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materials compiled by nuri nusrat the content is simply my interpretation of the wisdom of many teachers and teachings that uplift humanity and practice doing so during harm and conflict these materials include quotes by incredible people knowledge cannot be ownedplease use or share any or all of this

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Introduction WHO IS THIS TO O LKIT F O R?

Anyone wanting to practice talking about conflict, things that are hard to talk about, things that hurt, in an attempt to: * understand the person in front of you * address the impacts of harm, mutual harms, conflicts, and more * support those impacted in getting what they need to move forward in a way that supports their healing

SOM E A S SUM PT I ON S I N T H IS TO O LKIT

* that you might be having restorative conversations about harm or conflict * that some of you are facilitating conversations about harm that happened to other people * that your restorative conversations may result in a restorative process * and that we can practice restorative conversations about anything, not just harm and conflict

APPROACHES IN THIS TO O LKIT

* Written explanations of content * Moments for self-reflection Reflect in the ways that work for your body and learning style. Even though there are optional spaces to write, that doesn’t mean writing works for people. Do what works for you.)

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Self-Reflection Moment: What Brings You Here? “Am I reacting from ego or responding from the heart?” - B ON N IE WILLS

We show up in restorative conversations with our own values, vulnerabilities, needs, triggers, gifts, biases, wisdom, and experiences. It’s useful to notice what’s going on for us and what we’re feeling when showing up for a restorative conversation. The more we’re aware of what’s going on with us, the more we can notice our own motivations and needs during a restorative conversation. Here is an opportunity to take a moment to examine what you’re coming to this toolkit with:

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A Brief Note Honoring Indigenous & First Nations Practice We don’t have a word for 'offender' in our language, the word we use means 'unhealed’. -FAITH TAI T OF T H E NISG A’A NAT ION

Many indigenous and first nations communities don’t use the words restorative justice, but have been practicing their own specific ways for addressing harm and righting relationship. Each community’s practices are unique to them, and can’t be summarized as a monolithic way or practice. But the ways of repairing relationship arise out of each community’s worldviews.1 “Many indigenous communities don’t use the term restorative justice, but they’ve been doing their variation of it for centuries before the West created a word for it. In the indigenous paradigms of peacemaking (of which there are many), justice is embedded in a holistic worldview. In a holistic worldview we don’t separate things—meaning peacemaking and circle are embedded in a way of life and the outcome of justice is deeply tied to healing and restoring balance to oneself, one’s relationships, and nature. Therefore, the notion that there is some practice or tool called “restorative justice” that stands apart from a way of being and living together is not accurate and not a commonly used term.2” As restorative justice started getting fame and money, many indigenous and First Nations communities weren’t recognized, honored, or given material resources. This erasure and invisibilizing is not just. I don’t come from these communities. My experience with restorative justice has been from its Western roots, shared by Mennonite communities and adapted by communities across the world to both address harm and structural oppression. What I’m sharing here comes from my experiences with Western RJ practices. 1 Please see Shah, S., Stauffer, C., King. S. (2017). Restorative Justice Listening Project. Zehr Institute for Restorative Justice. https://zehr-institute.org/images/Restorative-Justice-Listening-Project-Final-Report.pdf. 2 This quote is directly from the Restorative Justice Listening Project cited above, as is the quote from Faith Tait.

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Values & Principles of Restorative Justice* RE STOR AT IVE JU ST IC E IS A D IF F E RE N T PA R A D IG M T HA N T H E PU N IT IVE PA R A D IG M RE F L E C T E D IN C U RRE N T L E G A L SYST E MS. Punitive paradigms view punishment as a legitimate goal. Restorative justice does not.

