Restorative Justice Community Action (RJCA) seeks to repair the harm caused by crime or conflict by giving a voice to both victims and those that have harmed. RJCA brings together community members and victims in Hennepin and Ramsey Counties together with adults and youth who have done harm to identify solutions that promote repair conciliation and rebuilding of relationships.
Having trained and experienced facilitators with a diversity of backgrounds and life experiences are essential to RJCA’s work, says executive director Cynthia Prosek. “We must have practitioners of color who can sub-contract with us to provide services. We need to give leadership to the people who are most affected by the criminal justice system.”
Prosek says it is therefore vital to be invested in the community for the long-term. “We have to build relationships, get community referrals, work with neighborhood and community organizations in order to build true, authentic long-term connections and commitment. We know restorative justice works but we need the right people suited to help us handle cases.”
In addition to building a pool of diverse facilitators, RJCA has started community conversations around implicit bias and anti-racist work. “We are helping white communities talk about inequities, especially in the criminal justice system,” says Prosek. “We want to help them understand how they can be part of the solution.”
Art by Tim Mossholder, from Unsplash