harm reduction thing. Jay, and I talked about that on the last episode. If you haven't watched that, go tune into that. But when we think about you, know the way that this work has played out in your life, right?

Speaker 1:

What are some of the things that you have like learned that have been like super important to like practicing well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great question, because I had a moment where I was doing all of this community. Well, I'm always doing community work and I I felt like I had this moment where I was just like, how am I turning this inward to my family network? Like, can I say that I do all this stuff in practice, even though, like, I work through it in my French, my friend circle, my chosen family circle, and do I apply it to the first network that I have is ever a part of you know? And so there have been instances, instances that have happened in my family, where I literally have been like All right, we're about to do a circle and you know I'm, my family is always like here we go, here's the college degree I have to do, you know, I have to come across.

Speaker 2:

And I think one of the things that are important and it's funny because, jane, I were just talking about this is that there are different levels of success that should be lauded as such, and I'm not just about getting to the end game of who we got to this.

Speaker 2:

We got to a community circle and then we got to this action plan and this person did the action plan, and that's what success looks like it's.

Speaker 2:

The presentation of having this as an option to folks is a success in and of itself, especially the underserved and marginalized communities that we work in, because when those alternative considerations are not typically offered at scale, and the ways that we're trying to work to have those things and other organizations that will be joining your problem, your podcast is trying to offer it's also like a person sharing that they have been harmed and feeling in, validated and reassured in.

Speaker 2:

That is another measure of success. A person that you know has committed the harm, having a conversation to even think through, okay, like I guess this accountability process is interesting, even if they say no Again, bringing that up is another measure of success. And so I think not being boggled by the end game, which for me can be time a burger. So I'm like how do we check all of the boxes? It would be great if all the boxes get checked off, but that can't be the only measure of success, and I think the other thing that ties specifically to that is active listening, and I know that that can be a buzzword, but listening to understand versus listening to react to a thing because you've got a resource, or I'm really excited. It's like how are you just understanding the testimony that's happening in the moment and then being intentional about how you're tailing, the way that you move through a flow to support it?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, those definitions like active listening, buzzwords, like reflective listening, like intellectual empathy, right. Like those are things that like are important to like define for people. Those are important skills to build for folks. But wanting to sit with like the breadth of what you just shared is like things that are important, right, like there are lots of ways to measure Quote-unquote success when we're doing restorative justice work and it's not necessarily conducive to what Institutions are wanting right, like they want outcomes right.

Speaker 1:

They want Consequences right. And you know another word that we can redefine consequences right. When people say consequences, they often mean punishment right, reactions that will happen to somebody because they did a thing right. But we know that consequence is Consequence, like whatever happens after, with sequence right. So the consequence of somebody like doing this action has been like now they have greater self-awareness of, like, the harm that they caused and like, while we might not have a action plan in this moment, right, that is something that is worth celebrating.

Speaker 1:

The consequence of of XYZ harm happening, right, let's say it's. You know, this teacher and student, like this teacher who had their personal and like the student Understanding, like the impact that they had on that teacher and like the teacher being able to express to the student like the broken trust, the fear and like the concern that they have for themselves and their community when their belongings go missing. Right, and I don't know like the specific conditions of you know that that specific story, and that's not necessarily what this conversation is about, but you know, those things are success in and of themselves, right. Whether or not that student repeats that behavior again is also important, right.

Speaker 1:

We don't want students stealing it again stealing from other people right, but like does detention prevent them from doing that right? Does suspension prevent them from doing that either?

Speaker 1:

Exactly, right so what are the ways that we're making sure that, like, we're addressing the underlying needs right? Yeah, food, is food accessible? Is food it our school meals funded in your state? Maybe that's not the level of Conversation that you're having, maybe it's. What are the things that you know, these people here who care about you in this space, can do to make sure that you come to school fed? What are the things that we can do to support you in building your life skills to like hey, remember to eat before you come to school.

Speaker 1:

Or like here the places that you can go. I'm reflective of a of a peer conference, similar situation that I had with the student, not For stealing, but like who is habitually late, right, and that's because they were new to the, they were new to the neighborhood and they were going to the closest corner store that they knew Before they went to school and so, like they were just late and you know this is a student who Definitely needs coaching. This is a young person who, like, definitely needs coaching on, like, planning out your day and getting places on time so you're not missing learning.

