Sheryl Wilson

Sheryl R. Wilson holds a BS in mediation and Communication Studies and a restorative justice-based master of Liberal Studies from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is a resourceful facilitator and mediator, consistently recognized for building effective relationships.

Sheryl has been a practitioner, trainer, and educator in restorative justice for more than fifteen years. Beginning her restorative justice career as a trainer and research associate at the Center for Restorative Justice and Peacemaking in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota, Sheryl developed and facilitated “Victims, Offenders, Community: A Restorative Experience” (VOCARE) dialogues in Minnesota’s correctional facilities. She also worked as a community mediator with the Victim Offender Conferencing program in Washington County, Minnesota. As a researcher, she was actively involved in the evaluation of the VOCARE prison-based program.

Sheryl has served as a special projects coordinator for the Georgia Council for Restorative Justice (GCRJ), a program of Georgia State University. As executive director of Southern Truth and Reconciliation (STAR of Atlanta, GA), she was able to work with communities affected by historical harm. In the summer of 2008, Sheryl coordinated a group of victim-offender facilitators to serve as support people for witnesses who gave testimony to the Liberian Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC) during hearings for the United States Diaspora held at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.

She continued working with a contingent of the Liberian TRC residing in the Atlanta area through her work as executive director of STAR.

Since 2016, Sheryl has been the director of KIPCOR, the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, located in Newton, Kansas. Sheryl also serves as the president of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ.

"Calling Out Whiteness"

In this article, Sheryl Wilson poses a leading question for this book: How do People of Color (POC) survive in hyper racialized White systems? She exhorts readers to be acutely conscious of all-White and White-dominated spaces; otherwise dismantling them is exceedingly difficult. As she explains, failing to name and dismantle such realities, which POC face daily, subjects POC to harm. Black Lives Matter, now internationally famous, shows that the most basic daily activities, like driving or walking, can have lethal consequences for us.

Wilson outlines a path to authentic, meaningful conversations in the restorative work. First, she makes clear that POC and Indigenous Peoples need accomplices more than allies. Wilson draws on Dr. Jalane Schmidt’s differentiation of the two—a differentiation that, with some soul-searching, invites Whites to check their fragility. In the vernacular, whereas an ally is like a fair-weather friend, being an accomplice demands moral muscle and resolve from Whites who aspire to join the struggle for justice.