I’ve been learning with an amazing group of people this week. They come from all over the world, with a variety of backgrounds, and different faiths. As this temporary community, we have thought about traumatic events, and how they affect our lives, and have shared stories with each other. I consider it a great privilege to have been here this week.
We have thought about the hurts in our lives, and the hurts that we have seen in the lives of others, and how our reaction as ‘hurt people’ can often be to hurt other people.
We have seen examples of those who, sometimes with a great deal of support, have been able to escape from the cycles of violence in their lives, and find some measure of healing.
Especially moving was the account of how two members of a family in Texas took the brave step of making contact with the man who had murdered another family member.
The lives of the White family were changed forever in 1986, when Cathy was murdered. Linda White (Cathy’s mother) and her granddaughter Amy (Cathy’s daughter) went through a year long process of preparing to meet Cathy’s killer, Gary Brown.
Gary was a classic example of ‘Hurt People Hurt People’. Through the work of a restorative justice programme, Linda and Amy were able to meet Gary and tell him some of the devastating results of his crime in the life of their family.
For more on this, read the account in the Houston press: http://www.houstonpress.com/2001-09-27/news/face-to-face/
And for more on restorative justice, see Howard Zehr’s blog. (Howard is a teacher here at EMU and widely regarded as one of the first to pioneer restorative justice)
Or for more general info on the subject: