It was a fun evening of celebration, amazing music, stories about restorative practices in Athens schools, and lots of fun! Stay on the lookout for our spring fundraiser in 2020!
He discussed the connections between law, mediation, and restorative practices.
Participants learned about the underlying principles of restorative practice, designing community building circles, and using restorative practices to work with conflict and discipline.
Georgia Conflict Center began with a conversation. In 2010, a group based in Athens, Georgia was exploring the intersection of religious faith and social justice. The group was led by Fr. David Hyman of the UGA Catholic Center, and he would invite guest speakers to tell the group about their work. One of the speakers was Liz Loescher, founder of The Conflict Center in Denver.
In 1987, Liz was a public school teacher, and became convinced that when kids had the tools needed to address conflict they would do better in school and in life. She decided to start an organization committed to teaching those skills, and The Conflict Center is still going strong. Liz had recently left her job as the director and moved to Georgia to be near family. After she shared her story the group committed itself to bringing a similar organization to their own community, and Georgia Conflict Center was born.
Liz became the director and helped get the organization on a solid footing. After she left a new executive director, Gwen O’Looney, took over. Gwen’s history as the mayor of Athens and long involvement in social justice made her a natural fit for the job, and she expanded GCC’s work into schools and the local jail.
In 2013, John Lash became executive director. He came to GCC as an intern while pursuing an M.S. in conflict management, and brought a focus on community peacemaking, restorative justice, Nonviolent Communication, and structural violence to GCC’s work.
GCC has continued to expand, supporting schools, jails, prisons, faith communities, businesses, and other groups in sharpening their conflict skills and finding restorative means to address conflict and harm. The work of GCC is perfectly captured in its motto, “Conflict is inevitable; violence is not.”
This approach, known as a positive orientation to conflict, underlies all of GCC’s efforts, because ultimately all conflicts are human conflicts, and it is in our nature to address these in a way that takes account of the needs of everyone. To learn more about the GCC’s community benefits, or to make a charitable donation to the cause, click here.