Community-based approaches to safety rely on individuals and resources within a community – such as a group of friends, student group, or neighborhood. Different from punitive approaches to safety, the community-based approaches listed below do not rely on alienation, punishment, systemic violence, or incarceration.
Community Accountability: A process in which a community work together to transform situations of harm. This can also describe a process in which the community recognized that they are impacted by violence even if it is primary between individuals, that they may have participated in allowing the violence to happen or even causing the violence, and are responsible for resolving the violence.
Restorative Justice: aims to repair harm by engaging community members and restoring community balance by calling on shared values, principles, and practices of accountability. Most restorative justice practices are rooted in or adapted from indigenous practices in the U.S, Canada, and New Zealand.
Asks: Who has been harmed? What are their needs? Whose obligations are these? What are the causes? How did the community and larger societal factors allow or encourage this to happen?
Transformative Justice: Phrase used to describe an approach to and processes for addressing harm that seeks to not only address the specific situation of harm in question but to transform the condition and social forces that made such harm possible. Sometimes used interchangeably with community accountability.
Asks: How are we working toward/affirming safety, healing, and agency of the survivor(s); accountability and transformation for those who abuse; a community response and community accountability; a transformation of the social conditions that created and perpetuated these instances of harm?
Restorative Justice Community Action is a local organization that is dedicated to enhancing offender accountability and involving citizens in the justice process. The organization facilitates restorative justice through community conferences that give a voice to those affected by crime including victims, offenders, and community members.
Ways you can get involved as a community member:
Como Cares is a neighborhood initiative to foster community care in a new approach to safety in Southeast Como. The initiative emerged from conversations about the lack connection among Southeast Como neighbors, especially between homeowners and student renters. The group discovered a shared desire for a resource of neighbors who meet needs and care for each other.
Interested neighbors can get involved at any level such as meeting attendance, volunteer work, or leadership. Please visit this website for more information and contact information.
The Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective coined the term "pod" to expand the language around community work because people have varying concepts or access to “community.” Some define community by geographic location, identity, values, practices, and/or relationship. This can make the idea of a “community response” to violence vague or confusing.
Pod people are those who support our safety, accountability, transformation, and collective healing and resiliency.
The Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective found that while people felt connected to a community at large, their significant and trustworthy relationships consisted of few actual people who may or may not be part of that community. When harm happens, people often turn to a trusted friend, family member, neighbor, or coworker. These are the people who make up their pods.
Pod mapping is the process of identifying our pod people. It is not uncommon for most people to have 1 or 2 people in their pod. People may have 0 people in their pod, especially when starting undergrad. It is not a popularity contest, rather, a chance to reflect on the our relationships with the deep trust, reliability, and groundedness we need to respond well to violence.
1) Start with a circle in the middle of a sheet of paper. This circle is you.
2) In surrounding circles, write the actual names of people in your pod.
3) Surrounding your pod, use dotted circles to write the names of people who are "moveable." These are for people that could be moved in to your pod, but need a little more work. For example, you might need to build more relationship or trust with them. Or maybe you’ve never had a conversation with them about prisons or violence.
4) In larger circles at the edge of the page, write networks, communities, or groups that could be resources for you. It could be the Aurora Health Center, Student Counseling Services, a neighborhood organization, or a student group.
Download the The Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective's worksheet or draw circles on a piece of paper as shown here.
For more information about pod mapping, please visit The Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective website or watch Podmapping Exercise Explained.
Trouble with roommate or landlord? The Student Conflict Resolution Center is available to students resolving campus-based problems or concerns. Make an appointment or visit their website for tips on:
Remember that conflict is normal and healthy.