I’m struggling with what to say at tonights first fundraiser. I know that I will have a demonstration towards the end. I plan to make the ‘mic’ the talking piece, and have a few testimonials from the crowd. I have a few people aware that the spontaneous opportunity will be presented. I do believe I can firmly close my section on the program, with a convincing statement: “And THAT is why_____” I don’t know what to put in the blank.
I might talk about miracles I see, in RJ and weave in a story or two. I thought about a story of our organization. I am trying to find the ONE thing, I want people to know when I am done. I came her to my blog to figure this out. I try to write 500 word posts, to keep them long enough for some content, but short enough to digest quickly. Here’s a try at my speech:
Picture this. Eight people in a room at the public library. Brainstorming and discussing where to try with restorative justice. There was no other agency to follow, there were no ‘restorative justice, experts’ in the room. As a matter of fact, some of the people actually spent time at their day jobs directly opposing others. Much of the motivation came from a sense that what was happening was not working. Rather than being defeated, the group met, and met, and met. Using the very process that is most noted today at SCVRJP, a Talking Circle, the group developed a mission. The mission, the goal of the organization was to build a culture of peace and belonging utilizing restorative justice principles and practices. (nah, I don’t like this one).
(Taking a long pause, using meaningful silence) I will look around the room (giving me a chance to breathe and calm myself down – more than any speech I’ve done, this one has me really nervous). I just have to soak this all in. 120 people are here, we are here to support and celebrate SCVRJP. You (silent paused) have brought me great joy. You see I get my joy, in helping others, and restorative justice brings joy to anyone around it. Let me explain how I experience, and define ‘joy’. A calm sense of peace and belonging, with a mixture of hope and love. That is joy. Its joy, when people own their lives and their experiences, and share themselves with others. Other people soak that in and they become joyful.
Did you ever build a human pyramid? You know, the strongest on the bottom, on their hands and knees. We join in carefully getting one knee and hand on two other people, using backs and shoulders for support. Adding people until the thing collapses or you have a few moments of success. I just need a few volunteers . . . just kidding. The point I want to make about ‘human pyramids’ is that we are contantly in one. You have to support other people, you have to trust others – and life is a constant stream to building and celebrating.
I would like to introduce you to people at SCVRJP, that are part of the pyryamid, the board members, could you please stand up. (Introduce everyone.) There are also some other special guests, here, former board members – could you stand up. (Introduce them). Thank you board members, now I would like to have our volunteers stand. This group of people, they form human pyramids all the time, and they work with others to help them feel part of the great human pyramid of life. They deliver the goods on peace and belonging. Thank you volunteers!
They say if you have a product, service, company or cause that is improving the life of someone, then you have a story to tell. I have SO many stories, so many stories of faith, hope and love, facilited by Restorative Justice. Tonights theme, restoring the fabric of our community, this happens everyday in Restorative Justice. The beauty of it lies in the fact that EACH and EVERY person is part of the fabric of community. And restorative justice reminds us to keep our part of the fabric strong. And when one string or weave of it gets broken, those around become strong in the weakest spots. If you’ve ever made the effort to improve, your life or someone elses, you have a story to tell. We use those stories in our work, we restore the fabric of commuity by storytelling.
So I’d like to open this up a little bit, and make this microphone into a talking piece, and I’d like to invite anyone that has something to add, or a brief story about SCVRJP – restoring the fabric of community, to join me for a few moments of storytelling.
So I am inviting anyone that has something to add to join me. (open mic stories).
Closing: And THAT is the JOY of Restorative Justice. Thank you for attending our fundraiser!
(what do you think?)