SO M E P R INC IP LES OF RE STOR AT IVE PROC E SSE S: Restorative justice seeks accountability for harm. Accountability is not punishment. Accountability is asking someone to show up for themselves and to show up to make repair for the impact they’ve had on others. In many restorative processes, folks are asked to be accountable to those they hurt, themselves, and their communities. ACC O UNTABIL IT Y:

* Restorative conversations help people who have hurt others unearth the root causes of why they did what they did. The conversations help them explore what they need to heal within themselves so that they don’t repeat the harm. They also create a container of care, compassion, and belonging while doing so. As Daria from Accountability Mapping writes, “Let’s envision accountability as a lifeaffirming, generative, and liberatory practice.” Restorative justice orients around the needs of people harmed. Those harmed define their own needs and decide what repair looks like for them. People who have done harm are asked to be accountable in ways that meet the harmed person’s self-identified needs. Orienting around these needs means their needs are central to restorative processes, which also consider the needs of everyone involved. O RI ENTED AROUND PERSON H AR ME D :

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* Restorative conversations hold people harmed with compassion, care, belonging, and deep presence while they share the numerous impacts of the harm. These conversations support people harmed in getting to the heart of what they need and what repair looks like. They also explore what repairs are possible and fair to create asks that can be met. The last thing we want is for them to be disappointed because their asks aren’t met. There are no experts in restorative justice. Instead the people directly involved and the support people they bring to restorative processes come together to create the outcomes of the process. Restorative processes often ask everyone present to help create, offer opinions on, and support any plans to repair harm. C O M M UN IT Y INVOLV E MENT:

I don’t know what you should do. I don’t know what any soul has come here to experience. But I am here to support you while you are going through it. - B ONN IE WILLS

Folks facilitating restorative justice show equal compassion and care to everyone involved, regardless of their role in the harm. Restorative justice is not a thing done to people. It is a way to ask all those impacted to define and decide what moving forward looks like in a non-punitive, dignity affirming way. R ES TOR ATIV E J USTICE VAL UE S:

It also is a shared authentic experience. Facilitators are being present with what is going on for them while being present with the folks they are talking to. On the next page are some of the values and principles of restorative justice:

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Self-Reflection Moment: Which Values Resonate With Me?

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A Special Note About Belonging We need a safe container to speak up. So that speaking up isn’t harming ourselves. There is a lot of fear attached to wondering if we are going to be rejected if we tell our truth. - B ONN IE WILLS

Belonging is a human need. We want and deserve to have people that care about and love us unconditionally. We don’t want to lose belonging. We might feel terrified about losing connection and belonging, so we hide things to make sure people won’t leave us. Sometimes we don’t: * share things we’re ashamed of * share ways we’ve been harmed * share ways we’ve harmed others * share what we want or need * share that we think differently than others around us It can be terrifying to think we’ll be shamed, kicked out, or hated for what we do. It can be terrifying that people might not see our humanity and will define us forever as only our worst actions or experiences. That we might not be seen as we grow and heal. Restorative conversations practice some pretty radical belonging. They convey that the person will not lose belonging, no matter what they share. When having a restorative conversation we accept people’s full humanity and meet them with compassion. (Note that when we practice belonging- we also still get to have boundaries and express them.)

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HE R E ’S A N E XER C IS E ON WHAT BE LON G IN G F E E L S L IKE (Adapted from the Ahimsa Collective) S TEP 1 :

Draw an outline of a sun with 5 rays on a piece of paper. Or think of a sun.

Think about a friendship or group you've been a part of where you felt totally accepted and welcomed. Where you felt free to speak vulnerably. S TEP 2:

* If you can’t remember a group where you felt accepted, can you imagine what that would feel like? In each ray of the sun write or think about one thing that made the group feel like a place that you could bring your real self. (For example, people were vulnerable, open, etc). S TEP 3 :

In the center of the sun write or think about one thing you’d like to offer to someone in a restorative conversation. What can you bring that will make people feel like they can bring their joy, their pain, and their struggles? (For example, compassion). S TEP 4 :

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Why Talk About Values Before Explaining Restorative Conversations? Restorative justice values guide restorative conversations. Grounding in these values and our own values will help us ask questions that reflect these values.

