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Conference focuses on repairing harm and building communities

April 24, 2013 College News - As a philosophy and healing practice, restorative practices bring people together when relationships are damaged by the specific actions of one or more people. These restorative practices are designed to develop common understanding between people and increase trust levels. The three fundamental goals are repair harm, restore relationships and build community.

The 15th annual Urban Initiatives Conference, Restorative Practices: Repairing Harm and Building Communities, will be held on Wednesday, May 29, from 7:30 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., at the Italian Community Center, 631 E. E. Chicago St. The conference is cosponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Center for Urban Initiatives and Research (CUIR) and the Medical College of Wisconsin Violence Prevention Initiative (VPI). The VPI is a special initiative of the Healthier Wisconsin Partnership Program.

Parents, teachers, police, administrators and government officials can benefit from learning about restorative practices, since the practice has implications for families, classrooms, schools and prisons to workplaces, associations, governments and nations.

National experts Carl Stauffer and Kay Pranis will join local voices Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Kaleka for discussions and workshops. Topics will include the principles, methods, evidence and applications of restorative practices.

For example, Michaelis, founding member of a racist skinhead organization and now author of “My Life After Hate,” regularly speaks in tandem with Kaleka. Kaleka is the eldest son of the president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, who was shot and killed in the attack on Aug. 5, 2012. Together, Michaelis and Kaleka show the importance of problem-solving for the future rather than focusing on past injustices.

Conference fee includes sessions, lunch refreshments and parking at the Italian Community Center. The fee is $75, with a $15 discount for those who register by May 1 ($60). Cost for students is $30 (no discount before May 1). Participants can register on the Restorative Practices: Repairing Harm and Building Communities Website. Additional information is available on the CUIR Website or from Jared Parker, 229-6616 or jparker@uwm.edu.

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