From the Executive Director: Justice That Heals

Around the world, communities are hungry for justice that addresses root causes and fosters healing. For too long, justice narrowly focused on punishment through prisons, a treatment of symptoms that has been tried and found wanting.

Healing justice melds together the biblical themes of truth, grace and restored relationships and systems.

At CJP, we are honored to play a key role in this blossoming restorative justice movement.

In June 2016, the EMU Board of Trustees approved an MA degree in restorative justice – the first such graduate degree offered at a residential university in North America. The story of Gregory Winship, the first graduate of this ground-breaking program, is featured on page 2 of Peacebuilder.

During the past academic year, CJP engaged healing justice work in many ways:

  • CJP students Lenore Bajare-Dukes and Jennifer Chi Lee, along with Jodie Geddes MA ‘16, assisted in a national mapping exercise to gather data about the nature and extent of current truth-telling, racial healing, memorialization and social transformation initiatives. Lenore completed her practicum at The Conciliation Project in Richmond, Virginia. See page 28.
  • Dr. Johonna Turner and Dr. Kathy Evans, of EMU’s MA in education program, were part of the planning team led by teachers and staff of Jackson (Mississippi) Public Schools to design a restorative justice intervention. Dr. Turner also taught CJP’s first online RJ course.
  • CJP participated on a design team for the W.K. Kellogg Foundation’s Truth, Racial Healing and Transformation enterprise – “a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change, and to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism.”
  • The Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice was awarded a $104,000 grant to lead a national process aimed at identifying the most strategic areas to invest in order to support the RJ movement. See page 25.
  • Dr. Carl Stauffer’s “Truth-telling, Reconciliation and Restorative Justice” course – co-taught with Dr. Nicholas Rowe – drew 24 participants at our Summer Peacebuilding Institute (SPI).

As we move into the 2017-18 academic year, new RJ opportunities are sprouting:

  • Seven members of the incoming 2017-18 cohort will work towards the MA in restorative justice degree.
  • The Zehr Institute will host a fall webinar series focused on how restorative justice approaches can be used to help acknowledge and transform the legacy of slavery and racial injustice in the United States. That series will be followed by a short online course on RJ for police departments.
  • Twenty-five Brazilian judges, professors and civil society leaders will spend an intensive week at CJP in October. Brazil has taken bold steps to integrate RJ in its judicial and educational systems.
  • Charlottesville Mennonite Church co-pastor Roy Hange, who frequently teaches a faith-based peacebuilding course at SPI, is working with clergy and community leaders in the aftermath of racially motivated violence that rocked Charlottesville in mid-August. See page 10.

Indeed there is growing hunger for justice that heals. Will you join CJP in helping this movement to flourish?