KAY PRANIS ~ Restorative Practices, School-Based RJP & the Influence of Indigenous Practices on RJP; Kay will provide one or two Level 1 Dialogues (including one pre recorded) and ongoing Level 2 and up throughout this series.
Kay teaches and writes about the dialog process known as ‘peacemaking circles.’ Kay learned about peacemaking circles in her work in restorative justice in the mid-90s Her initial teachers in the circle work were Barry Stuart, a judge in Yukon, Canada, and Mark Wedge and Harold Gatensby, First Nations people of Yukon. Since that initial exposure to the use of peacemaking circles in the justice system Kay has been involved in developing the use of peacemaking circles in schools, social services, churches, families, museums, universities, municipal planning and workplaces.
Kay has authored or co-authored several books about circles: Peacemaking Circles – From Crime to Community; The Little Book of Circle Processes – A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking; Doing Democracy with Circles – Engaging Communities in Public Planning; Heart of Hope – A Guide for Using Peacemaking Circles to Develop Emotional Literacy, Promote Healing & Build Healthy Relationships; Circle Forward – Building a Restorative School Community.
Kay works primarily as a trainer in the peacemaking circle process. She is a Senior Associate at the Center for Restorative Justice at Suffolk University in Boston. She is also an adjunct professor at Eastern Mennonite University.
Kay has a particular interest in the use of circles to support social justice efforts addressing racial, economic, class and gender inequities. That interest includes the use of peacemaking circles to understand and respond to historical harms to groups of people. The peacemaking circle process has been a source of energy, inspiration and continuous learning for Kay.
JOE BRUMMER ~ Restorative Practices, School-Based RJP & The Integration of A Trauma Lens; Bias, Stigma and Equity in Education; Joe will provide two Level 1 Dialogues and ongoing Level 2 and up throughout this series.
Joe has been the victim of two separate violent anti-gay hate crimes and what began as a personal healing response to the trauma, he has transformed into professional involvement in the field of community and restorative justice. In 2006, he began his work with the Institute for the Study and Practice of Nonviolence during a training of trainers in Kingian Nonviolence. Then in 2007, he served as a victim advocate on the Juvenile Restorative Justice Advisory Board for the Community Mediation Center of Rhode Island. In 2008, he attended the International Intensive Training on Nonviolent Communication with Marshall Rosenberg in Albuquerque, NM. From 2010 until 2014, Joe was the associate director of a community mediation center in Connecticut where he oversaw juvenile and adult criminal mediation/dialogue programs that involved victim/offender and offender/offender dialogues. Also, in this role, he supported school-based mediation programs, mediation for the Juvenile Review Boards in Hamden and New Haven, Connecticut, and provided hundreds of trainings in Nonviolent Communication. In 2014, Joe participated in a 3-week program in India called Teaching for Peace: An Indian Immersion Program in Practical Nonviolence. He has attended restorative justice training with Dominic Barter, the International Institute of Restorative Practices (IIRP) and the Victim Offender Mediation Association (VOMA).
Overall, since 2010, Joe has actively helped schools implement peer mediation programs and school-wide restorative practices. As a private consultant beginning in 2015, Joe has designed a trauma-informed approach of restorative practices and infused this model in Connecticut schools. In 2017, he completed a six-year term on the board of directors for the National Association for Community Mediation. He has presented on restorative justice nationally, including Washington State, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. Most recently, Joe presented on trauma-informed restorative practices at the First Annual Creating Trauma-Sensitive Schools Conference in Washington, DC. He also presented on Conflict and Peace Building in 2012 and 2013 for the Annual International Leadership Training Programme: A Global Intergenerational Forum sponsored by the United Nations Education, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Chair & Institute of Comparative Human Rights at the University of Connecticut.
He has clocked hundreds of hours at the mediation table facilitating in a wide variety of areas including workplace disputes, landlord/tenant conflicts, neighborhood disputes, civil law suits, and victim offender mediation. He is the former associate executive director at Community Mediation, Inc. in Hamden, CT.
