This Restorative Justice Life

43. Sharing the Restorative Journey w/ Dr. Shaniqua Jones

July 15, 2021 David Ryan Castro-Harris Season 1 Episode 43
This Restorative Justice Life
43. Sharing the Restorative Journey w/ Dr. Shaniqua Jones
Chapters
This Restorative Justice Life
43. Sharing the Restorative Journey w/ Dr. Shaniqua Jones
Jul 15, 2021 Season 1 Episode 43
David Ryan Castro-Harris

Dr. Shaniqua Jones completed her doctoral degree in Interdisciplinary Leadership with a specialization in higher education in May 2016. Her diverse background in academics and her profession as well as her personal journey has allowed her to understand the concerns of those she serves. Dr. Jones is a wife and mother of five biological children as well as an author of three astonishing works. She is currently a Restorative Justice Coordinator – Dean of Students at Chicago Collegiate Charter School and the founder of Purple Path.

You will meet Dr. Jones (0:55) and hear about her story (4:04). She explains how she got started in RJ (18:06) and her education on criminal justice (22:11). Dr. Jones shares her Purple Path initiative (26:46) and how RJ factors into her relationship with her children (36:19). She discusses her work in schools (46:34) and the role of SROs in her community (54:32). Finally, she answers some closing questions (1:02:23).

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

Contact, Learn More, Support Dr. Jones at
Website: https://purplepathbydrj.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/purplepathbydrj

Watch clips of the podcast: http://youtube.com/c/amplifyrj

See all our workshops and courses at http://amplifyrj.com/learn
Future Ancestor Collective (Community Gatherings): http://tiny.cc/ARJcommunity
Rep Amplify RJ Gear at http://amplifyrj.threadless.com 

You can connect with Amplify RJ:
Email list: http://tiny.cc/ARJemail
Instagram: http://instagram.com/amplify.rj
LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/restorative-justice
Facebook: http://facebook.com/amplifyrj
Twitter: http://twitter.com/amplifyrj
Website: http://amplifyrj.com
Reading list: http://amplifyrj.com/reading-list

Show Notes Transcript

Dr. Shaniqua Jones completed her doctoral degree in Interdisciplinary Leadership with a specialization in higher education in May 2016. Her diverse background in academics and her profession as well as her personal journey has allowed her to understand the concerns of those she serves. Dr. Jones is a wife and mother of five biological children as well as an author of three astonishing works. She is currently a Restorative Justice Coordinator – Dean of Students at Chicago Collegiate Charter School and the founder of Purple Path.

You will meet Dr. Jones (0:55) and hear about her story (4:04). She explains how she got started in RJ (18:06) and her education on criminal justice (22:11). Dr. Jones shares her Purple Path initiative (26:46) and how RJ factors into her relationship with her children (36:19). She discusses her work in schools (46:34) and the role of SROs in her community (54:32). Finally, she answers some closing questions (1:02:23).

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

Contact, Learn More, Support Dr. Jones at
Website: https://purplepathbydrj.com/
Instagram: http://instagram.com/purplepathbydrj

Watch clips of the podcast: http://youtube.com/c/amplifyrj

See all our workshops and courses at http://amplifyrj.com/learn
Future Ancestor Collective (Community Gatherings): http://tiny.cc/ARJcommunity
Rep Amplify RJ Gear at http://amplifyrj.threadless.com 

You can connect with Amplify RJ:
Email list: http://tiny.cc/ARJemail
Instagram: http://instagram.com/amplify.rj
LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/in/restorative-justice
Facebook: http://facebook.com/amplifyrj
Twitter: http://twitter.com/amplifyrj
Website: http://amplifyrj.com
Reading list: http://amplifyrj.com/reading-list

David (he/him)  
Dr. Jones, welcome to this restorative justice life. Who are you?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Hey guys, I am love. I'm compassion, I'm empathy. I'm a life restored. And I'm grateful to be here. Who are you? I am a restorative justice practitioner full time. I am the district coordinator of restorative justice and restorative practices for our school district, Southland Cook County area outside of Chicago. 

David (he/him)  
Who are you? 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
I'm the founder and CEO of purple path, which is the organization that really hones in on an idea what restorative justice and restorative practices consist of from a life application perspective and the power of storytelling.

David (he/him)  
Who are you?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
I am a wife and I'm a mother of five children ranging from ages 14 to 22. 

David (he/him)  
Who are you? 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Who are you? I am Dr. Shaniqua Jones!

David (he/him)  
Who are you? 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
This is great. David. Oh, who am I? I am, to the core. I am a woman of God. I believe I'm unorthodox, I am an anomaly. And I am blessed. 

David (he/him)  
Who are you? 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
I'm nervous right now all of a sudden, but no, I am. I am. Again, I'm a life restored. A journey not shared is a soul not healed. 

David (he/him)  
And finally, before we get into the rest of this conversation, who are you?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
To my heart, I'm purple. 

David (he/him)  
All right, well, we're going to explore all of those intersections. Thank you so much for sharing. 

David (he/him)  
It is always good to start off by checking in, so to the fullest extent that you want to answer the question, how are you?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
I am, I'm great. Today has been a very productive day. In this moment. I'm excited. I'm honored. I totally admire you. And so just to be in this space together, it means a lot to me. So, you know, I'm ready to rock and roll, get into my weekend and celebrate some things I've accomplished recently. So yeah.

David (he/him)  
Yeah, what are those things that we're celebrating? 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Um, so again, I signed my new contract with the district. So that's an amazing experience. I also just signed a contract to go back and teach as an adjunct at Trinity Christian College. This fall, I'll be teaching two courses. One of my biggest accomplishments in the midst of this pandemic is through the violence prevention, prevention and reduction grant. I've been able to successfully train 2649 people since July of last year up until June 30 of this year, so I can't I know I'm it's time to take a break. Look at the numbers like cash. Okay, so yeah, I'll be leaving for vacation in four days.

David (he/him)  
Yeah, I feel that so much. And I'm not quite to that, break yet, I do get a mini break a little bit, a little bit in July. And then like, wait until like the summer PDs professional developments start. And then like, you know, maybe in September, like starting to, like, really take a breath and reflect on all of this. But you know, you're someone who I as I was starting amplify, RJ, I noticed in the Instagram world, talking about restorative justice. And it was interesting, because you know, you're still in the Chicagoland area. And our paths, while we know so many of the same people, and working in some similar circles, our paths never crossed there. But I'm really happy that we've found each other through the internet, really happy to be having this conversation here. You've been doing restorative justice work for a minute. But you were probably doing the work even before you knew the word restorative justice. So how did this journey get started for you?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Wow, you know, that's a good question. So I am the type of student where I have to find the connection between theoretical frameworks and the life application component, right. And so when I started to do a lot of reflection in one of my courses in graduate school, it was really then where I was like I've been doing this work and didn't have a name for it. You know, most times it's a conflict resolution and I'm just the peacemaker or I'm just chill or you know, I don't like drama. I don't like you know, all those different things that allows to walk away from dysfunctional situations, I'm like I've been in, I've been in the trenches, I didn't even know it. And so one of the tasks and one of my courses in my criminal justice courses was to journal. And in my mind, I'm like, I can see this journaling and a social work class, I can see us journaling in any other class that really taps into the emotions. But when you think about criminal justice to his core, or the stigma that comes along with criminal justice, that is hardcore. And you don't get to the nitty gritty of your emotions, or you don't get to the why you don't really care about the backstory, just thinking about what's in front of you. And so that's when I really had an opportunity to think about my own life journey.

