Sunday, 9 February 2014

SAWBONNA. SHEKON. AND THE INAUGURAL LECTURE IN THE STEVEN TRUSCOTT FOUNDATION SERIES

 I feel strongly that it's responsible of the government to address fear of crime, not to create it. David Daubney

Shortly before I give a talk about, Resiliency, for the Victims' Advisory Committee, in Ontario on February 27, I will give a talk for Justice Workers of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Community on The Bay of Quinte, Ontario.  In both talks, I will speak about the core values embraced when we live justice from a place of resiliency, respect, responsibility, and relationship. I will speak about Restorative Justice-Sawbonna. Sawbonna shares a rich kinship with the Mohawk word: Shekon. Both words are greetings in which the hello that is offered is a hello that comes from a place of seeing other and being seen by other. Both words address concern for wellbeing of other, and self in relation with other. Justice must be about wellbeing, even if we do not "like" each other. Justice must be about how we address our fears about crime and how we create opportunities to engage in being of service to our communities, societies, hence, our very selves. In reading David Daubney's Inaugural Lecture in the Steven Truscott Foundation Series, I was stuck by the vital reminder that each and every Canadian can choose to live from a place of living justice that does indeed speak the values of Shekon and Sawbonna. How can we do this? Simply, we must choose to never applaud the creation of fear and fear-mongering. We must choose to address how crime affects each of us, fully aware that it is not only what happens to us that matters, it is how we respond. Let us remember to respond from Shekon, from Sawbonna. Let us remember that no simplistic response to justice as a lived experience should deny our capacity to be compassionate, wise, and practical. Yes, practical. If we wish to be the change in the world we wish to see, we must remember that how we treat each other, matters. How we treat victims and offenders, is a reflection of how we treat our very selves. The value of responsibility as it relates to Shekon and Sawbonna is a powerful invitation to refuse to  be trapped in knee-jerk rhetoric, and specious pronouncements of "tough on crime." Let us rather be resilient, respectful, and cognizant that we are always in relationship:  in the private, the public, and the political spaces.  

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