2020 Grantees

We are delighted to announce the second grants awarded by Life Comes From It 

For 2020, the Life Comes From It advisory circle chose sixty one projects from among 270 applications around the country to receive grants up to $25,000, for a total of $992,000.

 

The 61 projects that received grants are listed under four headings: individual projects in either indigenous peacemaking, restorative justice, or transformative justice and convenings of several projects.

 

American Indian Prison Project Working Group is utilizing the indigenous model of restorative practices to decrease prison recidivism rates and increase pathways to healing of Native youth and adults in Minnesota and South Dakota. They mentor Native communities on the Indigenous model of Restorative Practices to build "Restorative Schools and Communities".

Berkeley Community Acupuncture is working in collaboration with the Navajo community and peacemakers to address the ongoing challenges to peace and wholeness of the Navajo community using a healing justice approach.

Earth Timekeepers is creating the Ce Akatl Educational Center and Convening, which will bring together Native/Indigenous leaders and elders to develop a human development-training program for young people in restorative and transformative justice, and indigenous peacemaking.

Indigenous Peacemaking

Maine-Wabanaki REACH (Restoration Engagement Advocacy Change Healing) emerges from the first and only state-sponsored truth and reconciliation process in the United States addressing past wrongs committed against native people: the Maine Wabanaki State Child Welfare Truth and Reconciliation Commission.  REACH is a cross-cultural, Native-led organization working toward truth, healing, and change. “Wabanaki” in the language of the indigenous people refers to the Tribes (Penobscot, Passamaquoddy, Micmac, and Maliseet) located in their ancestral homelands of present-day Maine. 

Menikanaehkem is a 100% indigenous led organization from the Menominee Nation. They are building tiny homes for members of their nation who are in transition from Domestic Violence shelters, detention centers, jails and homelessness.

Native American Rights Fund - Indigenous Peacemaking Initiative provides training and technical assistance to Native American Tribes and First Nations seeking to develop or refine traditional dispute resolution systems such as peacemaking in order to better meet the needs of their own communities.  They provide advocacy about the benefits of peace circle processes in Indian Country and a resource database for sharing by Tribal Nations of materials related to peacemaking, other traditional dispute resolution systems, and applicable restorative justice information.

Niagara Alliance for Restorative Practices

Niagara Alliance for Restorative Practices is providing restorative practices for the residents of Niagara County and the Haudenosaunee people.

Puente Human Rights Movement is collaborating with the Native American Community Academy to learn restorative justice practices and  implement those strategies within the Phoenix Union High School District. This district is one of the largest in the nation with a makeup of over 20 schools, and around 27,000 students. 

The STAR Peacemaking Initiative seeks to fulfill their long time dream of having a stable group of Navajo staff  who have peacemaking knowledge and skills to deal with conflicts as they arise in the Star School. They teach young people the fundamental values of Peacemaking, how to resolve conflicts in the traditional Navajo way and sustaining values inherent in Navajo Peacemaking in daily life . The Star School is a Public Charter School, primarily serving Native American students in Arizona.

Sustainable Nations is a diverse indigenous-led organization based in Tucson, Arizona. They are working on their Decolonizing Healing Justice program, which provides avenues for community resilience, accountability, and survivor-led healing that is rooted in transformative justice and traditional Indigenous teachings.

 

Restorative Justice

1000 Mothers to Prevent Violence works to ease the detrimental impact of violence on homicide victim-survivors, families and friends who have been directly impacted by gun violence. It was founded by Lorrain Taylor in response to the deaths of her 22 year old twin sons to homicide. They have served over 1,000 victim survivors in the San Francisco Bay Area. They accompany 30 grieving victim survivors each month by providing legal and mental health referral services, peer grief support groups, delivering groceries, networking and advocacy.

Chicanos Por La Causa runs two Community Schools—Toltecalli High School and Envision High School. This grant supports continuous integration of  healing circles, restorative practices and youth safety in the school which serves mainly Latinx and Native American youth in the Tucson area.