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
 And so to answer your question, really, for me, being a preacher's kid, age of 15, I got to a point where I just walked away from everything I knew or thought I knew, or was taught to me. And, you know, no shame or guilt, in terms of the relationships I have with those who helped me along my way. But I learned early on that there was such a huge difference in dynamics of conversation and dialogue than when I'm in a school setting, those who were my advocates, or my authoritative figures, such as my mom, my ministers and things of that nature, told me that if I had a question that I didn't understand, or that the teacher explained something that I didn't understand, ask questions. But then on the other hand, when you are with your congregation, from a spiritual religious perspective, it was seen as a form of disrespect if it was something that I didn't understand and when I wanted to ask a question it was like, Oh, you don't do that here. So you know, 15, confused lost, trying to find my way, I started living a life of hell really, you know, from the age 15 to 26. And that life a hell consisted of you know, teen pregnancy, postpartum depression, before I even had a name for it depression before I had a name for it, bipolar depression before I had a name for it, and poverty, and not just in a sense of the financial piece, but that poverty mindset, suicidal ideations, attempts, things of that nature, domestic violence, cervical cancer survivor, homelessness, just quite a few different things, rape, sexual assault, and some very disheartening and egregious things that happened. Some things I could control and other things I couldn't. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And so when I started to find myself coming out on the other side, it was because of the world of education, because I always found myself that when I got into a situation that I couldn't understand, or that was very heinous, and in terms of the actions, I would always go back to the school, you know, I would go back to the community college and you know, enroll and I was seen, as a academic scholar, I wasn't seen as a failure, I wasn't seen as the girl who, you know, whatever her name was, you know, girls at the time, who may have been seen as being fast, or whatever the situation may be. And so when I made up my mind, um, years later, around the age, you know, 26, I gave birth to my last and final child, faced death while I was in labor, I was in labor for three days, and I had an encounter while I was laying there, and most times people like, that don't really exist. But until you find yourself in those types of situations, you really, make, you will never understand. And so when I found myself there, laying dying and not being able to comprehend and speak. I just had this come to Jesus moment. Basically, it was like I don't, I couldn't think of the sentence prayer. I couldn't think of any scriptures because I don't care how much you may have memorized certain things in your life and has become a habit when you are in panic mode, a lot of things that you remember day to day in panic you don't. And so what went from me trying to quote the sentence prayer and ask God for forgiveness because I was always told as a child that when you get ready to go home, the more you see the light and all I saw was darkness. I got real nervous, like uh uh, not today. Like I done came too far I cannot go to hell I already don't like being hot. So I was having these conversations internally, cracking jokes, jokes are my coping mechanism. And so

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
um, what ended up happening was I just had my light come to Jesus moment, I was like, God just save me from myself. I mean, as much as I can say, I want you to save me from other people save me from circumstances that have happened in the past. But don't just let me survive, I want to live, I want to raise my own children, I want to thrive. I want to make a difference. I want to use my own journey of what I've been through to get me over to the other side and be able to help other people along the way. And from that moment on, it hasn't been easy, but I've definitely been able to fulfill that part of my calling. And so you know, I started taking my life serious, start, you know, changing my circle of influence, changing my environment changing the way I think so I could change the way I live. So that when I found myself back at, you know that in those educational settings, I started thriving and I stuck to it. I became consistent and I started thinking about what does it mean to restore not just my mind, but what does it mean to restore my soul and my temple? And start delving deeper into the philosophy of restorative justice? And then here we are.

David (he/him)  
Yeah. Yeah. And that was, Oh, goodness. Wow, thank you for sharing all of that there was there was so much in there. And I think what the one thing that I want to like, pull out right now is like, when we think about restorative justice, in, in the whole, the words often mean like, to some people, like, how do we break the school to prison pipeline? How do we dismantle the criminal legal system and the prison industrial complex? But what I heard there is, how do I restore the relationship with myself. And, you know, when we talk about restorative justice, being about relationships, the first relationship that we have the relationship with ourselves, and until we do that, we can exhibit behaviors, right? We can ask questions in a restorative way. But if the relationship in here, and I'm pointing to my chest, for those of you who aren't watching this, you know, we're not gonna have like, very long in this work. I'm curious, you know, as you were going through all of that, that process of restoring yourself learning language, for the mental health struggles that you were dealing with learning language for the health problems, learning language for, you know, the academic things that you were encountering, What kept you going?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
To my heart, it was at the age of 15, I walked away from religion, I walked away from spirituality, I walked away from everything that was considered my foundation. And even though I walked away, I walked away as a Rebel Without a Cause. And the only difference between the girl I was and the young lady I am now or adult that I am now is that I'm a rebel with a cause. And so the things that have helped me, you know, I've had a praying mother, even when there was times, I didn't necessarily understand the doctrine as a whole. But I understood the main, the power in having a relationship with someone higher than you. And even though I didn't have thw context, I had the feelings. And so I knew, like, I already envisioned what I could have possibly been prior to all these things happening to me in my life, that I still held on to a glimpse of what that could possibly look like and feel like, if I just keep pressing forward. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And then being a mom, too, I was young, I had my first child at 17. So my children and I grew up together, it was a matter of me being established. And then having children, it was like we in the trenches together. And so knowing that God allowed me to birth five children and see them flourish, as I began to change, they began to change to. And as I began to learn, I began to teach them in a way that was going to be more conducive to meet their individual needs, and not trying to cluster them into like, Hey, is Do as I say, you know what I'm saying? Things that I may have been taught, I walked away from those ideas, because I wanted to be able to not just humanize the people, I work with humanize the work, that allows me to pay the bills. But if I can't humanize myself, and humanize the people that God has allowed me to birth, then what am I doing? So those were the things that really kept me going, even in times, I'm like, this crap today. This is it, I can't do it anymore. But no, I and I just, I'm always in the frame of mind that people are always looking for a miracle, people are always looking for inspiration. And what I'm always pressing on people that even in your darkest times, you inspire yourself, and if you need inspiration, outside of yourself, then look at me know if you ever need to see a reflection of what a miracle consists of look at yourself and take a look at me.

David (he/him)  
Yeah, absolutely. And I'm thinking like, one, we need those examples. Like, as, as much as we need more than representation or, you know, role models, those things are important for people to be able to navigate those and I know, there are young people and older people who are your peers who are looking at you right now and like yeah, like, if she can do that, I can do that to you. Like, like, honestly like for me, like you were on a billboard the other day, right? And I'm like, you know, when amplify RJ like literally amplifying this work is the mission like, we can be sharing this work in all kinds of different spaces. And it's not necessarily just the ways that we train. You you've done a lot of different things that that I admire in putting this work out there. So one, thank you for that example of that for me, but of like inspiration for so many other people, too. When you were introduced to the words restorative justice, what was that like? And how did that like take root and really like drive a lot of the work that you're continuing to do now?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Oh, so I definitely have to pay homage to a few people, which is Dr. James T. Colder and call him pops better known as chip to the world. He was one of my professors, as well as my advisor and mentor. And he introduced me to other individuals such as Katherine Rayford. And Emayor Hardy, God bless his soul, he passed away not too long ago. But those were like three key individuals that helped me understand and cultivate a better understanding of restorative justice from a life application perspective. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And then what did that look like in the criminal justice system? Because initially, I was I received my Master's in criminal justice. So it was like this twofold, like, okay, we talking about being punitive. But then on the other hand, hey, here's restorative justice, like, Well, why isn't, why isn't that not applicable, applicable to every situation? So I had a lot of questions that I think for me, I was challenging my inner child, the child that couldn't ask questions in church, or couldn't ask questions in the congregation. I was like, I'm not going to ever not asked questions anymore. And so I pretty much just channeled that inner child like, I want to know more, how can I get involved who, you know, who's doing the work in the community. And so I started doing a lot of work in the community working with a lot of the different school districts became a graduate assistant to get more knowledge to understand the data behind restorative justice. Because, for me, restorative justice is more about the the narrative and more about the the qualitative research, not necessarily the quantitative research, which is more like mixed methods and things of that nature. And so I wanted to make sure that the numbers look complemented the narrative and what did that look like? And how do people understand that restorative justice is a way of life and not a program, because we all know programs come and go and leadership change, directions change, initiatives change. And so when you see RJ as a way of life and not a program, then, you know, the sustainability of it all is just remarkable. So that's how I got involved was through, you know, at governor State University, located in University Park in Wyoming, shout them out too. 'Cause that's always a another home for me. And I began to hone the skills to be more confident and being able to speak and to train. And so I learned the basic fundamentals of how do I deliver a message. And for me, I had to learn that it wasn't communication at all, you know, I was always taught that communication is key. And it's not it's comprehension. And the only way you can start to comprehend a message that is clear is the relationship. And the only way you can create a relationship is being able to humanize the person in front of you. And the only way you can start to humanize the person in front of you is by saying hello. And the only way you can start saying hello, and being confident in who you are as a person, and how have you been able to be restored? And how have you been able to influence and inspire? So that it's okay for you to say hello, even if no one else does?

