Over the course of two evenings in late July 2016, Joyce Sanchez and Norma López of OC Human Relations Community Building team, conducted a Restorative Circle Facilitator Training at the Islamic Society of Orange County.

Its purpose was to train community leaders to lead Community Building/Healing circles in their respective communities in light of recent violent events in the United States and around the world.(e.g. Florida, Baton Rouge, Nice…)

The goals of the training were to:
1. Create awareness and increase understanding of restorative justice practices.
2. Offer experiential community building & healing circles for participants.
3. Prepare participants to facilitate Restorative Circles in their communities.

A total of 15 attendees participated in training. Participants represented organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Orange County Transportation Authority, Children’s Bureau, and Islamic Society of Orange County. The attendees were of diverse ethnic, religious, and cultural backgrounds: Latinas, Muslims, African-American, Christians, Sikh, and Chinese-American and included 14 women and 1 man.

This first session was a great success with a full class and engaged participants.  The participants made great connections and are looking forward to creating a Facebook Restorative Justice circle facilitator group to share resources and for support. The participants were effusive in their praise and are now prepared for future community-wide circle dialogues with partner organizations and communities in Orange County.

Additional training’s will be scheduled in the future.

OC Human Relations is grateful to the Orange County Community Foundation for providing funding and to the Islamic Society of Orange County for offering a training space.