Circles & Ciphers is a hip-hop infused restorative justice and prison abolition organization led by and for young people impacted by violence. Circles & Ciphers empowers young people who are prison-, court-, DCFS-, and gang- involved to transform legacies of disengagement, engage in a community rooted in wellness, and to envision new paths for their lives. Life Comes From It supported their restorative justice programs and Hip-Hop Peace Circles.

Community and Restorative Justice - Covington is the only Restorative Justice organization in Northern Kentucky. They support and empower the community of Eastside Covington through a range of restorative practices. They aim to create a movement rooted in self-advocacy that begins with the community and building interconnected relationships in the neighborhood.

CONNECT is implementing a Restorative Justice in Faith Communities Project. It’s goal is to bring restorative and transformative practices to the faith communities they partner with, beginning with St Mary’s Harlem. Connect is rooted in the Harlem neighborhood of New York City, and seeks to create safe families and peaceful communities by transforming the beliefs, behaviors, and institutions that perpetuate violence.

Connecticut Students for a Dream has a bold history since 2010 of students coming out as DREAMers and fighting for their rights and their families’ rights. They are led by undocumented youth of color. Now they want to incorporate trauma-informed care and restorative / transformative justice practices into their organizing, trainings and collaborations with other activists.  

Dispute Resolution Center of St Paul, MN, has a new contract with the DA to provide restorative justice diversion for juvenile felony level cases. As people of color with a lived history of being disproportionately criminalized, they have embraced restorative justice as a way of being.

Education Justice Alliance organizes parents of color including, Black, Latinx, Refugees, and other marginalized communities in Raleigh, NC. It is running a campaign for peacebuilders, holding healing circles with families in fear of deportation, and supporting the development of circle facilitators and peacemakers.

Fanm Saj, Inc’s founder and ED is a first generation Haitian American woman in Miami, FL, whose lived experience of seeing how criminalization has dehumanized her own family and community members continues to drive her passion for Black Liberation and Transformative Justice. Fanm Saj envisions a world where Black and Brown families and youth have the power and support to live in safe and spiritually, mentally, physically healthy communities. Restorative Justice circle keeping is one of the tools they use.

The Firecracker Foundation (TFF) honors the bravery of children who have survived sexual trauma by building a community invested in the healing of their whole being. TFF does this by providing holistic care for survivors of child sexual abuse. Their Sisters in Strength project helps youth survivors of color in Lansing, MI, identify and examine cycles of violence and trauma through restorative practices.

Healing Circles of Hope and its community partners based in Richmond, CA, are powered by life-long experiences turning pain into power. They have built strong and trusting relationships with diverse crime survivors families, supporting them during their tragedies and through their sorrows, anger and pain. The grant will support their “Crime Survivors Community Healing Initiative.” 

The Key Bridge Center’s Community Conferencing Program has been diverting low-level offenses from juvenile court for six years in Prince George’s County, Maryland. They also provide restorative justice to county schools for all grade levels. Each year, school referrals for community conferences increase, with new schools wanting to try the process.

Kids Off the Block (KOB) was started in 2002 in her own home by Diane Latiker, an African American mother of eight, for youth in her community on Chicago’s South Side. She and a group of local volunteers now want to hire a Restorative Justice person to keep the kids from going to prison, involving them in weekly organized, facilitated activities and dialogues in which youth meet with their crime victims to create a plan to repair the harm done. 

Kings Against Violence Initiative was established in 2009 by Dr. Rob Gore, a physician at Kings County Hospital, Brooklyn, NY, to stem the rising numbers of minority youth coming into the Emergency Room as a result of interpersonal violence. They want to bring RJ programming to Central Brooklyn high schools, where it is greatly needed as a strategy to interrupt the 'school to prison' pipeline.

Korean American Family Service Center disseminates information for women harmed by domestic violence and sexual assault in the Korean community. It runs the East Coast’s only bilingual Korean and English 24 hour hotline staffed by volunteers. The dispatchers are first generation Korean immigrant women, five of whom will be trained to recruit and train 25 advocates to reach out to customers and employees in 125 salons patronized by their community as customers or employees. 

