Practicing Community Episode 1: The Justice of Transformation – A Conversation With Kruti Parekh
Join Kruti Parekh, Marisa Taborga Byrne, and Dane Zahorsky as they discuss Transformative Justice and how Kruti’s work is expressed throughout her life and how it shows up in our community!
Read the Transcript
About This Month’s Guest – Kruti Parekh
Kruti Parekh has been working synergistically with young people and families in the most marginalized communities in both New York and Los Angeles for 18 years.
Kruti’s experience includes adult ally at the Youth Justice Coalition, organizing to transform the juvenile and criminal injustice systems; director for youth programs, including YouthBuild, Teen Court, and Workforce Investment Act Programs as well as domestic violence accountability, workforce development, youth empowerment, youth leadership and wellness programs.
She would like to use her experience to help create the necessary infrastructure within Los Angeles City and County to prevent harm, death and incarceration for youth and increase graduation rates, financial independence and positive social contribution. Kruti has a Bachelor’s Degree from Brandeis University, Masters Degree in Social Worker from Hunter College and a self-proclaimed PhD (People’s health Degree) from the Youth Justice Coalition.
Like What You Hear? Find More Episodes or Subscribe!
Resources and a Personal Narrative on Transformative Justice
In a time when we are faced with the disheartening truth that our government and society have often neither been righteous nor equitable, how do we rebuild relationship, repair harms caused and return to trust? “An eye for an eye leaves the whole world blind.” Many of us have heard and even used this quotation attributed to one of the greatest icons of peace of the 21st century, Gandhi. Even so, somehow in our society, when conflict arises, we blindly follow the “justice” systems in place that present and promote punitive consequences, criminalization, and cycles of oppression. What is an alternative? Transformative justice.
Finding transformative justice, or TJ, changed my life and made the seemingly impossible possible. It was a light in the void, gifting hope after a lifetime of desperation. At a young age I was harmed by an adult in my family. I disclosed this harm to my mama, and she immediately sought help with the “authorities.” The police, Child Protective Services, and the public defender were all involved, with the promise of “justice.” It took over a year to go through all the legal battles, which of and in themselves were traumatic, and in the end, the harm was dismissed and the perpetrator found not guilty.
Our government system failed my family and me, “victimized” us, tore us and our community apart, and uprooted every belief I’d had injustice. A deep mistrust of our government and how wrongs were “righted” was seeded. The adults around me followed the system like sheep following the herd off the cliff. There were no other models to help us move towards a deeper, more holistic kind of justice, forgiveness and reparation based on love.
After wandering in a field of pain and mistrust for over a decade afterwards, I still had the longing for peace and chose to reconnect with the one who had caused me harm. I thought that love and determination for healing would be enough to repair the relationship and the pain. I was wrong. The renewed contact was hopeful, but I felt unable to address the harm and work toward the repair needed. A stronger container was needed with witnesses, companions, allies who believed in us and the re-union we hoped for.
And then the way of transformative justice came to me and the teaching that harm (like most things) has to be held within a community for transformative healing to be attained. It is a model where each has an understanding of both the effects of the harm that was caused and the history or story of the harm. Through using TJ, I have felt empowered. Conflict still has not been easy, but at least it’s easier. And in the rebuilding of my relationship with that loved relative, TJ has given the opportunity for a greater healing within our community as well, as they have taken their part in our conversations. It does take a village!
In our times, TJ is regenerating in many places, and there are increasingly more resources. Below are organizations, links, books and articles I’ve found or been gifted along the way. My prayer is n all relationships we can begin to open our eyes, our hearts and open up the possibility for true healing. Let’s practice and live in what justice truly is, simultaneously empowering and strengthening individuals and communities!
YPW Partners Doing the Work:
- Cornerstones of Care
- Courageous Hearts Youth Services
- The Hero Project
- The Ojai Foundation
- Youth Justice Coalition
- Youth Mentoring Connection
Youth Justice Organizations:
- Alternatives to Violence Project
- American Friends Service Committee
- Annie E. Casey Foundation
- Campaign for Youth Justice
- Cayuga Homes
- Center for Community Alternatives
- Centre for Justice and Reconciliation
- Child Defense Fund
- Creative Interventions
- Cut Youth Incarceration
- Dignity in Schools
- Families and Friends of Louisiana Incarcerated Children
- Gate Ways for Incarcerated Youth
- Generation 5
- InsideOUT Writers
- Justice for Families
- Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, Ramsey County, MN
- Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, Hennepin County, MN
- Juvenile Law Center
- Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana
- The Missouri Approach
- Save the Kids
- Seattle Young People’s Project
*Many of these were found at http://savethekidsgroup.org/resource-links/
- Nocella, A. J. II. (2012). “An Overview of the History and Theory of Transformative Justice.” Peace & Conflict Review. Vol 6. Issue 1.
- An Interview with Mia Mingus, Oakland Champion of Change, on transformative justice
- “Transformative Justice and the Ethos of Nuremberg.” Jonathan Turley.
- “Developing, implementing, and researching a communitarian model for restorative & transformative justice.” Dot Goulding and Brian Steels.
- The Voices of Peacemaking Criminology: Insights Into a Perspective with an Eye Toward Teaching by John F. Wozniak
- Karlene Faith. (1999). Transformative Justice versus Re-entrenched Correctionalism. In “Harsh Punishment International Experiences of Women’s Imprisonment” Edited By Sandy Cook and Susane Davies. Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press.
- Julie Mertus. (2011). From Legal Transplants to Transformative Justice: Human Rights and the Promise of Transnational Civil Society. In “American University International Law Review. Vol 14, Issue 5.
- Restorative or Transformative Justice? by Howard Zehr
- Towards Transformative Justice: Why a liberatory response to violence is necessary for a just world by generationFIVE
- Furthering Transformative Justice, Building Healthy Communities: An interview with Philly Stands Up
*Many of these were found at http://savethekidsgroup.org/resource-links/
- Ruth Morris, (2000) Stories of Transformative Justice
- John F. Wozniak, Michael C. Braswell, Ronald E. Vogel and Kristie R. Blevins. (2008). Transformative Justice: Critical and Peacemaking Themes Influenced by Richard Quinney.