Little Book of Youth Engagement in Restorative Justice
Partnering with Young People to Create Systems Change for More Equitable Schools
Evelín Aquino, Anita Wadhwa, Heather Manchester
- 128 Pages
- November 2, 2021
- ISBN: 9781680997484
- Trim Size: 5in x 8in x 0in
The purpose of this book is to illuminate a theory of youth engagement in restorative justice that seeks to create systems change for more equitable schools. The authors define youth engagement in restorative justice as partnering with young people most impacted by structural injustice as changemakers in all aspects of restorative practices including community building, healing, and the transformation of institutions. Based on Adam Fletcher’s version of the Ladder of Youth Engagement, coupled with Barbara Love’s model of liberatory consciousness and an analysis of youth engagement in Restorative Justice in three different regions—Western Massachusetts, Oakland, and Houston—the authors provide a theoretical contribution: Youth Engagement in Restorative Justice grounded in liberatory consciousness.
In this book readers will find:
- Comparative case studies from different parts of the country of youth led restorative justice programs.
- An exploration of the cultural and historical context of each region to situate the work.
- Stories from the authors' own lives that provide context for their interest in the work given their varied racial identities (White, Black, Latinx, South Asian) and upbringing.
- Literature review of the language of youth engagement vs. youth leadership/youth organizing/youth participation, along with a new definition of youth engagement in restorative justice.
- Theoretical framing based on Adam Fletcher’s Ladder of Youth Engagement , which provides a structure for the book.
- Exploration of how adults must combat adultism both individually and systematically as a prerequisite to doing this work.
- Student narratives.
- Applications of the work in the virtual context.
Heather Manchester is an educator, trainer, and RJ Program Manager for Oakland Unified School District. Growing up in California, she has over twenty-five years of experience facilitating leadership, community engagement, theater, and RJ programs in rural and urban settings. The core of her work is partnering with young people and adults to create spaces for meaningful dialogue to build more equitable and resilient communities. Heather coaches organizations to work in partnership with young people as trainers, researchers, funders, and policy makers. She is a graduate of UC Berkeley and completed her masters in Peace and Conflict Studies, with a focus on Youth Participation in Peacebuilding, from the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland. She is fueled by her love and appreciation for the elders and youth who have guided and walked the road towards justice with her and thanks her family and ancestors for grounding her. She lives in Oakland, California.
Anita Wadhwa, a native Houstonian, is a classroom teacher and restorative justice coordinator at YES Prep Northbrook High School, and author of Restorative Justice in Urban Schools: Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline and a contributor to the recently released anthology, Colorizing Restorative Justice. She is Co-Founder of Restorative Empowerment (or REY) and hires former students to train organizations in restorative practices. She owes everything to her parents, husband, and two lovely girls. She lives in Houston, Texas.