On Our Terms is rooted in knowledge created in and through a rich constellation of healing and movement work: the Indigenous practices of people across the globe that have shaped our understanding of restorative justice; the abolitionist organizing of past and present that encourages us to imagine and build the world we want to see; and many intersectional struggles for liberation, including Black Lives Matter, queer and trans liberation movements, disability justice movements, anti-imperialism and anti-colonialism, the fight for educational justice—the list goes on. We are grateful for all of these teachings and our hope is that this work is in conversation with these broader movements, and that we are able to contribute in our small way.
On Community Values
During the On Our Terms Summer Institute, we co-created community values that would guide how we would share space as an intergenerational and diverse (in every sense of the word) group of youth, educators, parents, and activists. Together, we built a set of community values that emphasized respect, generosity, flexibility, love, and joy. These values guided every one of our meetings with each other, and became the basis of how we eventually led focus group discussions with students, parents, and school staff.
As you explore this site and learn more about On Our Terms, please know that you are entering into an ongoing conversation. On Our Terms is a community project, and we ask that you use this website and the lessons it holds in the spirit of our collectively created community values, as they have been tweaked for this website.
- Respect one another and the space: The stories and ideas on this website came from real, complex people who were generous and brave enough to share their personal experiences and perspectives with us. Explore this site in the spirit of curiosity and “active listening,” and try to put aside your assumptions. It’s okay if you don’t agree with everything (and you almost certainly won’t!).
- Hold space for feelings, healing, and joy: Some of the stories could bring up tough emotions or memories–others will make you laugh or feel hopeful. In the spirit of restorative justice, we hope that you’ll let yourself explore all of these feelings and connect with others in your community to work through those emotions together. If you want to dig deeper into these conversations in your community, check out the Community Conversations Toolkit.
- Generosity, with boundaries: You might find yourself feeling upset about certain stories or challenged by certain ideas. As you explore, we encourage you to find your own balance of sitting with some discomfort to really engage with these ideas and stories, and tending to self-care and paying attention to your limits. And remember, you don’t have to take it all in at once!
- Dare to dream & imagine! There are so many beautiful examples of what youth, their parents, and educators are already doing to transform schools, and we hope they leave you feeling inspired–but we hope they also get you thinking. There is no one way to build more restorative, healing-centered schools, and we encourage you to use this project as a spark for imagining and dreaming up new ways of doing school.