David (he/him)  
Yeah, there's, there's so much in there, where it's the the vulnerability that it takes to start with sharing yourself is different than anything that we are really taught to do. We're taught to protect ourselves, and not let other people see perceived weaknesses. I think a lot of times those vulnerabilities are strengths. But those are also when we hide those things. Those are barriers to creating relationships and allowing deeper connection. And, you know, there's the quote about, you know, people don't know, don't care how much you know, until you know how much they care, you can't help someone who doesn't think that you care about them. And that's applicable in so many places. You got started with this work in the context of the criminal legal system, how did it evolve from there for you?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
For me, it was just being able to look at like my own life journey, you know, things that I've just shared about know being that church girl, what did that look like? How did she need to be restored? And that's how I started having to address childhood experience to think about what the trauma consists of, and what are some things that I unresolved issues and unresolved traumas that is carrying over into my adulthood that is not allowing me to make adult decisions because I'm operating off a child mindset. And so when I started to think about my own life, I'm like, who else could be experienced? I know I'm not the only one and so start, like it or not, I ran for student senate and I started running for different leadership opportunities and from the student perspective, and then that led into a full time position once I got my master's degree and so I worked in admissions and all the different people was encountering it was more than just that situation itself that brought them to government state. We started to form relationships. I understand like okay, there's a backstory to the reason why you're here. Like you didn't just come into government say like, you know, today, let me go here and apply and see if I get a degree. But it was a purpose behind this. So how can I help you fulfill that purpose. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And so when I started to approach everything I've done from a restorative lens, my life just shifted quickly because I had to take a look at my own life. And when I started to look at my own life, I started thinking about my children, I started to think about like, the decisions I made didn't just affect me. So while I'm sitting here, going to counseling and therapy, and I'm in school and school feels therapeutic for me, because of the conversations we have in the class, my children may not have the same opportunity. So it's my I have to do my due diligence as a mom to make sure that when I got raped you, you witnessed some of that, when I was abused physically, you saw that. In my mind, and that poverty mindset prior to being introduced to what life really could look like, I had conjured up the idea that well, since it was me directly, you know, I'm the one that's getting abused and even though you may have witnessed that, you fine! And I was sadly mistaken, to even think that way. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
So, like everything I've done, and that leads back to my mantra, I don't know what side I'm on but a journey not shared is a soul not healed. Like, what is the point of me going through anything I had to go through if I'm not going to be willing to share at least with one person. And from there it's like parents are reaching out, students are reaching out grandparents people that we typically, especially, especially talk about ageism, right. And so I can be as knowledgeable as I want to. But there are times where the barrier is because the color of my skin. Um, colorism, because I'm dark skin. I'm you know, the the physical. My physicalities of turn in terms of being heavyset, and being bald and, and the tattoos and all that can be like, oh, oh my god, she's Dr. What? And it's been able to just, I've been able to flourish in who I am because I'm confident in who I am. And before you know, this is like, I just started gaining, not necessarily a following, but individuals who like thank you. I have like

David (he/him)  
 Who resonate with the story, yeah.

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
like okay, and sometimes it kind of catches me off guard. Um, cuz I could be in a grocery store and somebody right? Real quick. Sorry. You're Dr. Jones. Right, bald, purple. Hahaha. Like, yeah, the kid's like, Oh, my God, Mom, like, like, we were my husband, I went to Myrtle Beach and ran into someone. And I'm like, okay, like, God, I know, I asked you for a platform. And things are moving kind of quickly for me, just allow me to stay humble, and continue to stay focused on doing the work and don't allow me to get beside myself. So that's, that's, that's my story. And I'm sticking to it. 

David (he/him)  
Yeah, I'm curious, you know, as like, you shared your story with individuals, right? How did you turn that into the platform that is now purple path?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
A one purple is my that honestly, is no one else would ever hear this other than those who are listening. Purple was was not my favorite color, orange. My husband and I'm married to now because this is my second marriage. Purple was his favorite color. And I'm like, I've never met a man who was purple. And I was so intrigued by it, not because he necessarily wore purple and everything, he did, but when he started to explain the reason why he loves purple so much, and he does he loves um, you know, different artists who love purple. You know what I'm saying? as

David (he/him)  
Prince, and...well, it's either that, Prince or the Lakers? You're in Chicago. So yeah,

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Yeah. So I was just like, man, and then when I started to really dig deeper into everything, like numbers and colors and things that you consume and things that you see, that's how purple path came about. Um, you know, just one of the biggest things was I wrote my very first self published book, I've co authored books, but this was my first self published book by myself was 12, a memoir to my younger self, which is a story about my journey from the young little girl I was to, up until the day I walk across stage with my doctor's degree. And so we released the book the day after I graduated, or had commencement ceremony, the hooding ceremony and when we released the book, a year prior to that mind you, I'm in the trenches of my doctoral work, and I'm writing a book. Everybody like, your timing could not have been worse. And I'm like, but this is therapeutic for me. And I can only imagine if it's therapeutic for me some certain things I hadn't even, I didn't remember so I had to sit down and start writing. I'm like, dang, I forgot about that.

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
 And then when I started to look at the direction of how my book was coming out, turning out in terms of editing. We realize I compartmentalize experiences by location. So if you ever if you read the book or you have the book, you'll realize that there's 12 chapters and each chapter is a specific address. So we've done like people have done scavenger hunts to figure out like what the location was, like places out, the place, I was born Ingalls Hospital in Harvey, Illinois. Or, you know, the home I was raised, to the school I went to, the high school I went to, the governor State University where you know, was pretty much towards the end of the book, and then different places, some, and some of those same places. Like the place I was born in Ingalls hospital is the same place I had all five of my children. Same place that when I was raped, that's where I went, when I tried to take my life. That's where I went. So some of the best moments of my life happened in this one location. And some of my worst moments happened in the same location. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
What does that look like when you're trying to heal in the same place that you've been harmed? Because it's hard to do. And so when I start to detach myself, not because I felt like I was better than but I'm on this healing journey. And I have to take a different approach that if I really want to heal in a successful manner, that's gonna allow me to continue to be productive and do more than what I've been doing, then I'm gonna have to separate myself and create healthier boundaries, so that I understand what my triggers may consist of, because this healing journey is for life. It's not just like, Hey, I'm gonna start this healing journey today. And I should be done by Friday. You know, it's not like that and so when I start to be more vocal about my experiences, and wrote that book, it was I set the tone for everything goes that has happened from that moment on, even to the point where my family somewhat somewhat disowned me for a while, because even though I wrote the book, and I gave them PDF copies, I'm like, go through it with a fine tooth comb, I didn't name anybody, but if you know who I am, but you know who I'm talking about, and certain, you know, specific situations. It was like a shock for them because the generational gap is I'm I'm 40 my brothers are 53, 55, 57 my mom is 81, my dad would have been 86. Like they were just born at a different time where like, we don't, things that happened in his house days in his house. So for you to write a book about it. Oh, my. 

David (he/him)  
I don't know that. That's totally generational. That's just people right now. Still, too. Yeah. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And I for a while I suffered, but I wouldn't change it for the world. Because what ended up happening? The year the book came out in 2016. A year later, my mom calls me and was like, I have to see you face to face, you got to get to the gist of what's happening. And this is the powerful part of the story, David, because we I have to realize that all the things I've done good, not so good and indifferent, has tremendously affected my mom, right? And because I'm her only girl, I'm the baby. A lot of the things that she didn't have to go through with my brothers. She definitely went through with me, I made up for lost time, basically, like finishing out the experience. Fam, I got you. I'm you Okay, yeah, I'm going to lock up every weekend, I'm having to come balmy out to the point where like, she can't she's she's bonded out like she's, there's no more I bonds. I don't know, if you ever, you know, have to go through anything like that. But it was it was, it was it was terrible. And in my mind, what I did was when I started to shift from that poverty mindsets, when it's based off being restorative and a wealth mindset, I never once sat down, and had a conversation, my mom and said, Mom, forgive me, I apologize, or whatever that conversation needed to look like what I did was, we started to take action to move in the right direction, assuming that that should have been good enough. And so releasing in that book released a lot of hurt a lot of pain. But it also created a sense of, she just doesn't get it.

