Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice group adds program director


Mark your calendars for an anniversary celebration, Thursday, May 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Vine Arts Center in the Ivy Building. Stop by for food, drinks, updates about SLRJ, and to view a gallery exhibit by We Are All Criminals. Stay tuned for more details!
We are also thrilled to introduce Erika Linder as the new program manager of Seward Longfellow Restorative Justice. Erika has been involved with SLRJ as a volunteer since 2016. She lives in Seward with her spouse and dogs.
Since 2004, SLRJ has been at the forefront of promoting restorative justice values, primarily focusing on youth engagement. It has become apparent that merely providing restorative services is not enough. To truly achieve justice, SLRJ must engage more deeply in broader systemic change.
Here is a sampling of the ways SLRJ is building a society where restorative values are not just a program but an integral part of how we understand, respond to, and prevent harm at every level.
To expand restorative justice options across the state of Minnesota for youth who break the law, SLRJ contributed two years of committee participation and legislative advocacy, culminating in the creation of the statewide Office of Restorative Practices. This statewide office will provide guidance, financial resources, and technical assistance to communities seeking to expand restorative justice. We continue to work to ensure that this office achieves its potential and that restorative justice will not only flourish but be fully integrated into our justice system. By fostering collaboration and sharing best practices, we aim to create a network of support that empowers communities to implement restorative practices effectively.
At the request of a surviving family member, SLRJ facilitated a restorative process with a driver responsible for a pedestrian death in downtown Minneapolis. The 18-month process exceeded everyone’s expectations and gained the attention of the Minneapolis City Attorney’s office. In response, the City Attorney’s Office is initiating an option for survivors of crime to choose a restorative path – led by SLRJ – instead of a legal one. To hear an interview on Minnesota Public Radio with the participants of the restorative process that led to this fundamental change in how the city of Minneapolis responds to crime, go to­ 
In response to inquiries from survivors of gender-based violence, we are working across Minnesota to increase the options available for survivors who request restorative justice. Each month we convene a workgroup of restorative justice practitioners and advocates in the field of gender-based violence to build connections and collective knowledge to grow restorative justice options for survivors. I co-authored a study about restorative justice and gender-based violence, and you can access the summary report and research paper on our website: I am a frequent speaker on the topic of restorative justice and gender-based violence, including at the recent Reimagining Justice Conference hosted by the Minnesota Justice Research Center.
At the same time, we have not forgotten our commitment to offer restorative processes to youth who break the law and to community members seeking our support. We collaborate with RJ programs across Hennepin County to divert youth from the legal system and into restorative justice processes. We also accept requests from community members for restorative processes in place of the involvement of the police or the legal system.
Throughout Minneapolis and beyond, communities are reckoning with an over-reliance on policing and are yearning to create life-giving, equitable, and compassionate ways to respond to harm and crime. Replacing the current system of policing, built over more than 150 years, requires committing to the long view and the deep work of creating new ways of living together and of defining accountability.
It was the vision and creativity of residents of Seward and Longfellow that launched SLRJ. With continued support from the neighborhood, SLRJ will persist in transforming how we understand and experience justice.
Let's continue this journey of community-building and justice together!


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