Speaker 1:

Like we can lecture that student all we want, but like, hey, is there another corner store that you can go to? That's on the way. That's not putting you like 10 minutes behind, yeah right, like maybe that's part of the conversation, instead of like nope, detention because you're late, oh, we're docking your grades because you didn't turn in your homework on time, xyz, xyz. They're just so many ways that we can start to like Really address those root causes, instead of just like slapping somebody with a Consequence, aka punishment.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, cuz to your point it doesn't work, you know, and if you're to your point, you're just like. You're kind of just like putting your hand on all these like holes in the ship and just hoping that we're gonna get to destination and it that's not always the case and I often think I know that you're gonna have power, you on here, and Jose, and there was a. We just ended up having a conversation with the school board and he'll I will let him talk about like how dope the work is of young people advocating for RJ to be part of the budget of the school board. But what I noticed in my time there in supporting power you and their requests was there, they open it up with this. Why they're there, basically, and they're like. You know, we're here for students to feel like they are safe and for students to feel like they can build the skills that they want, and they can build the skills that are necessary to do the things that they want. The world is essentially how they started it off, and my response to them was and when you were able to share different testimony, it was like I think it's very exciting that that is the reason why everybody's here and it's always really excited to be in a space where there's a collective goal, much like when you know You're in an RJ circle, because there's always a collective goal. You know tying those things together.

Speaker 2:

But in order to in Be informed as to how a student might feel safe and to know what tool students will need, you need the students voice to be able to do that. And so in what ways are you leaning at going back to this expertise and what ways are you leaning into the students expertise to be able to craft intentional spaces and containers and and tools for students to both feel safe and also do exactly what you're claiming that you want them to do, which is to do what they want to do in the world, and that, you know I don't think it ruffled any feathers, but they're definitely was just like uh-huh, you know, which is fair. That happens a lot, you know, and a lot of different use spaces that I've worked in when I'm like okay, but like what do they? You think about this? No, I think what do the youth think about this?

Speaker 2:

That's a great question. It's like oh, you're just gonna throw this policy on them and like not have any information. I think to your point there. What I love also about working with youth is that there is a level of expansiveness that just feels inherent, and If you are creating space for that expensive to shine through from youth, you can also, to your point, reflect that back in what you know are options in this space. That would then be like a skill share situation for a young person and an adult to move through.

Speaker 1:

So I think that's a fantastic, fantastic point and like Are our institutions, our organizations Used to creating those spaces? No, they're not right there like very much top-down hey adults have this idea. Adults discovered this resource and we're gonna implement it because, like, that's the greatest new thing, it's data-driven, blah, blah, blah, blah. Students like get on board.

Speaker 2:

Yeah right, I'm an elementary. Get on this iPad.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I like thinking about like so many Examples in Abbott. Again, if you have gone and watch the, go back and rewatch them, because I think the thing that keeps coming up over and over In that show is people making decisions on behalf of other people. Right, we see Admin it like. We see Eva doing that for the school as a whole.

Speaker 1:

We see you know Janine and Jacob Other of the staff like making decisions on behalf of their other colleagues or on behalf of their students, without that consultation, and that's so real and that happens all the time within organizations, within schools, and sometimes those are great resources, really well intentioned. Those are the things that should happen other times and like people will feel good about it other times Do. That's the right thing that happened, but the way that you went about doing that just rubs people the wrong way.

Speaker 1:

Yeah right like making them feel disenfranchised, making them feel like they don't have power, making it feel like their Perspectives and their needs aren't important. They just wanted an opportunity to be able to share. There are other times when the thing as well intentioned as it was, right is Actually harmful for your community. Right, we can talk about the iPad episode. We can talk about the community garden episode. We can talk about the, the art episode we can talk about like the gifted program episode.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, where Janine is like no, they're gonna be friends.

Speaker 1:

Oh, we haven't got to that one. That one's in season two okay.

Speaker 1:

Right. But like this culture of making decisions for youth right, leading to permission, permissiveness, or like Enabling, like harmful behavior, or like doing things to young people like in a punitive way, right, like high expectations, no support, it is also damaging. Like you know, your work is broadly defined as Youth development with a restorative justice lens. You know your work is broadly defined as Youth development with a restorative, transformative justice lens. What are the ways that adults, many of whom are listening to this podcast Can do to share power with young people as specifically as you can tell us?

