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"Co-Opting Restorative Justice in Higher Education"
Rochelle Arms Almengor provides an illuminating narrative about her experience in restorative justice, one that stretches back at least twenty years. Almengor worked as a restorative justice coordinator (RJC) in a school with predominantly White teachers and administrators. Being an RJC, she countered the school culture that normalized harm to youth by shaming them. Despite the many school cultures that embrace punitive disciplinary measures, she nonetheless sees schools as sites where restorative practices can take root.
Moreover, not unlike her sisters of color contributing to this volume, Almengor has witnessed restorative justice becoming more mainstreamed (e.g., in K–12 schools). But she also points out, as others have, that organizational leadership remains problematic—out of reach—for women of color. Based on her own work experiences, she observes that the leadership in RJ/RP organizations does not reflect the communities they serve.
Almengor shows that Black and other women of color, not surprisingly, are willing to take calculated but exceptional risks to colorize restorative justice, despite Whites’ expressions of fragility as they do so.