A Restorative Practices Update from Pam Orbach

Dear WSUU community,
The first four weeks of our Restorative Justice work at WSUU has been busy! When I ask the people who are taking time to sit in circle, “what’s changing for you?” The answers are powerful to hear…. more self connection, alignment of thoughts and actions with personal and community values, and care… We are slowing down to the speed of trust, considering what that takes…. making sure all voices present are deeply heard. We are a community discovering what matters.

  • Core Team: We have held weekly trust and learning circles for a core team, defining the
    order and steps of the work as it progresses. This group will support the logistics so the
    whole community can have access to healing and repair work, as well as coordinating
    possibilities for anyone in the community to begin learning skills for conflict support and
    deepening personal connections. Thank you core team for your willingness to take this
    on for the community.
  • Self selected Community wellbeing group: A day long retreat using a circle process
    happened on February 28th, where 20 people sat together and deepened their
    connection and began to consider what inclusion, accountability and self responsibility
    mean. Biweekly sessions of connection and learning.
  • Monthly Community Circle: For those who wanted less time commitment, the first
    community circle was held on Sunday, February 5th. 51 people attended. We had 3
    facilitators hold circles in person as well as online for those for whom it is a challenge to
    be in person. It was powerful to have so many people in the circle. Please ask others
    what the experience was like, and what they learned… Please also join us for the next
    community circle on March 5th. The monthly circles will become a feature at WSUU for a
  • Soon we will begin to break the circle components into a toolset of skills to support
    connection and understanding that can be used anywhere in the community.
  • We will hold some listening circles to address impact that is reverberating in the
    community, and we will also begin to learn some skills about how to engage directly with
    a person who is impacted so as to prioritize connection and care for the person impacted
    to cause less harm. We will also move to learning conflict and accountability skills. The
    heart of this work is Nonviolent Communication.
  • We will offer the community the opportunity to sign up for a 8 week Nonviolent
    Communications foundations course in approximately April.

The work we are doing is culture change, supporting a shift out of blame and shame into a process of continually raising our individual awareness around differences where we overlap, and how to attend to impacts, while showing care for ourselves and others. It has been joyful to enter into community with you in this way.

If you have any questions or want me to address something specific, or for me to hear what you need, please email me at: Pam.Orbach@EmpoweringConnection.com  Please join in the monthly community circle or the Community wellbeing group. Come sit in circle with us, or ask for a supported conversation. Let’s work on holding all the individual needs as well as those of the community.

Thanks for taking the time to read this. Warmly Pam O.

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