When I moved to Minneapolis in 2002, I loved being surrounded by the vibrant culture and amazing neighbors. After getting to know how unsafe many of my neighbors felt and after learning that a neighbor had been attacked, I joined a local restorative justice program in order to do something positive in the face of the complex problems our neighborhood was experiencing.
As a volunteer in restorative justice for 7 years, I took part in hundreds of these conversations between concerned community members and offenders in the program. I learned how to mediate, negotiate, and resolve conflict.
I was amazed to see the transformation that occurred when offenders were given a chance to restore the harm caused by their crime and I want that chance for transformation to offered by our park system. As a commissioner, I will work to make sure that all misdemeanor cases within the Park Police system are handled with Restorative Justice.
During restorative processes, neighbors have a chance to speak directly with offenders while working together. These real and challenging conversations open the door to healing by bringing community and offenders together to share the experience of knowing each other as people.