Speaker 2:

yeah, yeah, I mean, funny enough this might be. This might not be a Great way to answer this. I Don't know why this image is coming to my head. There's this movie called I think it's the dead poet society with Robin Williams, and there's this scene where Robin Williams is supposed to be teaching I think it's English and and instead of it coming from what I think is like you traditionally see, which is like here's, here's a notes on the board. Here, it's like okay, here's this word. What do you think about this word? When you like, break it down, what does it sound like? I can't remember if it's that movie or another movie where he's a teacher in that way, but I Guess I bring that example up to say in what way and maybe soliciting is not the right word either, but like, in what ways are you Creating space for students to bring in their own ideas about a thing in the world?

Speaker 2:

It's hard to build relationships with someone if you're not actually in creating space to be engaged in who they are. I find and what I would say is kind of my specialty, just because it makes me really excited to do is having interactive spaces. So I think about I've had to facilitate and teach classes at this college, and it was specifically about job readiness skills and stuff that we were trying to for students that were specifically going to these, these different internships for these different organizations corporations, actually Microsoft and all of those and the ways in which we worked on these job skills was to put students in small groups to have a conversation about what is intimidating about this girl, so like, for example, at the end of that, one of the things that happened as a staple in that program is that they have to come up with a business plan for a product that they create and it has to be in front of it happens, in front of like the heads of these banks and like the heads of marketing for these different things that are actually judging these young people that have built a thing. And before, when I came into the program, the ways in which that was handed to students was just like you're going to have this business plan get ready. You're going to kind of have to get over your fear or whatever and push past it because it's going to have to happen. The ways in which I was really excited to remix it was okay, like so we're going to build this out to like a three month skill by skill buildup, and the only way that we can create a tailored way of addressing these issues was to be like okay, so historically, when we look at the data and we do the feedback surveys, young people have a really big challenge with speaking in large groups because this happens in auditoriums and feel very intimidated about their ideas being worth sharing in that scale. And so, okay, we have that data and it's also it's just because of the power dynamics. I find it's easier for students to talk to each other about a thing and then have that in a large process having a conversation. So what is intimidating about speaking? We're going to break you up in five groups and you all can talk to each other about what that looks like, and then in 10 minutes, we're going to bring folks together and you're going to identify a person from your group to speak and reflect back what was shared. And then we're putting all this stuff literally I'm writing all these things on the board and then we are collaborating to create okay. So like what if y'all were able to practice for six weeks, like, if this is your challenge, would that feel a little bit better?

Speaker 2:

And I know that I also am coming from. That's a standpoint of privilege because I'm not operating under especially hearing Florida. There's a rigidness of testing that has to happen. Like you know, that's how funding gets. I'm sure it happens in all these places, but it's something that's really a big concern here in Florida, like getting these it's not called FCAT anymore, but whatever standardized tests that they have to prep for and being at the helm of that program I had a lot of space to craft what the curriculum looks like in those spaces and to rewrite a lot of the curriculum.

Speaker 2:

So I know that that's a place of privilege and I do think it's an invitation to think through in what ways are other. You know, some of the things that are still embedded in my brain is how, like my fifth grade math teacher made thinking about money an interactive session where we're building a town with each other and we kind of have to come as a group to figure out how we're gonna build these supplies to do this project. You know, together and each of us have our little coins, but it's like an interactive way of talking to each other and you're getting feedback in an organic way. So I know that I'd like going on a spiel a bit, but that would be. I think that that has been tried and true in everything that I've done, and that's with youth, but also in doing a lot of. I've built and offered a lot of community workshops, and that has also like. Adults love that too, you know. So that's what I would, that's what I would offer. I hope that's helpful.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and I think you know the specifics of that. Like it might say, it might be like break people into small groups and ask a question that like is like on, not like the deepest level, but like a service level that will like allow some ideas to start percolating and then like you can go deeper and deeper and have like larger group discussions, like that's just good facilitation, right, and those things are transferable from place to place to place in circumstances, right, like with people in general and, you know, young people specifically, right.

Speaker 1:

But what comes out of those spaces is like the key and right. You have to be responsive to that right, they're gonna surface these because, like you can't just like hear what they say, I'm like all right cool.

Speaker 2:

No one's have the next thing Right right right? Well, let's shit it. Well, let's shit it. Yeah, absolutely.

Speaker 1:

Right, like we have to make sure that. Like, if people tell us things, if people tell us their needs, if young people tell us their needs, like, all right, let's figure out ways to, you know, meet those needs and you can be honest about the limitations that you have. Right.

Speaker 1:

I think you know, when you're thinking about the people who are listening to this, who are in institutions and organizations where they do have limits on, like, what they can teach in their curriculum, what time they have to allot to XYZ. One part of your conditioning as a restorative justice practitioner maybe as an abolitionist is to say, like well, what are the ways that I can be trained in the system in order to, like, do the thing that I believe is right?

