In an enlightening presentation, Sri Ram Timilsina dived into the remarkable journey and work of Skye Bowen, an educator with a mission. With nearly two decades of hands-on teaching experience, Bowen stands tall as an unwavering beacon of advocacy for equity and social justice in the education sector.
The harrowing ordeal that Bowen and her husband, Orlando, endured – Orlando’s assault by police officers due to racial profiling – became an inflection point in her career. Rather than succumbing to despair, this personal trauma galvanized her resolve. Timilsina, in his articulate retelling, captured the essence of how this very incident fuelled Bowen’s drive to immerse even deeper into young lives, nurturing and mentoring them towards brighter futures.
Timilsina delved deep into Bowen’s partnership with her husband’s charitable initiative, “One Voice One Team Youth Leadership Organization.” This collaboration highlighted the commendable efforts of the couple in mentoring and empowering young minds, encouraging them to actively participate in various outreach programs.
A particularly poignant part of the presentation revolved around Bowen’s tenure in a youth correctional facility. Here, she witnessed the heart-wrenching reality of the school-to-prison pipeline, an unsettling manifestation of systemic racism in action. Timilsina’s recounting of this phase in Bowen’s career emphasized its significance in shaping her subsequent efforts. This real-world exposure instilled in Bowen an unwavering commitment to stand up for BIPOC youth, advocating for a sweeping change in both the justice and education systems.
One of the standout achievements of Bowen, highlighted by Timilsina, was her development of a training module centered on restorative justice. What made her approach unique and revolutionary was its foundation in anti-racist principles, deeply influenced by Afro-Indigenous perspectives.
The crux of the presentation was Bowen’s workshop on the pressing need to reevaluate our understanding and application of restorative justice in the educational domain. Timilsina elucidated how Bowen champions the integration of Afro-Indigenous history into the restorative justice narrative, urging educators to introspect and confront their inherent biases, privileges, and the power dynamics they operate within.
Through Timilsina’s vivid portrayal, the audience got a glimpse of Bowen’s vision of creating genuine restorative justice communities. These communities would place paramount importance on authentic relationships, youth empowerment, and unwavering advocacy for social justice. Timilsina drove home the point that Bowen believes in weaving social justice and racial identity into the very fabric of restorative justice. By doing so, educational institutions can evolve towards a model emphasizing collective liberation, transforming their inherent cultures in the process.
In conclusion, Sri Ram Timilsina’s presentation on Skye Bowen’s work was a masterclass in storytelling. By encapsulating Bowen’s resilience, determination, and vision, Timilsina not only paid tribute to an exceptional educator but also underscored the urgency of reimagining restorative justice in schools. In the words of Bowen, “RJE has the potential to change the culture in order to change the game.” The pertinent question Timilsina left the audience with, echoing Bowen’s sentiments, was a simple yet powerful one: “Who’s ready?”