The purpose of this book is to illuminate a theory of youth engagement in restorative justice that seeks to create systems change for more equitable schools. The authors define youth engagement in restorative justice as partnering with young people most impacted by structural injustice as changemakers in all aspects of restorative practices including community building, healing, and the transformation of institutions. Based on Adam Fletcher’s version of the Ladder of Youth Engagement, coupled with Barbara Love’s model of liberatory consciousness and an analysis of youth engagement in Restorative Justice in three different regions—Western Massachusetts, Oakland, and Houston—the authors provide a theoretical contribution: Youth Engagement in Restorative Justice grounded in liberatory consciousness.
In this book readers will find:
Comparative case studies from different parts of the country of youth led restorative justice programs.
An exploration of the cultural and historical context of each region to situate the work.
Stories from the authors' own lives that provide context for their interest in the work given their varied racial identities (White, Black, Latinx, South Asian) and upbringing.
Literature review of the language of youth engagement vs. youth leadership/youth organizing/youth participation, along with a new definition of youth engagement in restorative justice.
Theoretical framing based on Adam Fletcher’s Ladder of Youth Engagement , which provides a structure for the book.
Exploration of how adults must combat adultism both individually and systematically as a prerequisite to doing this work.
Applications of the work in the virtual context.
About the Author
Evelín Aquino is a longtime organizer/educator/trainer/dancer with over 35 years’ experience of being in Circle with elders, peers, youth leaders, and community. Committed to education towards liberation, her work is grounded in love and relationships, while providing creative spaces for youth and adults to think critically, as they build together and take action as leaders in manifesting just and equitable schools. She holds the position of Assistant Director at Pa’lante RJ at Holyoke High School. She is a board member of the Encampment for Citizenship. Evelín is a Boricua/Dominicana graduate of UMASS Amherst. She is deeply inspired and guided by the youth of today (especially her beloved children), her husband, family, her ancestors and elders (especially her father). She lives in Hadley, Massachusetts.
Heather Bligh Manchester is an educator, trainer, and connector with over 30 years of experience facilitating leadership and community engagement programs and infusing theater, games, and movement into restorative justice in rural and urban settings, including the Oakland School District. She partners with youth and adults to create spaces for meaningful engagement to build equitable and resilient communities locally and internationally. Heather coaches organizations to work in partnership with young people as trainers, researchers, and policymakers. She has a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies, with a focus on Youth Participation in Peacebuilding, from the University of Ulster. Rooted in family, nourished by travel, she thanks the stories that guide her. She lives in Oakland, California.
Anita Wadhwa is a native Houstonian and daughter of Punjabi immigrants. She is a classroom teacher, trainer, and restorative justice coordinator. She is author of Restorative Justice in Urban Schools: Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline and a contributor to the recently released anthology, Colorizing Restorative Justice. She hires and consults with former students to train in restorative practices. She has developed a youth-led restorative justice model based on her research which has garnered national attention. She owes everything to her parents, husband, and two lovely girls. She lives in Houston, Texas.