People with a shared mission to repair harm and build stronger communities are converging at Haskell Indian Nations University for a large restorative justice conference.
Restorative Kansas is set for Thursday and Friday, June 8 and 9 at Haskell Indian Nations University. In addition to breakout sessions, the events will include artistic performances.
A schedule and list of speakers are available at restorativekansas.org. Online registration has closed, but in-person registration will be available both days.
The program kicks off at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 8 with an opening ceremony at Stidham Union. Registration will be available in the same location from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday or from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Friday for those who only wish to attend Friday sessions. Registration is $80 per person, which includes two meals on Friday.
The conference’s keynote speaker, set to speak Friday morning, will be Chief Justice Emeritus Robert Yazzie of Navajo Nation, according to a news release from event organizers.
Mayor Lisa Larsen represents a nonprofit mediation and conflict resolution center, Building Peace, that works with the Douglas County district attorney’s office, the local housing authority and more. She will give opening remarks at the conference.
“Having (the conference) at Haskell is a very positive way to hearken back to the roots of Restorative Justice in our nation,” Larsen said in the release. “The idea of Restorative Justice has been around for eons, and we are in a time when bringing it back into our justice system as a way to resolve conflict is so very important.”
Other programs and groups that will be represented at the conference include the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Life Comes From It, the Native American Budget and Policy Institute at the University of New Mexico, the Center for Conflict Resolution and many more.
“Of particular note at Restorative Kansas is the return of Circles & Ciphers, and a street opera presentation,” according to the release. “Stage(S)Truck Restorative Justice Street & Plains Productions, featuring diverse actors, dancers, musicians and storytellers, who will present ‘The Return,’ supported by the City of Lawrence and Explore Lawrence.”
“Circles & Ciphers is a Chicago-based ‘hip-hop infused [RJ] organization led by and for young people impacted by violence.’ Members of the group were part of the first Restorative Kansas conference at Bethel College in 2018,” the release continues.
Breakout sessions led by experts in various facets of restorative justice will focus on such topics as Indigenous peacemaking, RJ in schools, youth-led RJ, community-based RJ, law enforcement and judicial efforts in RJ, and the Circle Process, according to the release.