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And when I had to come back a year later was like, I apologize because I'm not a sorry person. But I apologize and I was specific in terms of the reason why I was apologizing and why I was apologizing what I was going to do to make it better. But then my mom also too came with like, and this is the part I played in it. And so we will hold each other accountable in a way that we took, you know, this is what restorative justice look like, not just in the schools in the school to prison pipeline, or the poverty prison pipeline, or the prison industrial complex, but from a life application perspective. Like what does RJ look like in a home? So when my mom and I reconnected, she was like, You empowered me to write a book about my life. And David, when I tell you 2018, I was like, November 2018, is when my Mom's book came out. And when I 

David (he/him)  
And that one's before I go, right?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Yup. And what's so ironic, I won't even say ironic. Mom's, parents, but I can't speak as a father but as a mom, a mother do their children a disservice when she doesn't tell her children her own story that's appropriate for them at whatever age that you believe is time, right? And so as I edited my mom's, as I typed, my mom wrote the book, like hand written the book, and I typed it out and as I was typing, of course, I'm reading it, and I found out that my mom was raped. And that's how she conceived her third child. And when you look at my life, I was raped by the person I was married to, she was raped by the person she was married to, and here we are. And so we're connected in ways that we probably don't want to be connected. But that's because we don't have, we're, you know, who's going to be courageous enough to start having the conversations that we typically don't want to have until it's too late. So, you know, my mom, that's my best friend. Now, you can't tell me anything about evangelists, Anderson, that is my girl. And so I know, I may have went on and on. But this is what my life has been about, not just what I do outside, you know, to be a big thought leader in other communities. But this is what it look like in my home, in my family.

David (he/him)  
Yeah. When I think about all of that, this it's this restorative justice life, right? It's not this restorative justice job, right. And one, just for people who are listening, you can find all of these books at purple, purplepathdrj.com/books. And of course, those will be linked in the show notes. The first one that you were talking about was 12, a memoir to my younger self. And then excuse me, the book that you were talking about with your mom is, Before I go, let me set the record straight. So I want to put that out there for folks.

David (he/him)  
 But as you were talking about your mom, and one of the things that I'm reflecting on is, you know, we have these experiences with our parents. And when we're young, we don't see them as fully formed people. We're just, you know, I'm just trying to do what I'm trying to do. And a lot of times in our mission, we don't acknowledge that they are still growing right? As people and they're moving on. And so when you say like, Hey, I'm just gonna put this book out, this is my healing journey. Your mom wants to be a part of that, right? Your mom wants to heal for herself and right, get apologies get restoration for the things that you've caused harm in the relationship, and then like reciprocal, all the things that she has caused harm in the relationship as well. And that's what this is getting back into right relationship. restorative justice is about this. And that, in a lot of ways, like this is exactly what this podcast is about, like sharing both the professional things which are important, but like, how do we live this day to day? I'm curious. Now, as a mother, how this plays out with you and your children.

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Oh, man, sometimes I promise you they're like, what happened to being restorative like, ma. Ma, you had, like, I'm really calm y'all, like for real. And so what I do appreciate is that, you know, by me having my first two children, at 17 to 19, they have seen the worst of me. And now they are able to see the best of what I've been able to do. And I still have more to come. 

David (he/him)  
I was going to say, best is yet to come

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Yeah. And so being able to be transparent, it has not been easy, because mind you I don't have a guidebook. You know, I've walked away from the guidebook that was presented to me, because there were things that I saw that my mom did, she did the best she could with what she have. And now that I'm you know, she had me at the age of 40. And guess what, I'm 40 now, and can't have any more children I think that's a wrap. Five, that's enough for me. But you know, just being able to have those in depth conversations. I'm their go to, and I'm I appreciate that. Or they know that they have their stepfather which they don't consider their step father. They call him daddy. Um, they know they have people and so we haven't had those conversations that I could not have ever. Like, they probably if I was some of the things my children come and tell me imagine living in different day and age. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
But my mom probably would have had the saints come pick me up from the house, take me to the church put me on the altar, douse me down with bless oil like, I don't know i'm i'm possessed or something. Wow, I'm looking at my children. They're all a reflection of me at different points in times of my life. And so I'm glad that they open to hearing what I have to say and not just hearing but taking heed like, Well, how do I do that? Or  Mom, I'm like the go to mom. They'll call me Ma. I need you to talk to such and such because she thinks such as such as bad to happen. And I know you've been through something like that. Can you talk to them? Like you're like you sure? Well, let me call them mom, because I don't want to step on any toes. And so it's been it's been a beautiful experience. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
It's not always been beautiful, though, you know, um, you know, being homeless and their eyes, we were always homeless in the summertime for whatever reason, we get evicted. And we spend the summer at the park or the you know, and they think it's fun. In my mind, I'm worried half to death or feel like I'm unfit. When it actually Wow, some things I just couldn't control. And just being able to teach them all the things that I can, in an appropriate manner is fun. Like we have our game night. My 14 year old had to cook the other night because I had training after training. And I was like, I don't you know, learn how to delegate better, right? And delegate in a way that I see. I know these are areas that you love, so I'm not just gonna give you any kind of task. I'm gonna give you tasks I know you're going to shine and but at the same time, I'm getting a task that I know you probably don't want to do. But I'm not going to always be here. So I don't want to enable you, I want to empower you, which takes me to that social discipline window, like, I want to stay in that top right hand quadrant. So when I make decisions, not every decision, but for the right, decisions that I know are going to change the trajectory of our lives, I'm always thinking about like, the social discipline window like, am I, this decision? Am I saying this top right hand side and I'm being...

David (he/him)  
Are we doing it with people instead of two, for, or ignoring them

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Right, right or they able to travel with me like, it's just been beautiful, like, I didn't have my very first real traveling experience outside of church, until I was at South Suburban College which is a two year Community College. And because I was a high academic scholar, they sent me to Boston, I think I was pregnant with my third child when I went to Boston. And now here it is, my children are going to LA and we're going to New Orleans, and we're going to Myrtle Beach and we you know, going to different places and experiencing different things outside of our comfort zone. And it's just been beautiful. And on the flip side, there's four girls, you know, I get the catty chatty all the time, like, Oh, my gosh, she got my, you know, my hair. Right? Everybody just go by like your mom, man, we don't have a problem. We just trying to kind of help them navigate life, especially in the midst of a pandemic, right. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And so, like two of my children really have had a hard time in the pandemic, the social piece, depression, and being, you know, being able to normalize by Hey, let's get back into therapy let's, matter of fact, let's not even stop. Let's not wait till something happened. Let's not be reactive, let's be proactive. But the only way I know what's going on with you is if you talk to me, and then I as a parent have to go the extra mile like I'm going, you know, let me come into your room, you don't have to come into my let me come into your space. Let me see what you about. Let me see what you write. Let me give you a one on one time, which is so important. But keep in mind I'm only one person to it. And even though my adult children are 20 and 22. They just this like just want my time just as much as the other three. So is is great. It comes with the highest highs and some challenging moments that I wouldn't change it.

David (he/him)  
Yeah, yeah. I'm like, there's, I'm not a parent yet. Yet. Fingers crossed. Well, we'll get there one day. And when we do that, you know, and we're on a walk with my wife yesterday, and thinking about like, you know, the drastic changes that that makes to your life, where the cliche is like, you know, your heart is walking outside of your body of around outside of your body. And as much as you want to be able to give them all the good things and prevent any harm from happening. They should love to make the choices, and then how are you there to respond?

David (he/him)  
And whatever the choices are, even if the choices aren't those that are aligned to the choices that you would make for them, or the choices that you like, would have encouraged them to make in those moments? How, how has that been like, considering that we want to be in that width? When those choices are made? How have you dealt with this?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
The good news is I'm no longer there, like I told you, so no more lies. So where do we go from here? And that's always my guiding question. So I'm not placing blame on you. I'm not looking to you to be like, I'm not, I'm not, I don't want you to feel like you're less than, I definitely don't want you to understand mistakes to be things where, for me, I learned mistakes were the moment something happens and you don't respond the way most think you shouldn't respond. And that's a mistake. But for me, I've been able to redefine mistakes in our household to say like the first go round, especially when i know i i make sure you have all the tangible resources, the skills and tools available to you. So I don't necessarily see it as a mistake. The first go around what I see it as a learning lesson. And when you make the conscious decision not to utilize the RST, resources, the skills and the tools available to you, then that becomes a mistake. And so, because of that language alone, and because of the processing of walking away from the idea that mistakes look like this, but in our household, it looks like this. It has really changed the dynamics of our relationships and the outcomes that they you know, from decisions that are being made.

