Tricia Lenz' wisdom sings in the powerful words in the Introduction she wrote for my book, The Other Inmate: Mediating Justice-Mediating Hope, which is a poetry and workbook for restorative practices. Her sister was murdered. Like many who must journey in this horrifying terrain, Tricia chose to re-story her life, chose to negotiate the mine-field of emotions that became daily companions. She speaks of what it meant for her to meet the man who stole not only her sister's life, but his own, and that of many, many, many others. Tricia speaks about the necessity of restoring humanity. She writes:
"We lock up love because remembering hurts. We lock up questions because we have no visible answers. We lock up anger because we know too well its power to harm. But, this cuts off life, human connection - and hope. "Lock them up and throw away the key" is a phrase used to state an opinion about what to do with dangerous offenders. Ironically, this is often what happens to the victims and survivors in these situations where there is no alternative that values humanity and believes in restoration."
Sawbonna values humanity. Sawbonna believes in restoration. Sawbonna invites a myriad of ways in which conversations and concrete actions contoured in the values of respect, responsibility, and relationship can be lived. Sawbonna is for all manner of prison, "prisoner" and "victim." Sawbonna is an engagement with humanity.