Barbara A. Sherrod, MS, once an at-risk youth, is dedicated to improving the quality of school life and community building for the children of Baltimore through restorative practices. Through advocacy and a whole-school approach, Barbara educates school communities on discipline disparities, relationship building, and achievement gaps among children based on race, gender, and socioeconomic status. Barbara’s work focuses on increasing self awareness and positive identity-building through targeted responsive Circles for Black and Brown girls exclusively. Using her online social platform, MillennialMochaMoms, in conjunction with dialogue Circles, Barbara facilitates conversations around motherhood and what it means for Black and Brown millennial women like herself who became a mother at a young age. Baltimore born and raised, Barbara holds a BA in English and an MS in negotiations and conflict management, both from the University of Baltimore, and is currently a doctoral student in urban educational leadership at Morgan State University.
"Your Silence Will Not Protect You"
Barbara Sherrod turns her critical analysis on restorative justice’s peculiar silence about collective harms. Her experiences in restorative practices disclose that RJ’s more established advocates are less than enthusiastic about addressing harms on institutional, systemic, or structural levels. Perhaps these advocates, who perceive harms on an individualistic level, choose to focus on that level only, not on the collective level where white supremacy shapes institutional policies and practices. By so doing, though, they institutionalize a “restorative” practice of turning a blind eye to how White-dominated institutions tokenize or silence the People of Color and Indigenous Peoples working within them or for them.
To break this silence, Sherrod shifts her gaze toward the racial dynamics within schools, which leads her to address system-level harms.