Living Justice Press is organizing the “Colorizing Restorative Justice Project,” a collection of essays by Restorative Justice (RJ)  activists of color exploring racism and colonization within the RJ field, to be released in June 2020. It will surely shift the narrative about who is leading the RJ movement and where it needs to go in future. 

Mary Magdalene Ministries is a grassroots social justice and education advocacy organization in Raleigh, NC. Its plans include training 200 circle keepers, hosting 48 community circles, and training 400 parents in education law and policy.

Mid-City Community Advocacy Network’s restorative youth diversion program, in an area of San Diego highly impacted by policing, has recently had 180 cases referred with an overall success rate of 98%. They want to expand their juvenile justice reform into county and statewide efforts, ensuring that fewer students of color enter the justice system.

National Compadres Network 31 years ago, 19 Chicano, Latinx and Native men gathered in a sacred Círculo de Hombres (Men’s Circle) in Jolon, California to begin healing from the woundedness of their lives, to recover and build on the values and behaviors of their indigenous sacred manhood, and to take responsibility for reaching other men and boys. These elders now need funding for a process to pass on the leadership of their nationally impactful work to young men and women.

Nehemiah Trinity Rising is a faith-based, African American, RJ-focused initiative in Chicago that has established a broad reach in the community-at-large, including churches, seminaries, elementary and high schools, local detention centers for youth and adults, and more. Its education and trainings are infused with African and African American tradition so as to instill cultural knowledge and pride. They need a grant to lease their own space,

Newark Community Street Team deploys a Safe Passage program at 11 Newark, NJ, city schools, reducing conflict among students to avoid suspension / criminalization and increase attendance without relying on truancy officers. They seek funding for their Outreach Workers to incorporate restorative justice practices into their work at Malcolm X Shabazz High School.

Nollie Jenkins Family Center’s "Rural Black Boys Pursuing Excellence" program in Durant, MS, will recruit a cohort of 15-30 6th-8th graders for weekly afterschool and summer workshops, training, and service-learning enrichment projects that engage students, their parents, and key community personnel in activities to promote conflict resolution strategies that counter escalating violence, bullying, and potential gang involvement.

North Oakland Restorative Justice Council’s Rapid Response Program works with residents facing violence, incarceration, and displacement in an area of Oakland, CA, roiled by gentrification, displacement, racial profiling, and economic marginalization. These are local residents of color who will, for example, knock on people’s doors to find who needs help when a harm has happened in the community. They are pioneering what community RJ can be.

Raphah Institute. The culture in the South is not expected to embrace alternatives to incarceration. Raphaph’s restorative justice diversion program is offering a picture of what a legitimate alternative can look like - one that both accounts for the harm caused to a person and strongly supports the transformation of the responsible youth. Raphah facilitates a pre-petition, community-oriented, restorative justice diversion process as an alternative to the traditional juvenile legal process. This process is based upon a supportive agreement between our organization and the juvenile court judge, the district attorney, the public defender, and the police chief. Raphah has engaged 55 cases to date. This year, they aim to take 50 more cases. Raphah plans to expand the program both in Nashville, Davidson County, TN and through the rest of the South.

ReEntry Mediation Institute of Louisiana (REMILA)  is founded and led by a tribal citizen of the Ani-Yun Wiya Nation who has been directly impacted by the criminal justice system. Louisiana has one of the highest incarceration rates in the world as well as a high recidivism rate because of lack of long-term and sustainable support systems for formerly incarcerated individuals.  REMILA provides a restorative approach to rebuilding relationships and decreasing recidivism by providing opportunities for the incarcerated to meet, before release, with family members and others, with the help of a non-judgmental mediator, to have an open, honest, and often difficult dialogue to prepare for the transition back into the community.

Resolutions Northwest is launching the Restorative Justice Project for Black and Brown Healing. It is designed and led by people of color within the organization to reach communities of color that don’t participate in restorative justice practices because it is seen as a predominantly white practice in Portland, Oregon. The project's POC leadership plans to bring restorative practices to their community,  build trust, address fears of RJ, demonstrate that this practice can be “by us, for us”, is indigenous rooted and can be used by POC communities for what they want and need.

