From WCPR and Restorative Justice Westchester:
Restorative Justice Westchester has partnered with WCPR to advance the police reform and reinvention process using Restorative Community Building Circles. We need your involvement to make this happen. We hope you are interested in having a Restorative Community Building Circle in your community; please let us know if you are.
Next week we will send a letter to all the Supervisors, Mayors and Police Chiefs in the county offering them the “opportunity to strengthen police-community relations using a process known as Restorative Circles,” as a way to continue the conversations started as a result of former Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Executive Order 203. The Community Building Circles are an opportunity to discuss what has changed since that process was started, and identify what actions the community can take going forward.
WCPR and RJW are offering all the municipalities in the county support to:
- improve relationships between community members and their police
- identify next steps in the police reform and reinvention process, and to identify priorities that would improve safety and security for all residents
- improve transparency in the community around police policy and procedures.
We will work with you and your community to organize these Restorative Community Building Circles. RJW and WCPR will participate in the circles; RJW will facilitate them. RJW needs your help to:
- persuade municipal police and officials to engage in the process
- identify who needs to part of the circle and encourage them to participate
- help us be strategic in the planning and organizing of the circles.
We are asking interested communities to appoint one or more liaisons to work with us as an organizing team, to help identify meeting space (if we meet in person), and assure the participants are diverse and reflect the range of people who make up the community in terms of age (youth and adults), race, ethnicity, class, and other identities.
It is clear that preparing the reports in response to the Governor’s Executive Order was a first step in a larger process of addressing problems of community safety. These community building circles would offer a safe space to continue the conversation, and identify what our communities and our Police Departments want to see going forward.
Restorative circles are based on Indigenous practices, led by a Circle Keeper (or Co-Keepers) and use a talking piece to equalize the opportunity for participation. The circles are rooted in shared values and participants agree on the norms the group will abide by.
Please let us know if you are interested in helping organize or discussing more about these community building circles:
Jeanette Carrington at (323)868-0610 or [email protected]
Jill Sternberg at (914)473-3774 or [email protected]