Piloting Our First Restorative Justice Training for Detroiters

Image Description: Ten of the training participants and four facilitators pose for a group photo. Four participants are seated in the front row, and 10 are standing behind them. All are smiling and staring at the camera.

DJC’s Metro Detroit Restorative Justice Network (MDRJN) held its first restorative justice community circle keeping training this spring, reaching 14 participants, ages 18-70, who represent neighborhoods all over Detroit.

Over five weeks, trainers and participants spent meaningful time in circle sharing about what brings them to circle keeping, restorative justice, and conflict resolution; how they envision using these skills in their work, communities, and families; and discussing what structural changes are needed to support all neighbors to thrive. 

The five-week training took place at the Eastside Community Network (ECN) and was open to ECN community members and staff of two MDRJN partner organizations, Detroit Recovery Project and Avalon Healing Center.

Our participants also represented a wide breadth of community involvement, spanning block clubs and political organizing, neighborhood community benefits ordinances, direct service nonprofits, religious service organizations, and more.

Image Description: A circle-shaped rug in a geometric pattern of dark blue, light blue, and white sits in the center of the circle of participants as the centerpiece. Placed on the rug are three small violet plants, the book “Hood Feminism”, a bike pump, a tarot deck, and a letter.

During our final session, participants spent time role-playing circles using the real-life examples they brought to the group. They were able to practice facilitating conflict circles and have an opportunity to receive feedback in real-time.

Special thanks goes to Isha Bhatt, Lauren Fardig-Diop, and Belinda Dulin–MDRJN members who co-facilitated the training along with Angel McKissic, DJC’s Senior Program Manager and MDRJN Founder. We’d also like to thank DJC’s wide community of supporters, including the Kresge Foundation and Vital Strategies, for their partnership.

Our team was so heartened to hear about the amazing work people have dedicated their lives to doing in Detroit. We learned so much from each other and created a beautiful relational foundation to build on in the future.

To receive updates on future iterations of the training, sign up for DJC’s newsletter. You can also support DJC’s work like this and join us in building a more just Detroit.

A pink-orange stone, car keys, hand grip, a child’s drawing with the words “I love you, do you love me, yes or no?” and a multi-colored rainbow next to it, a note card that reads “Black Lives Matter when we come together as a community to strive for equal rights” signed by JaNiya, the book “Local Woman Missing”, and a set of business cards, sit atop a large white square of paper as the group’s centerpiece.