Skye Bowen recently presented a thought-provoking and engaging workshop that delved deep into the core principles of restorative justice, illuminating them through the lens of Afro-Indigenous history and her personal experiences. The session provided attendees with a fresh perspective on addressing the systemic racial biases prevalent in the justice and education systems, offering practical solutions and encouraging a proactive approach.
Skye’s journey is truly inspiring. Having spent almost two decades in the education sector, she has witnessed the intricacies and imbalances within the system firsthand. Her personal trauma, stemming from her husband Orlando Bowen’s racially motivated assault by the police, has only solidified her determination. Rather than being defeated, Skye harnessed this experience, channeling her energy into mentoring and advocating for the youth, particularly those from BIPOC communities. Collaborating with her husband’s charity, “One Voice One Team Youth Leadership Organization,” she has actively empowered youth, providing them with avenues to channel their potentials positively.
The experiences she gathered while teaching in a youth correctional facility were particularly enlightening. The evident school-to-prison pipeline laid bare the deep-rooted racial biases that continue to plague our societies. These revelations spurred Skye to develop comprehensive training programs centered around restorative justice, fostering an environment that is conscious of and combats systemic racism, while also integrating Afro-Indigenous perspectives.
In her presentation, Skye effectively underscored the urgency of re-envisioning how restorative justice is integrated within educational settings. She emphasized the Afro-Indigenous roots of restorative justice, a facet often overlooked in modern discussions. By helping attendees unpack their own inherent biases, privileges, and power dynamics, Skye paved the way for them to emerge as transformative relational activists and healers.
Central to Skye’s message was the importance of genuine, relationship-centered restorative justice communities. She strongly advocated for an environment where racial identity and social justice aren’t mere additions but are, in fact, integral to the entire restorative justice framework. This approach, she believes, is pivotal in leading educational communities towards collective liberation.
The workshop wasn’t merely theoretical. Skye provided actionable insights and strategies for educators and system leaders. By aligning restorative justice with youth empowerment and social justice advocacy, she championed a culture shift in educational institutions, urging them to change their inherent structures and, in turn, “change the game.”
Conclusively, Skye Bowen’s workshop was a clarion call for educators and leaders to introspect, adapt, and transform. By centering restorative justice around relationships, empowering the youth, and strongly advocating for social justice, she illuminated a path forward – a path that celebrates collective liberation and actively combats systemic racial biases. As she rightly asked, “Who’s ready?” – the challenge now lies in how many heed the call and take the necessary steps towards creating a more just and equitable future.