David (he/him)  
Yeah, it's like, really the sharing the impact, right and leading with that instead of like, the shame and blame of like, I told you so as you were saying.

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes I'm like I have to give them the side look. Oh, all right, but now that we're back, so, um, and then two, they hold me accountable in a way that's respectful. And I'm not accustomed to that, because that's not something I'm I was taught, that was not something that was introduced to me. So I, 

David (he/him)  
Well, you taught them to do it.

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Yeah. And on top of that, holding me accountable to the again, like what respect, but also learn how to effectively use your voice because for me, it was assumed I knew how to use my voice because I was a church girl, or because I was a preacher's kid. When actuality I'm like, I know how to talk and communicate and comprehend when I'm in a church environment amongst like minded individuals who believe in God the way I'm supposed to believe in God the way I'm taught to believe in God. But what does it look like when I go to school at 15, they're not trying to quote scriptures. When it comes to my liking, like, hey, I want to holla at you. And I'm like, but I'm a proverbs 31 woman and they were like what? And so, it was, it was terrible. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Because I was so naive. I was naive, I was goofy. You know, I was the kid that laughed at everything. Because there was a lot of things I didn't understand language that was being used, I didn't get it. And I didn't want to be seen as lame. I didn't want to be seen as I didn't want to be seen as a nerd. So I would just laugh stuff off, not knowing it's getting me into some trouble. Because I didn't understand the context of what was happening. Because I didn't know how to comprehend. They're communicating, but I can't comprehend what you're saying. So we have some real touchy conversations. Like they keep me abreast of like, my they don't say, this term anymore. This is what they say. And I'm like, oh my god, why if I had pearls on, I would clutch them. But thanks for letting me know. Cuz now as the school administrator, I'm like, huh? Think I know what the student is going on with this conversation and why everybody else might be oblivious to what happened. I'm like, I'm hip to it. So they they teach me just as much as I teach them. So there's that where that reciprocity comm here are different things different, you know, I can't very well, but there's some things I just don't cook, because I feel like it's more time consuming. And I don't have that kind of time to commit. So they like c'mon, we found a faster way to do this on TikTok, so let's go to the store and get this and I'm like ugh. Okay. And it works out. And then when it doesn't work out is like we still gonna eat this, because y'all we made it? So,

David (he/him)  
Absolutely. You know, you mentioned the work at schools as an administrator. As the coordinator of restorative justice and restorative practices, I always laugh at titles like that, because in the context of schools, like, you know, it, this work is not all just on one, person.

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Right.

David (he/him)  
Right. It has to be like

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Everyone!

David (he/him)  
This is what's happening. This is the culture of this place. Share with us. What one how you found yourself in that position, because remember, you know, we we're going from, like, criminal legal system to schools, and what's that journey been like doing this work in

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Kinda, I won't go all the way back to the beginning of time. I had my very first job at 14, but um, if I was to fast forward to maybe 2010, you know, I was at governor state became a grad assistant, then started working there full time. As a full time worker there. I worked in admissions, I worked in admission process and with the registrar's office, I was, you know, grad assistant for the restorative justice side of things in the criminal justice department. I was a research assistant. I you know, I worked in international services. And so because of those different opportunities in different departments that even though we were one collective unit, as a university, each department had a different culture. Right. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And so then, when I left out that got my doctoral degree, I went on to Trinity Christian College as the director of communication and diversity programs. That was probably one of my most challenging positions. I love Trinity Christian College, but I just knew, when I took that position, I still had no clue of the direction in terms of profession or where I wanted to go. And so it was life changing for me, in many different instances. And when I left there, I became the Dean of Students at a school on the south side of Chicago. I was the head of Dean's head of Dean Dean of Students from a restorative justice lens. And they're brought quite a few different challenges because I encountered families and staff and faculty or staff and administrators who felt being punitive was the only way even even with the context of knowing my role and my position. And so I had to learn in that moment. I can no longer take on assignments that are not in alignment with who I am. And that if for any reason, I'm have to walk away I want to walk away with the highest level of integrity I possibly can.

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And so with that being said, while I was the head of deans at this particular school, I also was doing contractual work with the school district I work for now to help them bring authentically bring suspension down by 38% that particular school year, which was 2018, 2018-2019. And it was some trench work. It was like if I wasn't bald then I would have been bald after that year, because you had you had so much pushback, pushback from the community, pushback from administrators, pushback from teachers, pushback from parents, and I was always the one that's been like, why are we doing this? Like, why are we tapping? We tapping too far into the emotions like this cool and all? But can we wrap this up? Can we go a little faster, and I'm like, that's not how it works. And because I stay true to who I was, and started to really walk into that calling, and have the support of the superintendent and assistant superintendent, we got some things done. Right. And so then it was like, if you was able to do this just coming in two days a week. And of course, you know, sometimes on weekends and doing some research on the in the evening, and coming back up to the school, I was like, literally, like a chicken with my running around like a chicken with my head cut off. Like they say, right? My mom's always said that. But I say that to say that they brought me on board full time. And I explained to them, you know, it's a transition, I love it. But this is how I operate. And I'm not saying always have, you know, I want I want to be in a position that's going to allow me to continue to research, because I don't have all the answers. And for every situation that present itself, I don't have an answer to every situation. But what I do have is a set of skills, I feel like was 

David (he/him)  
 I have a particular set of skills. Yeah,

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Oh, I appreciate that they really poured into me, you know, from, you know, PD sessions connecting me to different individuals across the, you know, educational sector in Illinois. To the point now, I was appointed by Governor Pritzker and the Illinois State Board of Education to the whole child Task Force. So working closely with 29 other educators in the state of Illinois who are like heavy hitters in the game, it's just been a rewarding experience. And so going from, from that, to where I am now has been a root. You know, that's how that position came about. And so one of the things I'm tasked with have been tasked with doing is creating a district wide restorative justice plan. And because of my, my ability to be a part of this whole child Task Force, I know I'm going in the right direction, because the same conversations that we're having in terms of dialogue about, you know, next steps are things I'm already implemented in my restorative justice plan. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And that restorative justice plan also includes six courses that I created, you know, quote, like, RJ 101 to rj 106, you know, like the basics of restorative justice, you know, going back to the foundation, doing pre assess, I created a pre assessment and a post assessment tool. So, you know, prior to us, you know, starting that series of six courses, you got to take the pre assessment, and then when you finished with the six course, the post assessment, and then how do we stretch that out over the next year, so that it's not like we just given every RJ 101 to 106 gotta be done with the next two weeks now, you know, what does it look like to take a step back? and focus on classroom management from a building social capital lens? What does it look like too you know, in terms of trauma, empathy? What does that consist of how many layers of trauma because most times people think trauma is just about that one isolated incident, or it has to be the most egregious, like, there's no in between. For people it's like, either like one thing, or everyday all day? And so, you know, explain it to them the different different types of trauma and how does that impact the brain? And how does it impact the brain in terms of Harvey? And how does that also impact the brain in terms of Harvey? And the learning process? And how do we walk away from those different labels such you know, as being a student with special needs? are we all doing the special needs, we just may have a different set of special needs, you know, so like, what does that language need to look like that's going to be tailored to meet the needs of the students we serve, we have about 5500 students. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And so um, you know, and then creating a student response team. So it's not a matter of just, you know, days coming together when something goes wrong, but what does it look like to just have a team of individuals, of like minded individual who have been trained who've been properly trained and at a different level than the entire district? But then what does that look like for us to come together to just talk about different things that are happening sort of in the communities that we serve? And then what do community liaisons look like? What does what does our Memorandum of Understanding look like when we have different partners coming into the school building? They need to be trained as well? What about the people who work for the bus company? What about the bus monitor? And then how do I guide that conversation and tell them to show them the implications of what restorative justice had the ability to do in terms of saving money because unfortunately, you know, we got to, 

