Karli was invited to sit in her first circle at DePaul University in 2010. All she knew going into the class was that it was titled “Restorative Justice Philosophies” and that she’d be asked questions about her experience with the justice system. She’d heard of restorative justice before, but she wasn’t knowledgeable about it.

She remembers that first class like it was yesterday. She was immediately taken by professors Elizabeth Vastine, J.D. and Peter Newman’s calming demeanor. She was also fascinated by the circle process and impressed with the group’s insightful questions. Fast forward four years and she’s been a regular guest.

My best circle yet. I loved these ladies from Fleetwood-Jourdain.

My best circle yet. I loved these ladies from Fleetwood-Jourdain.

Her experience with Peter and Elizabeth inspired her to learn more about restorative justice (RJ) and to reflect on the role that it plays in her own life. Serving as a volunteer with Restorative Justice Evanston through the Evanston Police Department, she sits in on family conferences as a community member, as well as leads circles with young women in conflict.

In the summer of 2014 Karli pursued her interest in RJ and received formal training as a Peacemaker Circle Keeper. She attended a 30 hour workshop with Kay Pranis at the Shambhala Institute in Chicago. That experience has influenced the direction and tone of her talks, especially when she discusses forgiveness.

Karli’s journey has been tumultuous, but she’s finally in a peaceful space. She has forgiven her attackers, but something stirs inside of her when she’s asked, “Do you feel like you got justice?” She has expressed concern about her attackers, particularly for Nicole Baker, who is serving a 15 year sentence for heinous battery. Karli expresses, “I forgive her wholeheartedly. But I wonder if she’s getting the help she truly needs. Prison isn’t exactly rehabilitative, so what will happen to her once she paroles?”

Karli recognizes that forgiving the people who hurt her has been the easy part. Now she’s working on forgiving herself.

 

What is restorative justice? http://www.restorativejustice.org/

What is a peace circle and what does a circle keeper do? http://www.livingjusticepress.org/index.asp?Type=B_BASIC&SEC={D3B8A1F4-E956-4D80-A1E5-26DA2CAE9170}

 

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Me and Kay Pranis, national leader in restorative justice aka Circle Guru.

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I followed my heart and it led me to this. I have successfully completed 30 Hours of training on the Peacemaking Circle Process.

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