Restorative justice events planned to commemorate Martin Luther King Jr.

January 19, 2019. Lawrence Journal-World.

Ben MacConnell understands the dangers of attaching opinions on a modern issue to someone who can’t speak for himself, but he believes Martin Luther King Jr. would be a strong proponent of criminal justice reform.

“Given the billions of dollars we’re spending on jails and prisons, and the fact that more people of color are incarcerated than there were slaves at the height of slavery, he would be looking at this and, I think, want to spend a lot of time focused on it,” MacConnell said.

Friday Editorial: ICARE remains a powerful voice

January 4, 2019. The Florida Times-Union.

The scene for an ICARE meeting is impressive.

There is a sea of people in the church pews, but they aren’t all from one congregation or faith: there are Christians, Jews, Unitarians, Baha’is and more, making up a wonderful human quilt of Jaclsonville.

And the meeting they’re attending in this church won’t take hours: it’s a highly structured one with just a few minutes reserved for every speaker.

It’s appropriate, because ICARE has always been about turning words into real, tangible action.

City officials to give updates on addiction, public safety at CLOUT meeting

November 12, 2018. Insider Louisville.

Several city officials are slated to provide updates Monday on a wide range of topics — from school safety to how the police treat individuals with mental illness — that have been raised by one of Louisville’s most prominent interfaith social justice organizations.

On Monday night, members of CLOUT, or Citizens of Louisville Organized and United Together, will hear “progress reports” from several local politicians about targeted “issue campaigns” undertaken by the group, according to a news release.

Justice Knox: Churches press officials on affordable housing, school suspensions

May 1, 2018. Knox News

In pressing public officials to take action on social problems in Knox County, Justice Knox doesn’t shy away from tension — it embraces it.

“Collectively, we raise our voice and call for our public officials to hear their constituents,” Justice Knox Co-president Rev. Meredith Loftis told the hundreds of people who packed into Central United Methodist Church on Monday evening.

“This will cause tension, but let’s be clear, it is tension borne of hearts that care.”

Can ‘restorative practices’ in schools get at the root of bad behavior? The idea is being tested

April 19, 2018. The Post and Courier.

The two boys were play-fighting, until suddenly they weren’t. The slap rang out at Northwoods Middle School.

Students at Northwoods are bound by the same rules and consequences as anyone else in the Charleston County School District. But thanks to a pilot program that started at their school and four others last year, the students also have a unique opportunity to face one another and make amends for their mistakes.

The pilot program is known as “restorative practices,” an approach to resolving conflicts that emphasizes personal responsibility and healing relationships. The approach was developed by Australian police to work with juvenile offenders in the 1990s, and it has since spread to schools worldwide.