David (he/him)  
You got to meet the business piece,

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
 You know, so I'm telling my, hey, this bus company has to have two bus monitors, opposed to one because the bus driver has to focus on driving but the bus monitor has to focus on the children and if we have situations that haven't been resolved in a school does that spill over to the curb that spills over into the onto the bus. And now they have to hire more bus monitors to keep the bus driver and the bus monitor and students safe because of things that could have been handled at home and school. And all these other different opportunities could have presented themselves prior to them, you know, having these huge incidents, and now look at the amount of money you're saving. Because we're being more restorative in nature in terms of changing the trajectory of the climate and culture that we serve. What does that look like when we're talking about, um, 

David (he/him)  
Police officers on campus?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Yeah. And so and I'll be honest with you, I have one of the best SRO roles and one of my school buildings because he lived in the community, he went to that same high school, and he's not punitive, he does not come in with his plain clothes, he don't come in with like, Hey, I work for such and such police department. And so for me, it's about posture. Because when I think about CPS, right, and how they had this huge, yes

David (he/him)  
Chicago Public Schools

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
In terms of, you know, having SROs and not having a SROs. For me, it's more about do you know, the environment that you serve, because you have to make sure that you have tangible resources available to meet the needs of those who serve. So what might work in one school, even if your entire district, what might work in one school may not work in another? And then on top of that, what is the posture of the individuals that are coming into coming in and outside of the building? What does that customer service experience look like? Because we're all human. We've all been, you know, we all have been consumers. And I know I will go out of my way to, to an establishment if I know they've been able to humanize my experience, if you feel welcoming, and if I feel invited, they're saying, hello, if they want to know my name, do they want to know like, hey, Dr. Jones, I apologize. I know you're off the clock. But would you rather go about Dr. Jones, would you like me to call you Sheniqua? How the kids doing? Like, I love that personal relationship that even like I'm, I'm sold you know. And so what does it look like when we're talking about going to these school buildings? What does the curb appeal look like? How does the walls look like? Am I able to tell the difference between a juvenile detention center hallway and a school hallway? And what is the aesthetics like, who are the first people am I encountering? Um, do I get the same respect as a parent if I come in with a bonnet on my head, as opposed to having on a suit and kitty heels? And what is the difference? What we're what are what are our hangups as it relates to that? What does that look like when we go into the classrooms? And so I do activities where our teachers talk about what talk about give me the adjectives that are associated with your best customer service experience, versus your worst customer service experience. And then when you think about your best customer service experience and how you felt, and the emotions and attitudes attached to those best experiences, are you bringing in those best experiences into the classroom.

David (he/him)  
Yeah, there's, there's policy, right, whatever the policy is that people can follow that but  we all know that policies are only as good as the people who are upholding them. Right? And it comes all the way back to you know, we were talking about the beginning relationships, right? How are you treating the person who's right in front of you? What are the assumptions that you're making about who they are and their value? Right? Are they a problem to be solved? Are they an object to produce a result, like as a test score? Or are they a human that we are trying a little human, a smaller human, a younger human, that we're trying to nurture, and, and to help become a member of our community that will be the fullest human, that they can be? One that shows love and contributes to community instead of harm. If you don't get that poured into you at all aspects. It's, I'm not saying that's impossible. But it's harder to work against that environment where you're in, where, you know, we adapt to our environments, and how do we make sure that the environments that we're creating for young people are those where they see the value in themselves? And, you know, I keep bringing it up on every episode of this podcast for like the last month. But, you know, James Baldwin's quote about, you know, children have never been very good at listening to their elders, but they've never failed to imitate them. And so you know, that that's always super present for me. 

David (he/him)  
I'm curious when you're thinking about when you're sharing these insights with teachers, inviting them or people who work in schools, because it's not just teaching people and you're inviting them into these practices. What is the pushback you experience? And how do you navigate it?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Um, to be honest, over the last two years, my team and I because even though I'm like the face of purple path, I have a team of 12 of us total, that really hones in on looking at, you know, feedback evaluations, what can be done to do better, what, you know, what modifications what, what more, you know, our audience is looking for, and so the only pushback I have seen that the only consistent pushback How does this apply to me? Because I work in the office, I'm isolated, I'm pretty much like the puppet master in certain aspects. And so you know, that that is some is, it's pushback nonetheless. But that's when we start honing in on those one on one conversations like, well, let's talk about a time you may have been harmed, or a time you may have harmed someone what was done to make it right, or what was not done, what would you have wished for? 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And so when you try, you know, sometimes I have to, when I'm having conversations with my administrators, like how, you know, a scale of one to 10, how confident are you in terms of the information being received, and so that gives me opportunity, like we do a whole discovery call, before we come on board to even say, Are we really going to come on board because every opportunity is not my opportunity. And all money is not good money. And I don't believe in signing off or anything, just for the sake of saying like, we had Dr. Jones come in and do a PD session. But if it's not going to be successful implementation and proper execution, I'm involved in that entire process or consistent follow up, then I don't want to, you know, I don't want to come on board. But one of the things I have seen outside of that, and having those one on one conversations, keep in mind, it is a little bit more tedious. And it's a little bit more time consuming, but it's definitely worth it out of like several situations, I can only think of one when somebody's like, you know, I'm good. Um, and that was because just from their perspective, like my, I got one foot in one foot out, I'm about to retire in two years. And so trying to, you know, get on board about something that I really am oblivious to. I'm cool. I'm not even open to learning. I'm not even open to caring. Oh, that's harsh. But, you know, I appreciate people's honesty and truth. But it's still harsh nonetheless. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
The other thing is I've seen, especially in the midst of this pandemic, the silver lining for me, like, you know, I just I released my seventh book in March. And it's called the 

David (he/him)  
Pineapple orange juice, right? 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Yes. There's a whole story behind it, and it started building momentum, because parents who are parent coordinators, like, Hey, can we get Dr. Jones to do like a book club with us? And so I did a book club shout out to, you know, elementary school, .... They, they are phenomenal. And those parents was like, um, you know, I task every parent, bring a parent that don't, don't ever participate, because you might be associated to this parent, because you live in the same neighborhood, y'all might even keep being cock eyed with each other, but they don't show up for parent, you know, parent events. And so my task for you is to find, find the reach, you know, bring them on board. And it's been like, so enlightening to the point where, you know, my team and I like, maybe this is another opportunity.

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
 And for me, it's been a, you know, this pandemic has really shown us how we need to and have been redefining the village. And so, I've seen situations where, you know, parents and educators who typically are at odds with one another, and their child may be the manipulative in between, because they know like my mom would never talk to the teacher and the teacher now got to talk to my mama. And so I can play both sides of the fence. I've seen it happen one too many times. And now, the anxiety that was come along with seeing that prefix of that phone number come up from the school and the parent not answering me because my age, I'm a parent of five, and I'm like, Hey, what's happening? Like, Ariel turn the camera on? Like, oh my gosh, um, but because of that, we've been able to really get to the gist of what's happening. So we can understand that this is our child, it's not your child. It's not my child it's our child. And so, you know, for me, it's just been the four R's in the midst of this pandemic, which is reimagine educational reciprocity. I'm redefining the village and reexploring humanity.

David (he/him)  
Yeah, yeah. There's, it's interesting, like, the circumstances under which you're writing, you wrote the book, right in the middle of the pandemic, where we are like, more isolated, we have been more isolated.

David (he/him)  
And like, the pandemic only brings out the the gaps of communications, as the pandemic only heightened a lot of the problems that already existed being like in this case being like gaps in communication between parents and teachers. And now coming back into all of this, when we're hopefully going to be back in person Come, come, the fall of fingers crossed, knock on all the wood. You know, how can we make sure that those relationships and that sense of community is stronger? Because like, there is no going back? 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Normal, right. I'm with you.

David (he/him)  
Right?