Joe has offered trainings in mediation, restorative practices/justice, conflict management, and communication all over the Country and has become well respected for his workshops based on Nonviolent Communication. He has worked with youth and adults in a multitude of settings from peer mediation in schools to state employees to corporate fortune 500 companies. Joe is able to tailor his skills, experiences, and work to the audiences with whom he is working.
BELVIE ROOKS ~ Pre-Recorded Special Sessions at Level 1 & 1 -2 Live Sessions
A longtime supporter of independent filmmaking and filmmakers, Belvie Rooks was a founding board member of The Film Fund along with co-founder Julia Reichert (Seeing Red) and Barbara
Kopple (Harlan County, USA), two Academy Award-winning and nominated filmmakers. Belvie is currently segment producer for The House on Coco Road. Co-writer with Danny Glover and Roy Scheider, and director of Who’s Gonna Be There, a performance piece about mentoring, by two world-class actors, Belvie also spent twelve years as vice president of project development for Danny Glover’s company, Carrie Productions.
Belvie was a segment producer for the Fox Family Channel series Courage, which is hosted by Danny Glover and explores ordinary people doing extraordinary things. In 2001, TV Guide selected Courage as one of the top 10 inspirational shows of that year. As senior editor of Paris Connections: African American Artists in Paris, Belvie is also an American Book Award winner. In 2014 she was honored to be included, along with Jane Goodall, Nelson Mandela, Maya Angelou, the Dalai Lama, and others, in the anthology Global Chorus: 365 Voices on the Future of the Planet. In 2016 she was a contributor to Ecological and Social Healing: Multicultural Women’s Voices, and was editor of Women Write Political Ecology. A lifelong educator, Belvie was a founding faculty member of the College of Social Justice at the State University of New York, along with Deirdre English, Barbara Ehrenreich, Florence Howe, and others, and was also a founding faculty member of Federal City College, now renamed the University of the District of Columbia.
Her published works have appeared in many publications and anthologies including: Sacred
Poems and Prayers in Praise of Life; The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult, edited by Alice Walker; My Soul is a Witness: African American Women’s Spirituality; Life Notes:
Personal Writings by Black Women; Double Stitch: Black Women Write About Mothers and
Daughters; Birthing God: Women’s Experiences of the Divine; A Tribute to Thomas Berry:
Reflections on Life in the Ecological Age; 100 Words: Two Hundred Visionaries Share Their
Hope for the Future; and Moonrise: The Power of Women Leading from the Heart.
JAMES O’DEA ~ Pre-Recorded Special Sessions at Level 1
James O’Dea is author of The Conscious Activist, Cultivating Peace , Soul Awakening Practice (June 2017) and other acclaimed works. James is a former President of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Washington office director of Amnesty International and CEO of the Seva Foundation. He worked with the Middle East Council of Churches in Beirut during a time of war and massacre and lived in Turkey for five years during civil upheaval and coup d’etat.
He has taught peacebuilding to over a thousand students in 30 countries. He has also conducted frontline social healing dialogues around the world. He is a member of The Evolutionary Leaders group and on the Advisory Board of The Peace Alliance and Kosmos Journal. James also mentors emerging leaders. He is an Honorary Fellow of the Laszlo New Paradigm Institute. James is both an activist and mystic. www.jamesodea.com
ERIC BUTLER ~ Bias, Racism & Stigma; School-Based RJP; Community & Orgs RJ Level 1 and up Monthly Sessions
Eric Butler is a Restorative Justice Educator and Activist.
A Hurricane Katrina survivor, he relocated to Oakland, California where he rebuilt a new life, successfully facilitatingGrief Circles in response to homicide and extreme violence in area schools as part of Catholic Charities’ crisis response program. He also worked as a lead mediator with Youth Uprising, where he mediated conflicts on the ground in Oakland neighborhoods and schools.