Speaker 1:

That's one thing and if we wanna have that conversation, we can. But two, it's to say to the people that you're working with I wanna build a classroom, I wanna build a community here where we can be responsive to each other's needs. Right, you all have voiced some things that the rules of this school, the rules of this institution, the policies that we have in place, like, don't allow us to do so. One of the things that we can do instead that will help us get to that a little bit closer?

Speaker 2:

right.

Speaker 1:

You know that vulnerability goes a long way, like it shows those young people that like, hey, you're on their side and we're in this together. We're struggling against, like this institution, this programming, like these guardrails that have been set for us together, but like, what is the thing that we can do to make this the best we can with what we have right? That might be like a little bit more of like that restorative space where, like, what is the homeostasis that we can find in these conditions? A transformative lens of saying, like, well, what is the thing that we can like re-create?

Speaker 1:

Like a little thing that we can burn down and you know there's space for both of those things right Like those kinds of conversations can lead to like student activism and you know, if that's the way that you want to take that, by all means.

Speaker 2:

I go through that way to support your students and that.

Speaker 1:

But you know, making sure that, like, you're building space to surface those stories, surface those needs and then being responsive to them is super important Because, like, if you create those conditions, build their stories, collect their stories and like, do nothing with that, they're like well, I just did that for nothing. This person doesn't care. They're just another adult who wanted to, I don't know power trip. And now that has my stories, has my needs and like how is this gonna come back and bite me later?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think you also bring up a really solid point about modeling what you'd like to see for students, like, I think I was working in a capacity that was trying in some ways to train students to move through a corporate atmosphere, but I also had this challenge. I ran into this like friction of like I am not gonna ask my students to do anything that I would not do, and so you this whole like that there's a certain dress code, that certain like all of this. We're gonna have to figure out a way to make this a model, cause the truth of the matter is that is not how we as staff have to move, and if we're not modeling what these students have to move through, there's also like a well, you're not doing it.

Speaker 2:

Like mix Like if you're not doing it, then why are you gonna have me do it? And I think to your point, the modeling cause I feel I find and I run into a lot when I'm working with now I can just think of them as the barbers in school, but when I'm working with folks who are like there's a poise that I want to model, there is a certain addiction, I think to your point. There's also opportunity to model vulnerability, because that is gonna inform so many great expansion packs to your experience in the classroom.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I love that. You said expansion packs. Yeah, right, there are. Just there are lots of ways to do things and I'm never gonna be the person to tell someone like what they're doing is right or wrong in their context Right.

Speaker 1:

I don't know like as, even as, like a consultant who works with schools, right, Like I'm not gonna like prescribe things, right what restorative justice offers. From the perspective that I've learned over the years and shout out to the homie Denmark who framed it this way for me, Like, restorative justice is both like a lens, yeah, that we look through, but also like a mirror that we get to hold up to ourselves. So, like hey, are our actions like building, strengthening and repairing relationships in this moment and right?

Speaker 1:

for the purposes of whatever context that you're in. Like, maybe professionalism and being buttoned up like is the thing that will like help you build credibility with you know the stakeholders that you're involved with in a given moment, and that's the thing that you should do.

Speaker 1:

right, you can have arguments about, like, whether that's upholding white supremacy by like code switching and conforming into you know those spaces and like I think those are valid theoretical critiques, but like, if you're honest assessment of that, it's like, no, that's actually what's gonna give me credibility with these parents, with my colleagues, with these young people, right, like I think, like that's the move to make and then there are other times to buck that right.

Speaker 1:

And show up as your you know, shout out to some of that was working with the summer, sergio, saying like you're showing up as like your authentic self Right, like there are moments for all of that, and you know there's not a one size meets all, but like when we have that mirror that we're holding up to ourselves, or like that lens that we're looking through, like you know, what is serving the relationships in the space?

Speaker 1:

Who's benefiting from this? How am I able to have the next conversation? Because, like I showed up in XYZ way, like, those are the things that we really should be considering.

Speaker 2:

Yeah.

