Restorative Justice Conflict Mediation: The Circle Inside the Circle
MCLE Society Session
Online via Zoom
Wednesday, November 10, 2021
Noon to 1:30pm
The foundation of this workshop is to establish how to incorporate Restorative Justice practices and values in Mediation. Sounds like a tall order? It is actually quite simple once we break down the true intentions of Restorative Justice, which is finding out what our common value system is and using those values to get the things we need from/for our community. In this interactive session we will do an exercise that proves how important it is for us to connect in a human experience, which will lead us into an intentional conversation about our shared values that separates truth from assumptions and biases that we all hold. Through the power of storytelling about our human experience of harm, we will examine the true needs in harm versus the justification we practice for the result of the harms we experience now. Thus getting what we came here for, a true definition of justice. Once justice is defined, we can then fight for the creation of the justice of our imaginations.
Eric Butler, Lead Restorative Justice Trainer, Talking Peace
Eric Butler believes in the power of relationship building as a healing practice. An educator and activist, Eric’s
ability to overcome life’s hurdles propels him to make a difference in the lives of young people across the U.S.
Eric began his career as a domestic violence counselor in New Orleans. After surviving Hurricane Katrina and
relocating to Oakland, California, Eric successfully facilitated Grief Circles in response to homicide and extreme
violence in area schools as a part of Catholic Charities’ crisis response program. He also worked as a lead
mediator with Youth Uprising, where he mediated conflicts on the ground in Oakland neighborhoods and
schools. Eric is recognized for his impactful restorative justice work with youth in West Oakland as the School
Coordinator at Bunche High School with Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY). He went on to found the
“Talking Peace” model of Restorative Justice, a set of practices and philosophy aimed at building relationships
through shared values. National publications like the New York Times and YES! Magazine, and the film,
CIRCLES, document Eric’s pioneering and transformational approach, which hinges on the tremendous power
of a single conversation.
Eric was the first recipient of the NACRJ Dennis Maloney Award for Community and Restorative Justice in 2013.
He was awarded the Cinequest Film Festival “Visionary Award” in 2019 and the Northwest Justice Forum 2019
Lifetime Restorative Justice Award. He serves on the Board of Selma Center for Nonviolence, Truth, &
Reconciliation. From keynote speaking to facilitating professional development experiences within school
districts, Eric travels around the world to make restorative practices accessible to anyone willing to commit.
Restorative practices are not only tools to be used in schools or in courts, but provide a way for communities
to connect, heal, make peace and long-lasting change.