Eric was first introduced to the world of activism as a child, joining Selma Alabama's 21st Century Leadership Camp with his mentor Ted Quant, where he was involved in unfair education protests and sit in's, and learned a lot about politics and social injustice happening in America. Eric was also a victim of a failing school system that fast-tracked its African American students from schools to prison. Later, experiencing homelessness after Katrina struck, Eric’s built a belief in the ability to overcome hurdles, which has propelled him forward to make a difference in the lives of young people across the US. While in Oakland, Eric gained prominence for his impactful Restorative Justice work with youth in West Oakland as the School Coordinator at Bunche High School with Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY). Today, Eric travels from New Orleans to Texas, to New York, to California and all around the country with a personal mission to spread Restorative Justice around the globe. Eric Butler Website
MONA POLACCA ~ Indigenous Peacemaking, Social Healing & Intergenerational Wounds
Mona, a Hopi/Havasupai/Tewa elder, has a Master of Social Work degree and has recently been chosen as a member of the World Council of Religious and Spiritual Leaders due to her international justice work. She has worked on issues of Indigenous Peoples especially related to the Right to Water, social and health issues, including the elderly native peoples.
Mona serves on several United Nations committees on indigenous people’s issues and is a featured author, speaker, and educator on indigenous people’s human rights, aging, mental health, addiction and violence. She is also the President/CEO and faculty of the Turtle Island Project, a non-profit program that promotes a vision of wellness by providing trans-cultural training to individuals, families and healthcare professionals.
LAUREN ABRAMSON ~ Community & Org Based RJ; Lauren will provide one or two Level 1 Dialogues (including one pre recorded) and ongoing Level 2 and up throughout this series.
Lauren Abramson is Founder, Executive Director, Community Conferencing Center and also Assistant Professor, Child Psychiatry, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. She is a psychologist who has worked with children and families in communities for the past 25 years. She is the Founder and Executive Director of the Community Conferencing Center in Baltimore, Maryland and Assistant Professor (part-time) in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.
Lauren focused attention on Community Conferencing in Baltimore in 1995. She advances conferencing as a means of building social capital and collective efficacy on many levels, including:
• empowering individuals and communities to resolve their own conflicts
• keeping young people out of the criminal justice system, and
• mobilizing the existing untapped human assets in communities.
Lauren publishes articles on both the theoretical and empirical socio-political aspects of conferencing. The work of the Community Conferencing Center is groundbreaking for its multi-sector use of conferencing in highly distressed urban American communities.
Conferencing has helped Lauren learn that: while we can learn about conflict resolution through books and concepts, conflict–and personal–transformation happens through relationships and meaningful emotional experiences.
CASSIDY FRIEDMAN ~ Restorative Practices; School-Based RJP; Media & Social Justice
Cassidy Friedman directs and produces character-driven documentaries that call attention to unsung social justice pioneers of our time. Cassidy recently produced the feature documentary Voices Beyond the Wall (2017) with Executive Producer James Franco. Since founding his production company, Stories Matter Media, he has directed a score of documentary shorts, and is in post-production with producers Van Jones and Glen Zipper on the feature Soledad.
As owner/director of Stories Matter Media, he established himself as a storyteller first as an award-winning news reporter, before transitioning to directing and producing documentaries as a way to engage more creatively with each story.
He has directed a score of documentary shorts, including “Unstill Life”, Official Selection of the 2014 Long Island International Film Expo and The SoCal Creative & Innovative Film Festival.
Current projects include three feature-length documentaries: Soledad follows three men seeking a second chance as the nation explores reforming its prison system, Circles tracks a pioneer (Eric Butler) of the Restorative Justice movement in Oakland schools, and Las Chavas follows the only orphanage for girls in Honduras.
Cassidy is a fellow of CIFF’s Points North Fellowship, Film Independent’s Fast Track program, and Film Independent’s Documentary Lab. His films have won grants from the International Documentary Association’s Pare Lorenz Doc Fund, Pacific Pioneer Fund and Center for Investigative Reporting. His prior work as a journalist earned him the Idaho Governor’s Award for Excellence in Journalism in 2009.
