Community restorative justice, an inclusive way of responding to societal wrongdoings, focuses on long-lasting solutions to humanitarian issues. This concept facilitates community action to restore equity and aid victims of injustice. Restorative justice is a set of principles that help guide our response as a community.
Restorative justice recognizes the harm done to a person or persons, works to repair the damage, and creates a future accountability plan to prevent the occurrence from happening again. There is a great focus on the consequences of the of- fender’s behavior so that the community can work towards a better, fairer future. Crimes of this nature stem from both the individual and social dimensions, making these issues more extensive than a few people. Community-based restorative justice focuses specifically on community values and problem solving instead of relying solely on punishment. It promotes dialogue and negotiation and has an ultimate goal of restoration for the individual and the harmony of the community.
The projects featured in this journal discuss ways of incorporating new restorative justice ideas into the Lehigh Valley. These ideas address several topics, including racism, Bethlehem’s education system, and criminal justice. Such broad issues of concern require many people to advocate for change in government systems and the community. As such, these projects give precise methods of implementing their restorative justice ideas. Articles include Enhancing Education Through Creative Instruction and Student-Directed Projects by Clare Meehan to Anti-racist Curriculum Resources by Sarah Bender to works Advocating for Change in the Criminal Justice System by Victoria Campbell. From plans to rework the Bethlehem schools’ curriculum, to incorporating more restorative justice, to discussing the need for improvement in the Criminal Justice System, these projects aim to make the Lehigh Valley a better place to live and grow.
About the Writers
Sarah Bender is a recent graduate of Lafayette College, where she studied Neuroscience with a Women, Gender & Sexuality Studies minor.
Victoria Campbell is a recent graduate of Lehigh University
Sumini Siyambalapitiya is a recent graduate of Lafayette College holding a joint B.A. in Mathematics/Economics and Women, Gender & Sexuality studies. She is passionate about building healthy, equitable, and sustainable communities, and hopes to pursue a Master’s in Development Practice in the near future.
Nadia Manasfi (she/her) is a junior at Lafayette College. An international student from Beirut, Lebanon, Nadia is double majoring in Psychology and Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies. She is interested in social justice issues and hopes to find a career that integrates both her majors in order to make society a better place.
Clare Meehan is a recent graduate of Lafayette College, where she studied international affairs and psychology, with a specific focus on human rights in Latin America. Beyond academics, she loves art and music and works to apply both to social justice issues.
We thank the many people from the community who helped us expand our understanding of the many facets of community and restorative justice in many different contexts and situations.
John Bailie – President and Associate Professor at
the International Institute for Restorative Practices
Maureen Barden – Pennsylvania Parole Board member
Marvin Boyer – Board President and co-founder at Lehigh Valley Justice
César Córdova – Community School Coordinator at Marvine Elementary
Andrew DeAngelo – Consultant, former Deputy Chief
Probation Officer, Lehigh County
Kevin Heil – Lieutenant at Lafayette College
David Isay – Founder and President of StoryCorps Inc.
Cecelia Khorrami – Research Assistant at Lehigh Valley Justice Institute
Michelle Kott – Chief at Bethlehem Police Department
Michael Lear – Trauma Recovery Yoga Instructor at Pangea Yoga and a
founder of the Shanthi Project
Lora Martin – Crime Prevention Officer at Lehigh University Police
Jim Meyer – Associate Director and Chief of Police at Lafayette College
Vivian Robledo-Shorey – Director of Student Services & Minority
Affairs at Bethlehem Area School District
Joseph Roy – Superintendent of Schools at Bethlehem Area School District
Naiymah A. Sanchez – Trans Justice Program Coordinator for ACLU of Pennsylvania
Maria Santiago – Archivist at StoryCorps Inc.
Laura Savenelli – Assistant Director Impact Operations at United Way,
former Reentry Coordinator at Northhampton County Jail
Jason Schiffer – Chief at Lehigh University Police
Nandini Sikand – Filmmaker, Associate Professor of Film and Media
Studies at Lafayette College
Anna Smith – former Director at CADCB [Community Action Development
Corporation – Bethlehem]
Ashleigh Strange – Director at Lehigh Valley Stands Up
Jeff Troxell – Director of Public Safety at Lafayette College
Paul Walsh – Artistic Director of Literary Arts at Lehigh Valley Charter
Arts High School
Joe Welsh – Executive Director at Lehigh Valley Justice Institute
Bonnie Winfield – Director and Founder of The Journey Home Program for
Julie Zaebst – Senior Policy Advocate at ACLU of Pennsylvania