Speaker 1:

You highlighted, like you know, some of the challenges of doing the work that you do in Florida as it comes to, like you know, school mandates, and you know we can talk a little bit more about that if you want to. When we think about doing restorative justice work with youth, what are some of the challenges that come up for you that like maybe unique to Florida, maybe unique to the South, but like, let's be honest, happen in a lot of other places as well?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. Well, I again like I have a there's. I just want to acknowledge my focus because working with youth, specifically of the age groups of 26 to 17, there and I've done other sprinkled around but like that has been like the core overlap there. This is definitely not just in South Florida, but I and I should say, excuse me not, but some of the challenge I think I run into with working with youth is you kind of brought this up earlier before. It's like how are you? I don't know if I could trust this whole restorative, but I'm not sure if I trust this right frankly. And it's like being steadfast and patient in instances where I'm thinking of certain students who it took probably a year and a half into a program for them to actually lean into being vulnerable enough to move through different stages of restorative practice. But had I not been and not only I, but had the community of folks that we were what we call the learning communities, had we not been intentional in constantly being like we know you have this as an option, we wouldn't have been able to uncover some of the challenges that were going down and figure out how to support in those different ways. So what I do think sometimes we run into is yeah, youth, being like this is just another ploy for you to like get me into some shit and I think the other challenges that it's hard work, like it's heartbreak, I think of it. The work that we do is hard work. It really is.

Speaker 2:

It's something that comes from the heart but also can weigh on the heart and so being intentional also about how you're taking care of yourself, because that will ultimately fuel, like, the health of how you're moving through in these spaces, when you're trying to show up for these years To your point of a mirror, I think there is a place where it's like getting used to be vulnerable is tough, but then also, when you're in the space and folks are vulnerable, it can weigh heavy on you because you're just like damn, I should say for myself. There are moments where I'm like damn, it's so heartbreaking that these things are still happening, you know, and that these neat, these very specific ways that I thought were just specific cuts in the way that I experienced the thing is also being reflected in this other students' experience, and so that is not a place where I need to be to your point, trauma, bonding with that student in that way. That's a place to recognize, take inventory.

Speaker 2:

There's this great thing that Jay, who was on your podcast before, has this thing called a aura that we were moving through. Shout out to the contractors here, by the way, because they're also contracting different spaces and actually when we're working with students and teachers and admins, this came up and it's called aura observe, reflect and adapt. And so in what ways are you observing what's happening in your body? In what ways are then you reflecting back, taking inventory and then making adaptations to tend to what shows up? And so I think that is the other piece. There's going to be moments, and especially when you're doing this artwork, where a mirror is held up and you're just like, well, I wasn't expecting me to pop up right now. You know, take inventory of that, listen to yourself, do some hard, you know, tend to the challenges that are coming up and make the adaptations that are necessary so you can show up in a way that you feel good about.

Speaker 1:

There are two parts to what you said and I want to focus on the first part. For a second right. You talked about how young people are often in circumstances where they're like oh this is just another thing, right? And what about the conditions of South Florida or Florida like, lead to that kind of socialization from your experience?

Speaker 2:

Well, I will say like I can think of experiences as being both the administrator and instructor in a space and then like being the student that's in trouble here in Florida. I think there were instances when I was in school where especially schools that were like heavily policed in those areas, like going to school in Carroll City and all of that. It's like just tell me like what's really going on, you know, and actually I think of like I had a space where a friend was asked to share what the circumstances were going through at their household and also the impacts of like what happened in this classroom, and ICE was called and the student was ripped away from the. I mean, that person was ripped away from the family and at week's time it was like, oh well, I'm stressed out because X, y and Z was happening right, and it's because we have to work in a certain way at home. And then all of a sudden in a week's time they were in a nice detention center with their parents or for like an instance for myself where it's like, well, you know, I am having a challenge because whenever I am interacting with a certain teacher and I tell her that I'm not getting this thing, she has. All this name calling has to happen and instead of it being addressed with the teacher, that is probably not the way, that is not a conducive way, in my understanding, you know, for me to be able to a generative way for me to be able to get the thing done, I was taken out of APR like honored level classes and basically dropped down. So it's like are you going? I think that there is a history, or even, you know, being an administrator, and I think that this is also where the privilege comes in, where I'm like I have.

Speaker 2:

I was running a program that was programs that are deeply tied with school, but I'm not necessarily under the same, like you know. I'm like of it but I'm not of it and you're dealing with. I had this instance that is still challenging for me to think through for this day, where I have these students taking a very difficult class and the ways in which this person feels that it's motivating and maybe has been in the case, is to say you know, out of all these students that are taking a chance and taking this really hard class, only three of you are going to pass because the majority of you don't have. I could see your scores and this whole, like you telling me you're having an issue with the homework, there's no way you're going to pass this class, and so bringing that teacher into a restorative practice and having a conversation with the chair of that space and being like, okay, so this is the way that we have found this helpful for our students.