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Self-Reflection Moment: How Do I Show up In Conversations? Before explaining the basics of restorative conversations, here’s an opportunity to reflect on how we show support and care when someone shares with us. Let’s notice some of our “go-to” ways of being supportive. It takes practice to ask restorative questions in a conversation. One of the ways to practice is by noticing how we usually show up and then trying something different. I N THI S E XERCISE :

Think about a time someone shared with you that they experienced something hurtful or upsetting. Think about a time someone one shared with you that they did something hurtful or upsetting to another. In these instances, what are the things you did? Did you give advice? Did you listen? Did you talk mess about the person that hurt them? Did you cosign their behavior? Did you offer empathy? Pick out/circle things that you did or generally do in the “My Empathy Styles Bingo” sheet. Feel free to add other things you do in the blank squares or to reflect on other things you do.

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Reflect on/write about why you do the things you selected in “My Empathy Styles Bingo.” What do you need that makes you show up in that way? I N THI S FOL LOW-UP E XERCISE :

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These activities are to help us notice some of the ways we show up in conversations and why. How we show up reflects our own experiences and needs. For example, when I try to make someone laugh (when they are sharing something hard) it’s because: a) laughing is one of my trauma responses, b) I’m not good at tears, and c) I need to feel some hope, and laughter makes me feel that. Sometimes how we show up works for the person in front of us. Sometimes it really doesn’t. In both instances, we want to notice why we show up in these ways. The more practice we get in recognizing our needs, we can tend to them. When we do so, they can take up less space in a conversation and make space for the person in front of us.

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Goals of Restorative Conversations

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OTHER GOAL S OF RESTOR ATIV E C ON V E R SAT IONS:

In restorative conversations, we ask questions inviting people to self-reflect and go deeper into their feelings, experiences, needs, and goals. We support each person in reflecting on: * How their past life experiences influenced their actions and feelings during the incident/harm * What people and resources they have to support them * What relationships can be cultivated to help create a support system * Their own self-agency and support they need to make choices that honor their needs and boundaries * What healing looks like & how to prevent future incidents/harm In restorative conversations, we also begin refining the impacts, needs, and repair. Initial conversations can be broad → folks can share many of their feelings, impacts, and needs. However, in later conversations we want to distill what they’ve shared into main themes and needs. Why do we do this? Restorative processes can’t address each and every aspect of harm. We don’t want to set harmed folks up to expect that every need they have will be met- that is harmful to them and not realistic. We also want the repair to be realistic, proportionate, and related to the harm. We want accountability to be doable and feel fair to everyone affected. In order to get there, we want to help folks hone in on: * What are the main ways harm affected them? * What are some tangible and realistic steps towards repair?

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Restorative Conversations Questions Here are the “standard” Western restorative justice questions. I don’t think I’ve ever asked these questions using this wording! Instead, I ask these questions in my own words.

These are all questions. We ask people questions because we recognize their wisdom as directly impacted people. We don’t tell them our opinion or what we think they need.

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The How of Restorative Conversations Questions Accountability means you are stepping into right relationship with yourself and your own moral compass - DAN IE L SE LF

Now we’ve seen the questions! Here are some practices to use when asking these questions that help when having restorative conversation. * Ask questions: Invite the person’s own wisdom-Don’t tell them what you think they should do or feel * Ask open-ended questions: This helps allow space for someone to talk about what’s alive for them * Listen to really understand: We all have judgments- Notice these and still try to understand the person’s needs and motivations * Multiple Conversations: When possible, have multiple conversations to deepen their self-reflection * Co-facilitators: When possible, have co-facilitators for your conversation→ you will each notice different things and have different gifts * Feedback tool: Create a tool to check-in with your co-facilitator before and after you meet with someone impacted → this makes it easier to assess yourself and offer feedback to each other * Check your need to do everything: A facilitator’s role is not to become the support system for those impacted → instead help participants identify people and communities they can ask for support & figure out what steps to take to get this support * Clarity & Boundaries: If there are any next steps, be clear in what they are and how you’ll participate; set reasonable boundaries within the conversation and with future work together

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In restorative conversations we practice asking questions. But our needs can also show up in these questions! We want to ask questions that help the person we’re in conversation with: * understand more of how they are feeling * reflect on what they need But, sometimes we ask questions that satisfy our curiosity or needs rather than supporting someone in deepening their self-reflection and getting clarity.

