by Mary Shafer
In our third look back at the best of our blog posts over the past three years, we focus on the fact that the Building A New Reality (BANR) movement is the next logical extension of founder Ted Wachtel’s career-long commitment to the tenets of Restorative Practices (RP).
As an educator, he developed methods to apply RP to help young people learn without the coercion he perceived in the traditional school classroom. Along the way, he applied RP to dealing with justice in conflict resolution. Those two efforts began with his establishment of Buxmont Academy and the Community Service Foundation, as working experimental models.
With their success, Ted and his various teams ultimately moved on to the founding and accreditation of the International Institute for Restorative Practices. This graduate school is devoted to scholarship and research, graduate education, professional development, world conferences, and innovative civil society projects around the world.
The IIRP’s work and that of its peers continues to make positive waves across the country and the globe, as restorative justice is showing up everywhere in popular culture, from anti-bullying programs to story lines in the wildly popular Netflix TV drama, Orange Is The New Black.
Now, Ted and the BANR team are taking those ideas and practices out into the wider world. We are applying the principles of RP to help address some of today’s most pressing societal issues. Our efforts are based on a framework built around the Six Facets of daily life and societal need. We share them with you in hopes of revealing tools you might use to deal with conflicts and needs in your own life.
Today’s “best of” post is written by my colleague, Kerra L. Bolton, addressing the facet of justice. How Restorative Practices Helped Me to Trust the Police explores Kerra’s very personal journey from fear and terror toward law enforcement officers to awareness and understanding.
It’s a moving and powerful revelation from which we all can benefit, especially in these fractious and troubled times. I encourage you not just to read it yourself, but to share it with others you think it might help. Whatever the root causes of today’s uncivil society, we must all share the responsibility to return it to one that encourages and nurtures us all in becoming our best individual selves, so we can be our best collective community.