Speaker 2:

What are some of the ways that we can kind of find a middle ground to like, move and operate in that way? Because what I would, I am, what I am noticing right now is that that's not helping. But again, that could have only happened if there was a container that had already been in a place where students could be like, listen. The reason why because you know we used to get progress support the reason why I'm not doing well in this class is because what's the point? This person is telling me there's no way that I'm going to do well in this class, and that's after me asking for help. So I think that there is, just like all these different ways in which, going back to this active listening piece, people are reacting to young people being vulnerable instead of figuring out ways to understand where they're trying to come from and co create solutions to the challenges that they're dealing with.

Speaker 1:

It's not like these things are unique to Florida or the South right, like these attitudes exist in our liberal or progressive bastions of, you know, southern California, the Bay Area. Northwest Chicago you know, dc, denver, minneapolis, new York and now I'm. Boston, and now I'm just shouting out like the most downloaded areas of this podcast, right, but like they're urban centers where there are people who, like, generally believe in these ways, but like these attitudes and these structures still exist in the institutions that you're participating in.

Speaker 1:

And like what are the ways that, like we, can, you know, make legislative policy changes? Sure, if that's what you're, that's where your energy is. But, like what are the individual choices you can make within your sphere of influence to create the conditions where students, young people, can be empowered, can succeed in? You know, all these beautiful ways?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, I think that that's really so. Agent Rhee Brown is an amazing writer and has this super dope book called Emergent Strategies, and one of the things that's an Emergent Strategies is small as all, and the small reflects the whole, but small as all. That was a really important reframe for me, because part of the challenge that I have in trying to keep using I statements is sometimes doing this work. It can feel like all of these challenges are so intermoutable, they're so big and they run so deep from a top down perspective that it can feel like overwhelming, like what exactly can I do when I'm living in this system? That's kind of like set up for me to feel like I'm down. And the small as all was really impactful to me because it's like just like in nature.

Speaker 2:

It's these small changes that happen that then lead to a ripple effect that then shifts larger and that's the mushrooms work. It's this small mushroom working on a thing that's connected with what's my mushroom homies on my left and my right doing that then totally like shift, how the whole Marcian network like operates. And so if we're taking gifts from nature because we are of nature and we're just thinking about in our small and the ways that we move in our small iterations and our small interactions that we have. What are some shifts that we can make to be in alignment with the world that we want to see? That's enough, and that will tend to a ripple effect to your point. If you're talking as a teacher and you're just like, listen, this is the way that I'm trying to move in this classroom, you might inspire other teachers to do the same and then you find alignment there and have it just ripples in that way. But it is really what are some small moves that you can make in your own interaction that will then ripple to the large.

Speaker 1:

Absolutely Right. Some of those things are like skill building for yourself. Some of those things are like having these kind of conversations with your colleagues, your family members right, Doing this work as a person showing up in whatever spaces that you're in. So that's the invitation Time for the questions that everybody answers when they come on this podcast. You already answered the defined restorative justice for yourself, so we're going to skip over that one. As you've been doing this work, what's been an oh shit moment and what did you learn from it?

Speaker 2:

I think you can take this in two ways.

Speaker 1:

It could be like oh shit, like I messed up and I wish I did something different.

Speaker 2:

Or it could be like oh shit, I did that and it was awesome, oh, that's so good, okay, what has been an all shit moment, I think. So targeting back to that like an oh shit moment was definitely that moment with the student on the bus, because it's like, oh, it's so easy to slip into that, like it's so easy, and it really could have gone off the radar and I really could have just ignored it because it could have been quote, unquote, justifiable. And it was a moment where I really had to be like, okay, like, but how do I opt in again, like I was sharing before, like in the world that I want to see, especially if I'm asking these youth to move or the invitation for these youth is extended for these youth to move in a certain way, what am I doing to do the same? And then I think like oh shit moment, like oh shit is.

Speaker 2:

I'm like thinking there's like so many great moments with my students. I have to say I've been fortunate enough in that way, just having, I think, one. So one of these moments I had a student who came in and we had to move through a lot of different restorative practices with them because there was a lot of compounding challenges, but this person was very quiet. I think it took like a month to even hear them speak in the large group, but when they graduated the program, they gave a speech to the whole class and they talked about how the ways in which they were held by their coach because each small group had a coach and then me as the manager of the program, they were just very specific and like being held in this way allowed me to understand that I can practice my voice in these very specific ways and I'm going to take that with me and the cybersecurity work that I'm going to do.