Roadmap Initiative

Roadmap Initiative is a new initiative that seeks to build a “roadmap” to the future by addressing -- and ultimately ending -- sexual harm in ways that are bold, exciting, both healing and non-carceral, and interrupts harm before it happens. This requires the creation of new frameworks and transformative pathways  to accountability and repair that are connected to anti-oppressive efforts to fundamentally transform the conditions that make violence and retribution possible.

Schools LA Students Deserve is working to shift the priorities and spending of the Los Angeles Unified School District away from criminalization of students and towards greater support and resources for students. Their fight against the School to Prison Pipeline and the criminalization of Black, Muslim, brown and Indigenous youth seeks “to confront a system that treats our children as criminals, terrorists, and outsiders and both create and demand spaces of healing, restoration, and reconciliation.”

S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective is a powerful community of mentors, activists, educators, and healers that support young women, femmes, and gender non-confoming/ gender non-binary youth of color. S.O.U.L. Sisters is currently in the program launch phase for the restorative diversion program (RJD) which we have been developing since 2017. They use the Restorative Community Conferencing (RCC) where youth meeting with their crime victims for a well-prepared, facilitated dialogue during which participants collectively create a plan to repair the harm with the support of family, friends, and community members.

STRONGHOLD is a collective of distinct and experienced POC, women, and directly impacted Restorative Justice practitioners and Transformative Justice visionaries.  STRONGHOLD offers consultation and facilitation rooted in anti-oppression analysis and framed by Restorative and Transformative Justice philosophy and practice in California.

Truth Telling Project is engaging K-12 educators in a process of learning and teaching that centralizes the "Pedagogy of Ferguson" and Truth Telling methodology. It was founded by St. Louis area community activists in response to the Ferguson uprising. With funding, they will organize a convening of educators, curriculum specialists and their networks in Ferguson, Mo, Gallup, NM, and Puerto Rico.

Voices for Racial Justice leaders will hold coffee circle ceremony with the elders of their people, the Oromo of Ethiopia, in the Minnesota immigrant community. They will combine the Oromo’s ancient Gadaa system wisdom about conflict resolution with their own American urgency about ending mass incarceration, and then redesign RJ for their own community using its traditions.

The WIRE: Women Involved in Reentry Efforts is a Washington, DC, network of formerly incarcerated women who have successfully returned back into the community after release. The Women of the WIRE have joined together to provide peer support to other women returning from incarceration.

Youth Passageways Network is an evolving network of individuals, organizations, and communities who help regenerate healthy passages into mature adulthood for today’s youth. Colonization and imperialism have destroyed processes for youth initiation. Resurrecting, restoring and elevating rites of passage is a deep kind of restorative practice.

Youth Rise Texas runs the “Still We Rise” program at five high schools in Austin, with an afterschool program as well, which will train youth to facilitate a healing justice program for other youth in schools, public housing projects, and eventually youth justice facilities. 

 

Transformative Justice

Assata's Daughters is rooted in the Black Radical Tradition that provides political education, leadership development, and revolutionary services to young Black people in Chicago that they might survive, thrive, and organize as a way to deepen, escalate, and sustain the Black Liberation Movement. Restorative justice infuses everything they do.

Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective is a collective working to build and support transformative justice responses to child sexual abuse. They envision a world where everyday people can intervene in incidences of child sexual abuse in ways that meet the immediate needs of those involved and also prevent future violence and harm by actively cultivating healing, accountability and resiliency for all.

Center for Political Education activists have learned that people are wanting to do Transformative Justice without knowing enough about it. They plan to host “Transformative Justice for the Movement,” a six-week course for grassroots organizers and activists across movement sectors at which they will learn TJ fundamentals with an eye toward learning lessons that may be particularly useful to apply in organizing and movement building contexts.