Cassidy's Directors Statement on CIRCLES: "Circles tells the story of Eric Butler, a restorative justice coordinator who believes that by deepening communication and building trust with students at a continuation high school in Oakland, California, problems can be more easily and justly resolved.
The film focuses on Eric's struggle to do what few adults ever do with kids: to assume positive intent and learn where behavior stems from by being in conversation." Stories Matter Media Website CIRCLES Website
HEART PHOENIX ~ Community, School and Police RJ, Police Youth Dialogues, Peacebuilding & SEL
Heart's work, service, and activism have spanned over five decades. Having worked as an educator, activist and champion throughout the United States and numerous countries on the subject of the environment, animal rights, social justice, peacebuilding and gender equality, she brings the passion and energy of her name
Heart is currently living her dream in Gainesville, Florida as President of the Board of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, in honor of her son. Her tireless efforts to launch and drive the work of embedding best and next practices in the field of resolving conflicts restoratively rather than punitively has led to successful partnerships with the Department of Juvenile Justice, Gainesville Police Department, Alachua County Sheriff's Office, District Schools and countless others.
She is also co-founder of The Peace Alliance a national non-profit working towards the passage of legislation that calls for nonviolent solutions to conflicts. She serves on the Board of the Florida Restorative Justice Association and has been a leading voice for the midwives’ model of care and has been on the board of the Florida School of Traditional Midwifery for well over ten years. She has celebrated her 40th anniversary as a vegan, and her passion and commitment to nonviolence have been the center point of her life.
JEFFREY WEISBERG ~ Community, School and Police RJ, Police Youth Dialogues, Peacebuilding Through Sport, SEL (Social Emotional Learning)
As the Executive Director of the River Phoenix Center for Peacebuilding, Jeffrey has designed, developed and implemented a wide range of programs and services in Gainesville, Florida, throughout the United States and internationally. His work with youth includes police/youth dialogues, police/educator dialogues, peer mediation, juvenile diversion programs, youth empowerment and coming of age programs.
Jeffrey serves as a Florida Certified State Mediator and mediates cases involving juvenile offenders, family disputes and small business and organizational conflicts. In addition, he is using Restorative Practices to support the Department of Juvenile Justice, the court system, schools, and communities to bolster alternatives to the punishment model.
He is a founding member of The Peace Alliance and has served on the Board for eight years. He believes that by training and empowering both youth and adults to learn and practice vital communication skills, we not only create greater connections with others but we can de-escalate conflict for a safer and more productive outcome.
SEQUOYAH TRUEBLOOD ~ Indigenous Peacemaking
Sequoyah Trueblood is an internationally respected Cherokee/Chocktaw Elder, healer, ceremonialist and teacher. Born in Stroud, Oklahoma, he has lived an extraordinary life including being a Green Beret in Vietnam where he was part of the Special Forces Operational Detachment “A Team,” and eventually became a major. He fluently speaks Thai, Korean, and Japanese. In the service he was a code breaker for military intelligence. After a period of healing, transformation and recovery of his spiritual roots, Sequoyah has been of service in embodying the heart doctrine, while living with and learning from aboriginal peoples. He is the father of five and grandfather of nine. As a pipe carrier, Sequoyah conducts healing circles and traditional ceremonies to remind us of “the one Ceremony,” which is life itself, and of the sacredness of all things. He has helped and worked with people from all cultures, including indigenous tribes in Canada, USA, Russia, Thailand, Bolivia, Columbia, and Guyana. He has conducted ceremony and offered consultation to top business executives from international companies, many celebrities, the faculty of psychology at Harvard, the Dalai Lama, and countless individuals in between. As a pipe carrier, he performs sacred ceremonies and conducts healing and prayer circles for all peoples. He teaches at Southwestern College, offering pipe ceremony to the students in the Consciousness class, and joins with the community in prayer and ritual.