Speaker 2:

And it just made me really realize the power of facilitation in that way where it's like I didn't think that you were going to, I didn't, you know, I didn't, I was just trying to move in a way that was in alignment with the world that I want to see, and it was really beautiful to be like oh, a reminder that these, their ripple effects are really a real. They're real ripple effects here, whether you see it or not, and because we had to move through so many processes because of these compounding challenges, I was almost like I hope that this person doesn't leave with like exhausted and the opposite happened and that was yeah, that was really, really sweet.

Speaker 1:

Modeling to students, right, like is so powerful. Right, because, again, like that's that modeling that we need to do, and like it's probably unexpected from that student. I'm thinking about like even a time when I like, justifiably, like shut down a student who is being rude in the middle of a workshop that I was facilitating, right, like I shut them down, like effectively right, and like we're moving on right, and then, like, circling back to that, like they understood, like they were out of pocket, they understood that like I wasn't trying to be me, but like the way that it came across, the way that I did that, like Alyssa did it, like it oooof from the rest of the class right.

Speaker 1:

And like dang. I do not want that to be the impact of the like. I'm just like trying to move on and like understanding that that's the moment where that students now embarrassed.

Speaker 2:

Yes, Like managing your intention, but centering the impact.

Speaker 1:

Right, like, making sure that, like, even though, like, I'm probably not going to see that person again because, like I don't, like, like I'm not working at that school in that capacity anymore, right, but what are the ways that, like, that student is now going to think of restorative justice where we're like, hey, that mean guy, yeah, you're like, embarrassed me about restorative instead of like, oh, this guy like said a thing, had an impact, right, but then was accountable to it.

Speaker 2:

It's super important to like be able to model.

Speaker 1:

And then, like that second thing that you were saying, right, it was like, yeah, success looks so different. Right, the ability, like just because, like that student wasn't, like sharing, like everything all the time, like doesn't mean that, like your work isn't impactful, right, and like sometimes you'll never know the fruits of your work. It's beautiful that you had that opportunity to hear that on the back end or like the end of that program. But oh, so many good things.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah.

Speaker 1:

Now you get to sit in circle with four people. Oh who are they and what is the one question you asked that circle?

Speaker 2:

Oh, what is the one question? Oh man, okay. Okay, fred Hampton has to be there. Oh, only one question. Okay, sorry, it's okay, I think it has to be there. Paulie Murray has to be there, and maybe someone all those people are dead, so maybe someone that's alive to support in the aliveness of it all, alexis Paulingum, yes, so who's sorry, did you say, like Paulie Murray? Paulie Murray yeah.

Speaker 1:

Who is that?

Speaker 2:

Paulie Murray. Is this their title act? Their full name would be Reverend Paulie Murray, and they were I hope I'm going to get this right and rip me through in the comments if I don't but Paulie Murray actually was the person that wrote a concept paper, which they a million and 17,000 things, but one of the things that they did was they wrote the concept paper that then became the basis for Ruth Gader Ginsburg argument in the Supreme Court and also fueled the argument that Thurgood Marshall was using for Brown versus the Board of Education. Can you show them if I'm saying that one right, because that's not Plessy versus Burgundy?

Speaker 2:

So Anne was also in their accounts because they have very detailed diaries that they left behind as a gender expansive person and had a lot of detailing and connealing like what the challenges that that look like in trying to move through that. And so there was this person, in the same vein of all these people that I'm bringing in, that like, had this understanding and like this portal of what being can look like that was just not alive or was not vivid to the society that they were living in the moment, and so they wrote these papers that were influential. They then became Reverend, which was wild because of black person that was socialized as a woman. Becoming a Reverend was like wait a minute, what's going on here? And so Pauli Murray yeah, there's a lot of I could. We would need an episode to talk about all the impacts that Pauli Murray has on us today.

Speaker 1:

Can you say that in one sentence or?

Speaker 2:

two yeah, Pauli Murray was a gender expansive person who wrote a lot of concept papers while they were only in college. That became the basis for a lot of foundational Supreme court cases that were beneficial to all marginalized communities today.

Speaker 1:

And what is the one question you'll ask the circle?

Speaker 2:

What is the one question? That's hard. What is the one question I would ask this group of folks? Something like what is their wish for the future? Like knowing what you know now. What is your wish for the future? Like the expansion of what you know now for the future. This is hard. I wish I would have gotten this question, this question, before, so I could have mulled over it.