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Yeah. And so I'm like, so what I did this last month, June 8, every Tuesday from June 8, up until the 29th of June. I've been doing sessions, parents session, parent book club session they asked me to book club man is a quick read, but they wanted to really delve into each chapter, week by week. And so because of that, you know, the conversation shifted from talking about the book to mental health and mental illness and making sure I have tangible resources to share. So I'm sending like, each week, I was finding myself sending follow up emails, like a recap conversation, I'm sending a replay of the video. And then I'm also sharing the resources like Hey, I know you mentioned, you're looking for a male, a black male therapist, I have the perfect person, call him 9am tomorrow morning, you know. And so, for me, the approach I take to be restorative is that I may not have all the answers, but I'm connected to someone who has an answer for you. And so that's how we build social capital. And most times people don't like using the word network in the world of restorative justice, what they feel like, it's transactional, not relational. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
But whatever the connection, you know, like we're all connected, and it makes TV series I'm watching on Netflix Manifest. And so my God, one of the things that you came here like, though someone's whispering, we're all connected, which is part of the calling if you know anything about manifest, but like, even the things I entertain in my, my extracurricular activities is all like, I don't entertain craziness. I even found myself unfollowing a lot of different things on social media, because it wasn't that I didn't have the time, I didn't make the time to unfollow these different things, and you have to be conscious of from the time you wake up in the morning, how are you starting your day? No. Are you praying? Are you meditating? Are you journaling? Are you working out? Are you drinking your room temperature water? How much water? Are you drinking a day? Are you getting any type of physical activity, especially in the midst of a pandemic? where most of us are sitting in front of a computer? Are you using the Pomodoro technique to say like, Okay, I'm gonna work this 25 minutes, and I'm gonna take 10 minutes or five minutes to walk or whatever it is, um, how are we restoring our temples? Because the best relationship I've ever had this the relationship I have with myself.

David (he/him)  
Full Circle. I think we can think we can start transitioning towards first the questions that I asked everyone and then wrapping it up. We've talked about it in a lot of different ways, but define restorative justice.

David (he/him)  
For me, restorative justice as being able to bring bring those who have been harmed by any particular situation, direct or indirect, together to come to an agreement in terms of being able to give voice to the person who was harmed, not placing labels, because it's easy for us to say, this is the victim, this is the offender until you get into a situation. And we put too much power on titles, and then we're not able to really get to the gist of some of the why and get to the root causes. And it's never one and done. So for me, restorative justice is a way of life as it relates to the things that happens or occurs to us on a daily basis, or weekly basis, and are now allowing those things to build up to the point where we explode. And now we're not allowed to be our best sales. And so, you know, coming together, realizing that the harm exists, being able to speak about that harm, and how did that harm even come about so that we can have tangible tools, skills and resources available to us. So we could come to an agreement, give voice to that, and hold ourselves accountable to that process, build those competencies, build those relationships, build social capital, continue to be safe, and make sure resources are available in those conversations, and then what those consistent follow up look like because it's not a one and done. It's not a matter of like, okay, check this off my list. And so for me, that's what restorative justice about restorative justice is a way of life.

David (he/him)  
Beautiful, what has been like Oh, shit moment where you've messed up? And what did you learn from it within the context of this work?

David (he/him)  
My husband. When you are seen as a big thought leader, and you have a platform, no matter how small or how large, you considered an influencer, whether that's online, your online presence or face to face presence. Stay true to yourself and stay true to the people who are helping you along the way there may be behind the scene. And for me, that was one of the things that was a oh shit moment for me because my husband, has been I've known him since 2006. We got married in 2012. He's been in the trenches with me saying the best of me, he's seen the worst of me. And I lost sight of my marriage. I wasn't making time. And so while I'm helping my children, while I'm restoring my relationship with my mom, I think I'm good on restoring the relationship I have myself or you know, the work I do with the children and the youth and the communities and the parents, that one person. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
This is like, I won't ever say another word because if you don't see it, then why should I have to say something right? And so what does that mean to meet people where they are? And how am I doing the work that I say I love to do if I'm not the person I lay next to? Is the person that I assume like, we made it? Isn't this what we pray for? Isn't this what we work so hard for? So what did that look like to resurface the conversation? I, okay, we accomplish these goals but what are the next set of goals? And the person you were in 2006? That not be the person you are 2021 or 2020 at that time? And what do we need to do to press forward? What do you need from me? What do I need from you? Where's the reciprocity? How are we going to restore the relationship? Because I'm the one that harms you? You know, so, um, to be honest, it's been a blast, like, we really have to redefine, like, the children are getting older, they still need, you know, they still need us, they just need us in a different capacity. So what does this look like in terms of our relationship, you accomplish your goals, now, I want to start my own nonprofit organization will not have a janitorial service organization that's going to, you know, give people employable skills. And I'm like, Okay, I got you. Now, if I have all these resources that helped me build purple path then I need to allow those same resources be available to you. And I need to support you in the way you would like for me to support you not the way I want to support you, because it might be two different things. And so the only way I'm able to do that, again, is to be able to humanize experience and take a step back and say, I apologize, because I can see where I went wrong. I know where I went wrong. And so what do you need from me? Not just an apology, but what is the act like we could talk about it, but what actions should I do you believe I need to take and am I able to do those things? So let's talk about it. So it I suppose that was my moment?

David (he/him)  
Yeah, yeah. You know, relationship with yourself relationships with community, but like, you know, other Close, close relationships. You get to sit in circle with four people living or dead. Who are they? And what's the question you asked the circle? 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
My mom, she's 81. My dad, who would have been 86. He's passed away. Mmm hmm. My cousin David, who passed away last year. He's probably one of my favorite people in the world. Because, by me being I'm the youngest of maybe 60 plus grandchildren, I'm 40, he was the next one close to me. And when I was a freshman in high school, he was a senior in high school. And so like, he just that was my, he was like my brother. He's more of a brother than he was a cousin. And he just passed away last year, you know, through some somewhat COVID related and then other situations that were happening in. I wasn't prepared, but I don't think we ever prepare. But if I was able to have my father him, my mom, and I'm not necessarily sure about that fourth person. Because it will sound ideal. Like I'm not like, oh, be Oprah. I love Oprah, no shame. Um, but yeah, I'm not I'm not quite sure about that fourth person, it probably would be my husband, because my husband never met my father. And a lot of the different things I know about my father experience when my father is reminding me or my husband sometimes like my husband, we're total opposites. I'm outgoing lover, like, hey, boo, bring it in. And my husband's eyes are like how you doing? All right, keeps it in. And my father was, yeah, my father was the same way. And so I would love to see the two of them have a dialogue, because those were two important individuals are two important individuals in my life along with my cousin David. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And then my mom, just, I've never seen my mom interact with this new frame of mind with my father. So I would love to see what that would have looked like. 

David (he/him)  
What's the question you ask the circle? 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
Um, how do they feel about me? I know that might sound selfish. But when I think about decisions I make, those are the individuals I think of, or like, outside of myself, but I'm gonna make the decision I want to make, but I definitely think about them and my children. Yeah, especially when you talk about my father and my husband. And my mom, because my mom thing, my husband is the best thing ever. And I'm like, I will never tell you anything like we got into, that's another thing I've learned. When there's a disagreement between husband and wife, husband, not take it to the family. I learned that long time ago. And so if I can help someone else in terms of restore it being restored and have a restorative conversation, like don't go to bed angry, have the conversation. I don't care how hard it may be. Be honest with each other. And if you find yourself finding your spouse, not your best friend and name other people outside of the person you married, then that's someone you might want to, you know, need to talk about. So yeah, that would be my question, how did I feel about me?

David (he/him)  
Yeah. What is a place situation or instance that you've witnessed or observed recently? Where do you wish people knew this work? And it doesn't have to be like the most serious thing. But what's a time that you witnessed recently where you wish people really knew this work?

