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The more power you have, the more people will listen respectfully to your story.
Consequently, listening to someone’s story is a way of recognizing their power,
of validating their intrinsic worth as a human being. —Kay Pranis
Restorative Justice at UC Berkeley
At UC Berkeley, students from many different cultures and gender identities find themselves living, learning and working together. College is also a space for students to explore their identities, test out theories ideas new to them, and learn about their histories. These dynamics inevitably lead to conflicts.
When left unaddressed, conflicts can spin out of control, divide communities, and cause acute stress, mental, emotional and even physical harm.
Peer-peer conflict resolution, community building and harm reduction
The RJ Student Leaders team was formed in the fall of 2015 to provide peer-to- peer training and services in conflict resolution, restorative practices (community building and other circles) and restorative justice (responding to harm). This program is unique in its goals to train students in the arts of restorative justice and conflict resolution on campus.
Currently 5 student leaders are trained and practicing RP and RJ across campus in dorms, cooperative student housing (the co-ops), theme floors, sororities, student government, and classrooms.
RJSL Coordinator Johanna Romero, a December 2015 graduate and former student leader, organizes our efforts.
We now have so many requests for our services, we are working to build our capacity.
Please support us so we can continue our work and increase our capacity in all areas of campus!
Responsiveness and Accountability
On campus, conflicts and harms generally arise from:
- simple miscommunications
- insensitive speech
- arguments over beliefs and ideologies
- harassment and bullying.
The RJ Student leaders offer the following:
Restorative circles that bring students together to create intentional communities based on shared values and agreements for communication and relationships.
Restorative conferences, where people who have harmed others are given a safe space to express accountability for their actions and work with those they harmed and their communities to make things right and restore relationships.
This year alone, the RJ student leaders have trained hundreds of students in the basics of restorative circle practice, guided dozens of students through restorative processes to address harms, resolve conflicts and restore relationships and empowered students with skills and techniques to address harms and resolve conflicts in their communities.
Developing Skills for Life, Work and Healthy Relationships
The RJ Student Leaders program prepares students with key skills for everyday life, for careers, and for healthy relationships.
What better time than college to learn skills in empathic listening, conflict resolution, building and strengthening communities, focused conversations, and using time-tested processes for inviting accountability and reconciliation in response to harm?
Cal graduates who trained through the RJ Center have also found meaningful jobs in the RJ field in schools, prisons, and in the juvenile justice system.
RJ and the Goals of the RJ Center at UC Berkeley
Restorative Justice is…
a revival of community-based justice, engaging people in inclusive and
collaborative decision-making about responses to harm and conflict.
offer alternatives to conventional models of discipline and punishment, by
focusing on the harm done and the needs of everyone involved.
emphasize accountability and repair, the dignity of people who harm, and the
empowerment of those who have been harmed.
Our objectives at the RJ Center are to:
- develop awareness among students of behaviors that exclude
- create safe/brave spaces for students to tell their stories, and hear each others’ stories, building empathic relationships
- provide students with the skills and processes to work through conflicts,
- transform conflicts into opportunities for greater understanding.
If you have any questions or would like to reach out, please contact us at the RJ Center: