May 29 conference focuses on repairing harm and building communities

Restorative practices bring people together when relationships are damaged by the specific actions of one or more people. These 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.

Pardeep Kaleka

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

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. Michaelis, author of “My Life After Hate,” was once a founding member of a racist skinhead organization. Kaleka is the eldest son of the president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin. His father was killed in a mass shooting at the temple on Aug. 5, 2012. Together, Michaelis and Kaleka will demonstrate problem-solving for the future rather than focusing on past injustices.

Arno Michaelis

Parents, teachers, law enforcement personnel, administrators and government officials can benefit from learning about restorative practices, since the practices have implications for families, classrooms, workplaces, the criminal justice system and governments.

The conference fee is $75 for the general public ($60 before May 1) and $30 for students. The fee includes all sessions, lunch refreshments and parking at the Italian Community Center.

To register, visit tinyurl.com/cuirconference. For more information, visit cuir.uwm.edu or contact Jared Parker at 414-229-6616, jparker@uwm.edu.