"we are all in this together" spelled on cloths along a clothes line

So, what even is Restorative Justice?

So, what even is Restorative Justice?

A succinct answer to this question always evades me. I usually stutter through clumsy words. It’s rarely, if ever, a satisfactory answer. The true meaning seems impossible to encapsulate in words.

This blog post was no different, at least at first. I fumbled with my words. Nothing I wrote amounted to much.

The past four or five weeks changed that.

As the world takes on more challenges by the day, our response is remarkable. Every day  I see examples of individuals helping each other, offering words of encouragement and support, and working together to embrace the struggle that is life in isolation. People that seemingly shared no connection are inextricably linked by circumstance. A convoluted web of social connectedness emerged – despite the distance from each other.

These connections are what Restorative Justice pays special attention to cultivate and maintain. These connections are always present. As social people, we forge a network that extends for a distance that isn’t easily quantified. Restorative Justice is a process of tending these connections, using them to build up and support each other and to prevent or repair harm when it occurs. Restorative Justice is understanding that if one is harmed, the whole of us is hurt. It is understanding that repairing and improving upon each other strengthens all of us.

So, that is the best answer I have to that question. It would have been nice if I hadn’t needed the current situation for inspiration, but the distance between us is a reminder of why the entirety of a community is so important. As important as ever.

Chris is a junior from Rome, GA. He is a history major and chemistry minor following the pre-health track. He is interested in the ways that the humanities can be included in spaces they are traditionally not addressed, such as medicine. He already uses restorative justice for community building in his organizations, and looks forward to exploring ways it can be introduced into student groups’ policy for addressing harms caused by members.

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