The poems included in this book were written as part of a restorative justice poetry class in San Bruno Jail under Community Works West’s program, the Resolve to Stop the Violence Project (RSVP). The course took place in weekly two-hour sessions over the course of ten weeks. Its emphasis was to expand upon the primary elements of restorative justice, an alternative to a punitive model of criminal justice that emphasizes accountability, healing, and rebuilding relationships.
The poetry in this book was inspired by the discussion themes of harm/trauma, power, belonging, relationships, self-love/self-definition, and forgiveness. The conversations and sharing took place in a restorative justice circle, which provided a platform for support and honest reflection. Poetry was used as a means to help participants find and remain in touch with their authentic selves. Each session centered around themes extracted from poems written by acclaimed women of color writers and included poetry reading, discussion, and reflective writing.
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