2020 has been a year of unprecedented need for people's voices to be heard.
We'd like to share a bit about a current project that addresses the need!
COMMUNITY VOICES FOR CHANGE is community dialogue program for youth who have been most affected by COVID-19 due to unemployment, homelessness, disparities in health risk and unfair treatment in health care, and more. This program youth are paid to train in conflict resolution, circlekeeping, and restorative principles to prepare them to lead their own dialogues with peers. Let us introduce you to three CRC Changemakers:
Meet Jayla*, CRC Changemaker. She self-identifies as bi-polarand suffers with anxiety. She contacted CRC to say: "This is so good for me! I'm learning how to help others, but I'm learning so much about myself. I'm learning I have choices about what to do when I'm faced with conflict. Thank you so much! "
Also, meet Zahra*, CRC Changemaker. Her takeaway from the second day of training was: "I've learned that there are constructive and destructive ways to deal with conflict. You can let someone speak their truth without reacting badly."
In schools, over 250 students participate in mediations to resolve disputes with each other. Disputes, that left unresolved, can lead to punitive disciplinary measures, suspension or expulsion. In these guided discussions, real listening occurs when each student is allowed time to talk about their role in the conflict and to listen to the other student.
CRC also works to keep juveniles who have been involved in non-violent petty offense from further involvement in the criminal justice system. Through Restorative Justice Conferences, CRC aids in keeping almost 100 youth a year from getting a juvenile record. Juvenile first time nonviolent offenders and victims and community members participate in a conference where they speak to understand each other’s experience and point of view. Juvenile offenders talk about the impact of their actions and create their own plan to take personal accountability and repair the harm they caused.
In courts, CRC mediators work with over 600 parties yearly, providing an alternative to the traditional legal process. Landlords and tenants meet to speak about their concerns and come up with equitable solutions. Mediation addresses wrongdoing and conflict in an expedient, equitable, low, or no-cost process.