Speaker 1:

No worries, it's always better in the moment, and what you probably weren't expecting maybe you were is now. I'm going to flip that question to you. Oh God, no it was not, so what is your wish?

Speaker 2:

Tricky, tricky. Okay, what is my wish? Knowing what I know now? What is my wish for the future? I would say, knowing what I know now, which is, especially we're in like this moment of these strikes that are happening, we're coming off of the cusp of all these uprisings that are happening in different ways. I think what I know, and what has been fortified now, is how powerful we are as a collective, and my wish for the future is that our social contract is rewritten to center the collective. I don't know what that looks like because I'm not in the future just yet, but that's my hope and I hope youth and elders are the ones that are writing it Dang.

Speaker 1:

Sometimes I like to leave those as they are, but like it's hanging, so I leave it there. So like I want to follow up, Please. When you're saying youth and elders are the one that write it. That's excluding who. Who's that excluding?

Speaker 2:

That's a great question. Wow, that's a great question. Excluding For me? Okay, I have to think of who's that including for when I'm saying excluding. So for me, anyone under the age of 30 would be considered youth, and then anybody over the age of we'll say like what, like 65 and up would be elders. And then us, we're those that are in those, because, math, those are in the middle of that. That's we. Those are excluded, we're excluded. We're tasked with figuring out how to fuel the vision of the elders.

Speaker 1:

I sense that you don't like the framing of that question.

Speaker 2:

I appreciate it though, which is fine.

Speaker 1:

Which is fine, because, like and like I'm just reflecting back what I heard Like they're the people who should do it, so like who?

Speaker 2:

shouldn't be, is like is the backside and then and like the follow up to.

Speaker 1:

That is why.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's a great I can do. I think that youth, so youth, have such a palpable understanding of what expansiveness looks like because the depth of programming hasn't happened yet in my brain. That's what I think, and also I don't know. I feel like when you're talking to like have you talked to like a seven year old and you're trying to make sense of the thing I have a teacher, professor that's like if you can explain something to a seven year old and you don't really understand it, that well, and they are just like, but that, like you know, they'll just feel like, come up with these, but why not just do this, this and that? And you, as a person who's been like programming this way, it's just like well, you know, because you got to pay your taxes, there's all these barriers come to your mind and that is not the case. For I should say in my experience I have not experienced that to be the case. For when you're talking to young people about how things can get accomplished and also it's their future that they're going to have to inherit, so there's that.

Speaker 2:

And then I think with elders, there's a lived experience and a wealth of ways in which they've had to adapt and move. I'm thinking of specifically like black, indigenous, brown people, that that lives. They're like living libraries and that is important to serve as a foundation to these, these visions and imaginations that these young folks have for the future, and I think the collaboration of those two elements would make for like the dopest world. Like I think about these young people who sued the government. They were like what? 13, 14 years old who sued the government because they're fucking with their air. 13 and 14 year olds suing the government because of the like what you know that is so wild.

Speaker 2:

And then I'm curious to know like how what that you know collaboration looks like with maybe the elders that are that we're protecting the telescope on one of the islands in Hawaii and we're literally laying their body down. Like what does that cross collaboration look like? And I think, especially in indigenous communities you see that more vividly. But I'm just like we need to scale that up. You need to scale that practice up. So that's what I'm about.

Speaker 1:

So, so true, and as we get out here, we've got the conference. But tell people how else they can support you, your work, in the way that you want to be supported.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, absolutely. I am also a contractor and a consultant doing different work. You can hit me up at info at U360ideasorg and there's also a website that you can do and that is U360ideasorg. Please check out for JARorg, where you have the registration page for our conference. That's happening October 20th to the 22nd and you can also submit a workshop if you feel so called and moved to. But again, that is on for JARorg and the conference is on the 20th to the 22nd of October.

Speaker 1:

Beautiful. Yeah, Well, again, thank you so much, Q, for your time, your stories, your experiences, the staffs. We'll be back next week highlighting another restorative justice practitioner doing the work in the South and until then, y'all take care.

Restorative Justice Work in the South
Creating Welcoming Spaces for Youth
Understanding Restorative and Transformative Justice
Restorative Justice
Empowering Young People Through Interactive Spaces
Challenges and Reflections in Restorative Practice
Challenges in Education and Restorative Solutions
Reflecting on Impact and Learning Moments
Supporting Work in Restorative Justice