Restorative Justice Conference: Hope, Healing, and Radical Reconciliation

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Restorative Justice Conference: Hope, Healing, and Radical Reconciliation

Saturday, October 13, 2018


Calvin College, Covenant Fine Arts Center


Two years ago, the students in the Calvin Prison Initiative program at the R.A. Handlon Correctional facility had an idea and heart to put on a conference about restorative justice. They wanted, in some way, to reach out and create something that the public could participate and learn in. That produced the first restorative justice conference last year, held at Hope College. This year, is a continuation of that spirit of connectedness and dedication to restorative justice.

The 2nd Annual West Michigan Restorative Justice Conference is again, organized by students in the Calvin Prison Initiative program at the R.A. Handlon Correctional facility, with a theme of Hope, Healing, and Radical Reconciliation.

This one-day FREE conference (registration required) will feature a variety of speakers and organizations from the State of Michigan that work in areas of restorative justice and criminal justice reform. The conference will be held on October 13, 2018 from 9AM-4PM at Calvin College's Covenant Fine Arts Center.

Lunch will be provided at this event, and attendees will have time to visit booths of local organizations and non-profits, seeing how they contribute to restorative justice efforts in the state. In addition, a new application created by teh Civitas Lab will be featured. This app is an interactive map providing resources for re-entry and other restorative resources for those affected by incarceration.

Our speakers include:
Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff is an American philosopher and Reformed epistemologist, formerly a professor at Calvin College, and a passionate believer in restorative justice. He will open the conference on what it means to mobilize hope in restorative justice.

Father David Kelly is the director Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation which operates out of a center in an old school on Chicago’s south side. There, the Missionaries of the Precious Blood minister in the Back of the Yards neighborhood and beyond. They offer a place of safety to neighborhood youth and families; operate work and study programs; take a stand against the senseless violence that ruins so many lives; and reach out to the lonely and forsaken through their prison ministry.

Dominique Gilliard is an ordained minister, advocate, speaker, and author. He wrote the book Rethinking Incarceration: Advocating for Justice that Restores and is the current director of Racial Righteousness and Reconciliation for the Evangelical Covenant Church's initiative Love Mercy Do Justice.

State Representative David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids) is currently serving his full term in the Michigan house of Representatives and is the political face of criminal justice reform. LaGrand will provide an inside-political look at Michigan's criminal justice landscape and specific legislative areas for reform.

Dr. Charlotte Van-Oyen Witvliet is a professor of psychology at Hope College and specializes in forgiveness and its emotional and psychophysiological effects. Dr. Witvliet also studies empathy, accountability, and hope, themes which will be discussed at the conference.

Jerline Riley is a mother, advocate, and speaker. She lost her son in 2012 and has been going to conferences and events, speaking about restorative justice and forgiveness. She will share part of her story and have a brief interview with Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige, the associate the the President for Inclusion and Diversity at Calvin College.

Join us on October 13th to explore how Hope, Healing, and Radical Reconciliation is possible and restorative justice attainable for those effected by incarceration. And, how you can participate!