Centro Corona established the Community Protectors in response to the needs of people in Corona, Queens & beyond who had faced gender-based street harassment, and in continuation of their anti-police brutality work. They provide “Know Your Rights” trainings, CPR, mental health response, and community based responses to emergencies.

Collective Action for Safe Spaces is a grassroots organization of queer and trans people of color, whose goal is to eliminate public gendered harassment and assault in the DC area. They mediate conflict in organizations and do community listening sessions after violence. They want to get trained in TJ and are anti incarceration even after sexual violence.

IamNegrx

IamNegrx is launching the Aya Rising Project, a yearlong, survivor-driven, truth-telling project to build Transformative Justice capacity in upstate New York. They will hold POC Survivor Listening Circles for specific groups: youth, seniors, mothers who lost their children to violence, fathers, adult survivors of child sexual abuse, survivors of adult sexual and/or domestic violence, and survivors of police/state violence. 

Mirror Memoirs is an oral history project centering the narratives, healing and leadership of LGBTQ survivors of color in the movement to end child sexual abuse. It is based in Los Angeles, CA, and has national outreach.

New York City Transformative Justice Hub is expanding the network of those doing Transformative Justice and Community Accountability work in NYC.

Ostara Initiative - We Rise! is a leadership collective of formerly incarcerated women creating and shaping policy and systems change through a healing and transformative justice lens​.

People’s Advocacy Institute is a prison abolition organization with a TJ approach to gun violence and urban community safety, in Jackson, MS. They resource "credible messengers," formerly incarcerated people from the community who had been involved in violence, to engage youth in structured and intentional relationships that help them change their attitudes, beliefs, and action. It’s important to us to support more such work in the South.

Project NIA is convening the Transformative Justice Summer Action Camp, which will bring together 45 experienced and less experienced TJ, RJ, CA facilitators for discussion, skill-sharing and networking from around the country. Mariame Kaba, Founder and Director of Project NIA, is a national leader in the Transformative Justice movement. Last year, Project NIA co-organized a 3 day gathering titled "Building Accountable Communities"  in NYC Over 350 people attended from around the country, and produced 10 short videos from the event that have national viewership.  

Spring Up is pioneering Transformative Justice work in South Florida, primarily with youth, queer and trans folk, immigrants, people of color. Working with existing facilitators they found that people needed a greater foundation of healing, self-care, boundaries, and pod building support to incorporate Transformative Justice as a life practice before facilitating sexual and other harm cases in this community. 

Texas After Violence Project document testimonies by POC directly impacted by police violence and mass incarceration to challenge dominant myths about the effectiveness of punishment. They make a compelling argument about how critical this work is to transformative justice, and how it contributes to the work of Restorative Justice and Transformative Justice advocates happening elsewhere.

 

Networks, Convenings and Collaborations

Austin Coming Together is linking seven organizations in Austin, TX, to build their collective capacity to share Restorative Justice leadership and outreach in the community. The funds will be used for monthly talking circles and a leadership retreat for the Austin Restorative Justice Action Team.

Proving and Promoting Peace Circles as Best Practice for Indian Child Welfare Cases: this collaboration between six  indigenous organizations will draw from experts and practitioners around Indian Country to create materials that will assist Tribal nations and urban Alaska Native / American Indian programs, when those groups desire to implement peace circles as family enhancing programs to strengthen families and thereby prevent foster placement of children at risk. The collaborating organizations are:  (1) Native American Rights Fund (2) Indian Country Child Trauma Center (3) Tribal Justice Collaborative (4) Native American Budget and Policy Institute (5) New Mexico Kids Matter Inc.(6) Native American Rehabilitation Association of the Northwest, Inc.  The Native American Rights fund will serve as the lead organization.

Victim Rights Law Center is organizing a convening of community organizers, advocates at domestic violence/sexual assault organizations, LGBTQ youth focused groups, and other stakeholders to promote Restorative Justice within the agencies responding to domestic violence, in Massachusetts. It acknowledges and will grapple with the reasons some Domestic Violence organizations have mistrusted restorative justice approaches to intimate partner violence. 

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