The Practice of Transformative Justice: with Diana Adams and Andy Izenson
Transformative Justice for Community Members, Sunday February 4th.
Diana Adams and Andy Izenson lead the alternative justice systems-focused law and mediation firm Diana Adams Law & Mediation, PLLC, and together have almost twenty years of experience fighting sexual violence in alternative and sex-positive communities.
In December, Diana and Andy hosted a pair of closed-door workshops for community support and education for people who have experienced sexual violence or coercion in community spaces, and for people who have committed or been accused of such harms.
This new ongoing workshop, led by Andy, will be a space of community support and education for all community members who wish to learn more about transformative justice, safer spaces, and the process of building compassionate communities.
Transformative justice is an alternative justice system that rests on the idea that harm committed between members of a community is best addressed, not by exile or punishment of the responsible party, but by sincere and supported work on the part of the responsible party towards accountability and transformation, not only of themselves, but of the community as a whole, to address the conditions that allowed the harm to occur and collectively move towards liberation and a world free from violence.
For a little background on transformative justice, please see this article: https://medium.com/@AndyEyeballs/why-its-painful-an…
In NYC’s alternative and sex-positive communities, we are beginning to seek ways of dealing with conflict and violence that prioritize the safety and needs of survivors, women, people of color, and transgender and gender nonconforming people as we navigate the ways that systems of violence and oppression manifest in the spaces we work so hard to render safe.
This work has two parts. The first part is to work tirelessly to create spaces of safety and healing for those who have experienced trauma. The work of healing and processing trauma requires spaces that are dedicated to speaking one’s pain aloud, having it heard and held, and being in connection with others in the moment of remembering. The burgeoning #metoo movement has sparked many conversations like this, and we are honored to be a part of this movement and support it and the healing and transformation that can grow from it.
The crucial other arm of this work is to resist the urge to consider community members who have been responsible for harm as if they are disposable. Instead of classifying members of our community as ether “good” and therefore worthy of protection or “bad” and therefore deserving of exile, we must recognize the capacity for harm in each of us and provide opportunities for those who wish to respond to their own bad acts with transformative work.
This workshop will begin with a one-hour informative session about the processes of transformative justice, the mechanisms of trauma, and community accountability, and then continue, after a break, with an open community talking circle. We will focus on making a safe space for community members to connect, share stories, be supported, and build compassionate connection.
While not every person who has been responsible for another’s harm is willing to or capable of participation in this transformative work, we believe that space, support, and resources must be made available to those who are, and that the responsibility for that labor must not be left to the survivors of that harm. Instead, we seek to create this space to alleviate that burden which would otherwise fall to those for whom it would damage their own healing process.
Diana and Andy recognize that this is difficult work, and that to conceptualize it may be painful or triggering to community members who have experienced violation and trauma. As practitioners of alternative justice systems who have both survived sexual violence and abuse themselves, they believe that transforming our communities takes all of us working together. While survivors must not be tasked with the responsibility for the transformation of those who have harmed them, that responsibility has been let fall to the detriment of our communities, and Diana and Andy are committed and proud to shoulder it.
All community members, including those who have committed or experienced harm, who are willing to engage open-heartedly in the work of transforming our communities, are welcome to join us.
If you are a community member who has experienced harm or violence at the hands of another member of community, or you know of an instance of harm or violence that you would like to share with us, and you would like us to reach out to the responsible party and encourage them to participate in this workshop, you can contact us directly or through a trusted third party at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you do so, your anonymity will be protected and any input you wish to share will be welcomed.
If you have questions or needs about how we can protect your safety in participation in this workshop, please contact us.
This workshop is available on a by-donation basis with $20 suggested minimum donation to contribute to space rental. This is optional, and participants are welcome to attend for free.
We are looking forward to taking this next step with our communities towards community healing.
Our venue is a private space in Bed-Stuy with three stairs to the entrance. Please contact us with any questions or accessibility concerns.
Register with the following form to receive address: