Over 100 people gathered virtually on Sunday, January 24th to discuss “Making Michiana a Restorative Justice Community” at the Michiana Social Justice Coalition’s annual People’s Inauguration. According to Dalila Huerta, a local restorative justice expert and keynote speaker for this event, “Restorative justice is about transformation...a compass to address issues that keep harming our society.”
Attendees chose among five conversations about how to purposefully disrupt cycles of inequality and injustice in education, mental health, economics, public health, and law enforcement. The resounding message running through all these deliberations was the need for intentional focus on the root causes. In education, empower learning by checking the impact of implicit bias. Recognize how economic policy that appears benign can ripple out into major harm. Interrogate the ways both public health and law enforcement suffer from the same lack of trust and loss of relationship with the citizens they claim to serve. Transform the definitions of who deserves mental health services and where that need can be met, incorporating the powerful role of simple joy in building community.
Many participants attended in search of ways to make an impact and to find more resources. You can read more about restorative justice and the people’s inauguration here.