Tulane VISTA Blog

Fighting Poverty with Passion

Real Talk – Tom Zolot – Center for Restorative Approaches

Here is a link to the City of New Orleans’ press release supporting restorative practices and in particular the Center for Restorative Approaches:  Press Release CRA

Its always impressive to me how speaking an idea works to make it true.  What’s strange to me is how much it varies in the amount of speaking required.  The more people an idea or concept is going to reach, the more we have to talk about it.  In talking about it we begin a process of speaking the intangible into existence.

I have noticed that this doesn’t always have to be convincing someone else to support you.  I find a lot of benefit in telling friends of the strange ideas I am having.  In telling someone else I have created an expectation, a pact with this person.  There seems to be something fundamental that shifts when something that was bouncing around in our own heads is spoken to another person, heard and now placed back on you, the speaker, to accomplish. In and outside of work I use this strategy often, intentionally telling people about my plans and ideas because the shared knowledge seems to give an idea a kind of volume.  Shared between people, this idea now has borders and walls that can contain something, takes on mass and become real.

At work though, when trying to change a community (school, neighborhood or city) to be less violent and more restorative, I use this idea of speaking reality into being all the time.  Every little conversation or major press release is one more link.  All these unending links then begin to become a web and as we, the schools, the community advocacy organizations and the city itself, begin to speak about keeping students in schools, not giving up on youth, training professionals in restorative methods it begins to take shape.

NOLA for LIFE: Violence Prevention

NOLA for LIFE: Violence Prevention

Rather than introducing the concept and doing lots of explaining, I have noticed in this new year that in even in the last few weeks many folks are approaching me, asking my opinion on restorative matters and suggesting new opportunities.

Now comes the exciting part.  Now the idea has left me and is only coming back as it needs but, as with hope, change should be a thing with feathers.  And as it takes flight I will be here proud and watching as other people carry it further and more beautifully than I ever could have alone.



This entry was posted on January 23, 2015 by in VISTA Field Reports.


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