David (he/him)  
Oh, man. So we, um, we have some incoming freshmen 15 it's down to 11. Um 11 freshmen students, just graduated from eighth grade. So keep in mind, they've never been in person. And one of the things like the program is great as a summer program, and not only is this actually is a program that start from their freshman year and help them navigate, and they collaborate with our school district to go along, you know, follow that whole process from freshman to senior year, when by the time they get to their senior year, they would have like eight different certifications in terms of all these different economic opportunities with Seta, you know, which is a community organization. And so, one of the young ladies had a full panic attack. But because everyone, no one knows each other, um my superintendent and super, Assistant Superintendent was like... They didn't have a context to what happened but they did you like a case note from someone. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
To fast forward the case note basically consisted of, they didn't understand what happened because everybody was sitting in circle introducing themselves. But what they didn't know was that that was a trigger for that particular student, because one, she already had a sense, you know, already had been diagnosed anxiety prior to the pandemic, but has significantly increased during the pandemic. And now this is our first day, being around other individuals outside of the people she lived with, because of the pandemic. And the moment that everybody stared at her waiting for her response, she just had to get up. She wasn't disrespectful, she didn't curse anybody out. She just got up and ran out. And it was alarming, because like, what happened? Like so everybody trying to think, right, let's reverse let's rewind, like, what was there? What was done? You know, what do we do? And so when they sent the case note, and then it came to me, I was able to go into the school, you know, go into the program that following day and met with the student along with another colleague of mine who works with Seta that I'm connected to, because she was trained by me. So it was like, Oh, we about to do this together. And so I said hey girl. And so we bring this student in. And we're talking to her. We aint talk about the situation when you start are like Hey, what happened yesterday was like Hey, boo was good. How are you doing? And I've always asked God continue to be a spirit of disarming because I approach people the way I need to approach them, you know, each person needs something different. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
And so we're talking to the young lady, you know, she's like, you know, I can't wait to get home, I need to play the piano. And she started she like, um, you know, she started naming some of the things you do not to brag, but just during a conversation to talk about, you know how to speak Korean, she speak Japanese, she loves anime, she plays piano, she volunteer for a church. It's like, all these different things. I'm like, she's 14 years old, like, Oh, my God, I need to like God, give me the words to say to her because I knew how to know, like your life matter. And if praying, you know, like, what can I do to assist you during this during this journey, because one thing I can share with you that I too have anxiety. And these are some of the things I've been able to do. She was like, yeah, and when she started going down a list like, yo, my, my air pods had died, I can't listen to the music, the list that I you know, like she had all these measures in place. Like, hey, my, my, my air pods died and the list at the playlist I created I couldn't listen to and then the necklace that my grandfather had gave me which had his addresss I forgot to put it on that morning. So all she typically will reach for or have access to she didn't. And so I was like, Alright, I'm about to go to Walmart right now. I'm about to get you a charger that's gonna stay here.

David (he/him)  
And because of her, I started doing some research and found out about the full fidget cube, you know, little clicks and buttons and stuff. And it allows you to really just calm calm yourself. And you know, I told her about breathing techniques, and I bought like a little pocket. And then in return the following day, I get a phone call, like, she got me some stuff. And so now we like starting this relationship and then got the parent, you know, got the mom involved. She's crying because she's like, thank you because, um, no, she, she works in education. And she was at a conference and she was sketchy, you know, like, already weary about going. But she decided to go because it was part of her job. And when we started having a conversation, I'm like, we're in this together, boo, like, I got you and she was like, thank god like you are heaven sent and I'm like, nah I'm doing the work I'm supposed to do and, and we're gonna you know, stay in contact.

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
 So for me, even though it's more to that story about getting really right in depth with what's really happening in the behind the scene and the why I was able to, you know, my, the young lady that I was working with was able to relay that message to like, let's take a different approach, you know, so when we have our check ins and our checkout, so that, you know, if students need different opportunities to be a little bit more creative in their responses, we have that available to them. So they went and purchased, like every child, you know, every student that all students have access to all these different little gadgets. Yeah. And that was powerful for me. And it was restorative. And I made mention of the mask that she had on and she made me a mask and I'm like, teach me how to crochet! But anyway, but I say all that to say that that was powerful for me, because it was showing like, it wasn't just me, you had that the individuals who have running the summer program being proactive I, hey, because they could easily be like ahh she'll be okay. And they didn't, they didn't they saw her and they humanize her experience. And like, we may not have a solution, but we need a system to navigate this process. And so between them, and the district, myself and the young lady from Seta, all of us coming together to work with not just the school, but with the family too. And so it was in like, even the conversation with you know, talked about, you know, mission cycle, like how did we get here. And so we just had to call the doctor and and and think about like, because she has like some things that are happening, and was able to get some solutions in the area that we weren't even really focused on when we talked about doing the work that you're doing, in terms of being restorative, is really not just it's not, of course we come together because of this situation at hand. But it's so much more and so many more resources that can be made available, so that that that child and that family can be as whole as possible.

David (he/him)  
Absolutely. Thank you. Thank you for that. When I think about this question. I've asked this in a lot of different ways. What I'm looking for is, and I think I just need to like give people examples. But like, things that like we're not necessarily personally involved in.

David (he/him)  
I'm glad you said that, because one of my favorite TV shows is The Shot, right. And I don't know if you watch it or not, but that the last episode was about one of the main characters getting involved in a situation with one of his former best friends, and they got into an altercation and got into a physical altercation. As they were fighting, the teacher gets up. And this student accidentally went to punch the the other student, which was supposed to his best friend ended up punching the teacher. And because this was like an elite school, like, um, you know, like, it wasn't one. Yeah. It was a private prep school, right. And so they have their own set of rules, and they still base their rules off of like, the key word they said in this entire process was zero tolerance. And so, as he you know, it shows this young man trying to navigate what life looks like, he's apologetic, like, even in the situation and felt like, Oh, my God, I'm sorry, you know, like, but, of course, he has to be removed, we get that, you know, a teacher was harmed, he's bleeding everywhere. But what does that look like to you know, welcome him back in. And they didn't. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
What end up happening was he brought up you know, he didn't even write a letter like I even asked if I before you can make a decision, can I have a conversation and tell you exactly how bad I feel. And he was authentic about it. He, you know, they show like, prior to having this meeting, some of the things he was navigating, you know, in his mind and, you know, actions that he was taking to make improvements. And, like he poured his heart out a day if I get thank you for all that. But because our school is built on zero tolerance, we cannot tolerate this. It's bogus. And I was like, this would have been a perfect opportunity and what this could have looked like to bring the family then the other student, the other students who witnessed what happened the teacher, and I'm like, we could have a really different things. I've been like, I went on an Instagram page and was like, hey, last episode was good. But I would love to have seen restorative justice pan out in this particular scenario and moving forward. And so yeah, yeah, that would have been the other thing I would have shared because that was one of the things that was on my mind. But in my mind, I was thinking thinking like something I was like, personally connected to.

David (he/him)  
I have a feeling I know what you're gonna say. But what's one mantra or affirmation? You want everyone listening to this?

David (he/him)  
Of course you would know. A journey not shared is a soul not healed.

David (he/him)  
You shared that already. Thank you for that. Just let that wash over, folks. One more time. Say it again.

David (he/him)  
A journey not shared is a soul not healed.

David (he/him)  
Don't have to share it with everybody. Share it with one person, share it with the person who you know. It's risky to do that sharing right. And the impact can be so great. Two more questions. Who's one person who I should have on this podcast?

David (he/him)  
Um, have you had Robert Spicer? 

David (he/him)  
Yes, I have. 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
You have?

David (he/him)  
 I think it was like Episode 10. We're on 42 right now. No, 43. This will be 43 

Dr. Shaniqua Jones  
I got you I'd definitely love to see I don't have. He was like my one person. Um, Catherine Rafer would have been the other. Oh, I can hit up Catherine. Well, I think she would be ideal, especially knowing. Like, I know her work. And she paved the way for me she's one individual who paved the way for me.

David (he/him)  
Yeah, I'll hit her up. And then finally, how can people support you in all of your work in the way that you want to be supported?

David (he/him)  
Um, definitely, you can always follow me on my Instagram page at purple path by Dr. J. If you have questions, concerns or inquiries or how you know about my work and how we may connect in some form or fashion and collaborate, you can go to my website at purplepathDrJ.com and everything you need to know about about the work that I'm doing and upcoming opportunities is on my website. So purplepathDrJ.com. 

David (he/him)  
Beautiful. Well, thank you so much, Dr. Shaniqua Jones, it's been a pleasure to hear your wisdom, your stories, your experiences. I was like I might have laughed more in this podcast than I have in many of the other ones. But I immensely enjoyed myself, anything else you want to leave the people with?

David (he/him)  
Well, I'm good. And now just know that restorative justice is the way of life.

David (he/him)  
Beautiful Well, thank you everybody so much for listening. We're back with another episode next week.