RE STOR ATIV E C O N V E RSATION QUE STI ON

N ON - R E STOR AT IV E C ONV E R SAT ION QU E ST ION

Why does your family care more about your cousin’s needs than yours?

I noticed your tone changed when you talked about your cousin. What came up for you when you thought about your cousin?

This question shows the person asking has a clear opinion about what is happening. It’s also kind of leading.

This question notices something and asks about it.

It would be different if the sharer had first said, “My family cares more about my cousin’s needs than mine.” Then, this question could be phrased as, “What are the things they do that make you feel they care more about your cousin’s needs” or, “Why do you think that they care more about your cousin?” or “How does that feel?”

Finally, make these questions your own! * They might feel unnatural and stiff. So, find out how people were affected, what they need, & what repair looks like (and what was going on with them, and their support system) using your own words and personality.

BRING YO U R P IZ Z A Z Z OR SPAR K LE OR WHATEV E R E LSE YOU C ALL T HE G IF T S THAT ONLY YOU C AN B R ING .

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Let’s Practice* *The scenarios in this toolkit will not involve severe violence. They will involve things that impact people. Please check-in with yourself when reading these. If you need to not engage these materials, please feel free to not use them.

ST E P S:

* For all of these scenarios, practice asking the restorative conversation questions. You can practice with a partner or practice with yourself. * Then on the right side of each scenario, reflect on/write down what else you’d want to know about how the person was impacted, what they need, and what repair could look like.

WHAT E LSE I WOU LD WANT TO K N OW:

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WHAT E LSE I WOU LD WANT TO K N OW:

WHAT E LSE I WOU LD WANT TO K N OW:

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Self-Reflection Moment: Post-Practice Self-Reflection

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Why this post-practice self reflection moment?

It’s important to ask ourselves these questions to practice noticing our own feelings, triggers, and biases. Our feelings can influence how we show up and the level of care we show in a conversation. We also want to notice if we’re feeling punitive, protective, biased, or like a savior. We don’t want to act from these feelings. Doing so is not aligned with restorative justice values and often not aligned with our personal values. Practice noticing your feelings with curiosity and compassion. Try asking yourself where these feelings come from and if you need anything. Doing so can help us not act from these feelings.

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Adding Your Own Flavor to Restorative Conversations The wording of the restorative questions may not have felt natural to you. It’s important to make them authentic to you-use your own flavor. Take a moment here to reflect on/write how you asked the questions in ways that reflected your own style.

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Self-Reflection Moment: What Do I Bring To Restorative Conversations Take a moment to appreciate all of what you bring! What values do you bring to the conversation? What gifts do you bring? What do you want to try more of?

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Connecting Back to Why We Do This Feel free to respond creatively to these questions. That might be using your imagination, drawing, reflecting, or journaling.

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How to Get More Practice Asking these Questions IF YOU WANT TO PR AC T IC E H AV IN G MOR E R E STOR AT IV E CONV E RSATIO N S, H E R E AR E SOME NOT E S:

Restorative conversations don’t have to be about big harms or even about harm. You can use these values and questions in many situations * You might try asking restorative questions in your next interaction with someone you’re comfortable with, about any feeling or situation * You might practice with yourself by asking yourself how you’re affected by a situation, what you need, and perhaps, what repair looks like You can use the scenarios above with different practice partners Approach everyone recognizing they have needs and practice asking what they need If you have a restorative conversation with someone, you might ask for honest feedback after

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Resources

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this art piece is by @Colormehappii https://www.instagram.com/colormehappii/

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Profile for Project Nia

A Restorative Conversation Toolkit  

This toolkit was compiled by nuri nusrat and designed by Danbee Kim (https://ooristudio.com). This toolkit is for anyone who wants to practi...

A Restorative Conversation Toolkit  

This toolkit was compiled by nuri nusrat and designed by Danbee Kim (https://ooristudio.com). This toolkit is for anyone who wants to practi...

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