January 18th, 2021
Sheryl Wilson, executive director of the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution (KIPCOR) and a faculty member in Peace, Justice and Conflict Studies, is the author of a chapter in Colorizing Restorative Justice: Voicing Our Realities (Living Justice Press).
The book is a collection of 18 essays by Wilson and 19 other Restorative Justice (RJ) practitioners of color), edited by Edward C. Valandra (Lakota name Wanbli Wapháha Hoksíla).
This first-ever volume by RJ practitioners and scholars of color has as a goal to begin addressing issues of racism and colonization baked into RJ and Restorative Practices (RP).
“Whereas one might think that the RJ movement would shine in championing racial and social justice,” Valandra writes, “the movement has actually been silent, afraid and conforming – complacent with institutional and structural harms.
“If RJ as a movement does not address racism and colonization, then, as [noted author and practitioner] Fania Davis warns, [RJ and RP] will [themselves] function in racist and colonizing ways, because that is the default.”
Wilson’s chapter is entitled “Calling Out Whiteness.”
“While I felt the support of many of my White restorative justice counterparts and mentors,” Wilson writes, “I found it difficult over the years to digest that … we [practitioners of color] still have been isolated, working in predominately White systems.
“This discussion is not new in many White/White-dominated fields where People of Color carve out a living daily. … When I work with White practitioners, it disturbs me that we are often serving diverse communities and yet we don’t accurately resemble them.”