Our First Restorative Neighbourhood Initiative Launches!

Within the longer-term goal of becoming a Restorative City, the Restorative Collective came to a consensus to also create restorative neighbourhoods. Hastings Sunrise was chosen to begin and a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by three lead agencies – Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House, Hastings Sunrise Community Policing Centre, and Peace of the Circle.

We celebrate a grant from the City of Vancouver and from the Civil Forfeiture Grant Program, Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General, that allowed us to launch this project!

Local Peacemakers Training

A fabulous cohort of individuals has been chosen to become peacemakers and started their training! The aim is to build capacity to respond effectively to local issues, conflicts and crime. Their training will take place over a few months, including on conflict resolution, effective communication skills, trauma, Indigenous teachings, and peace circles.

Training began with four sessions about conflict resolution facilitated by Raj Dhasi. These dynamic, informative sessions focused on:

  • Self-awareness & self-regulation
  • Understanding unconscious bias and privilege in facilitation
  • How to keep your cool as a facilitator; trigger management
  • Navigating intense emotions
  • Core skills and putting it all together

Raj Dhasi is a private consultant and expert in conflict resolution, as well as a faculty member at the Justice Institute of BC. She made conflict resolution an accessible human experience.

Thank you Raj for your depth of experience, wisdom and being part of our inaugural journey!

The second training series was four generative, immersive sessions led by Norm Leech. This series focused on understanding trauma, developing skills and implementing practices through an Indigenous worldview. Norm provides land-based, body-centred, cultural approaches. He also reveals the impacts of colonization and leads us to decolonizing. These sessions were very impactful, personally and professionally.

Norm Leech is a Restorative Collective founding member, Executive Director of Frog Hollow Neighbourhood House, and Co-Chair of Metro Vancouver Aboriginal Executive Council. Norm grew up in East Vancouver and is from the T’it’q’et community of the St’at’imc Nation. Thank you Norm for your tremendous wisdom, experience, generosity and loving guidance!

Thanking all the beautiful, brave folks coming together to learn, share, laugh, cry, heal, practice and commit to peacemaking. This group looks forward to their next training where they will learn about Peace Circles with Dr. Evelyn Zellerer. Stay tuned as our incredible journey continues!

Creating our Restorative City Framework

Our Coordinating Restorative City Team and Restorative Collective are immersed in collaboratively writing a Restorative City Framework. It will be presented to Mayor & Council in the new year.

The Framework describes ways restorative approaches can be implemented across the city and offers various recommendations. There are subsections about Indigenous laws & relations, a citywide restorative justice program, restorative neighbourhoods, centre for healing, justice & peace, policing, education, libraries, and more!

The Framework gets stronger and stronger as more people and organizations have been collaborating with us. This important work is fostering relationships and partnerships, as well as providing practical guidance as we are implementing our emergent vision.

The development of this Framework is a generative, expansive, complex, long project and it’s own journey! Stay tuned for its release.

Restorative City included in City of Vancouver Strategic Priorities

We are thrilled that Mayor & Council voted unanimously to include Restorative City initiatives as a key part of Objective 5 – Safety and Security within their Strategic Priorities 2023-2026!

We are grateful for the continued support of Council, City staff, the Restorative Collective, and our Coordinating Team; it takes a village.

And thanks for bringing joy to work in dressing up for Halloween at City Hall!

Our Largest Restorative Collective Circle so far

The Restorative Collective met in our largest Circle so far, with over 40 leaders from across different sectors committed to Vancouver becoming Canada’s first Restorative City. We gather with food, sharing updates, exchanging knowledge, building relations and making choices.

We were honoured to welcome Joan Phillip, our newest Member of the Legislative Assembly for Vancouver-Mount Pleasant, and respected Indigenous leader who has dedicated her life to fighting for justice, human rights and the environment. Thank you Joan for sharing your encouragement and support for this initiative!

Also joining our Circle were two special guests from the international team of SafeGrowth, founder Greg Saville and Mateja Mihinjac from the EU. Following our Collective meeting, many of us attended the SafeGrowth Summit to learn and build relations. Our second neighbourhood getting ready to launch an initiative, Strathcona, is choosing SafeGrowth for it’s first project. Stay tuned!

We look forward to hosting our next gathering.

Inaugural Vancouver Police Training

Celebrating our inaugural training for the new Restorative Complaint Resolution initiative of the Vancouver Police Department!

We applaud police officers from the Professional Standards Section who came together with curiosity and openness to learn and move forward with implementation. A special thank you to Staff Sergeant Carla Baker and Inspector Mike Ritchie for their leadership. Some public complaints against police can now be resolved restoratively.

This training was facilitated by Dr. Evelyn Zellerer and Norm Leech.

Another powerful step forward in our bigger vision of becoming a Restorative City

Partnering with the Province

Thank you Premier David Eby and Assistant Deputy Minister Jessica Prince for meeting with Restorative City Coordinator, Dr. Evelyn Zellerer.
Thank you Hon. Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, for meeting with Dr. Evelyn Zellerer and Norm Leech.
We appreciate your acknowledgement and support for our transformative initiative. We look forward to further conversations, collaboration and partnering with the Province.

Dr. Evelyn Zellerer Receives Restorative Justice Award

Extraordinary news – Dr. Evelyn Zellerer was honoured with the Restorative Justice Award 2023 by the Ministry of Public Safety and Solicitor General!
The nomination in part read: “As the founder of Peace of the Circle, Dr. Zellerer is a justice and peacemaking innovator offering space for people to have forward focused conversations to create change, using the energy of conflict to generate peace.

She is a visionary who in times of great unrest, continues to believe in humanity. She is the embodiment of activated hope, and all of us within the Collective are here voluntarily because she took the first step. Every positive change begins with one person, this is Evelyn.”

Join us in extending our congratulations and gratitude for Evelyn’s dedication, immense work and big heart.

Come to our Book Launch

You are invited to the launch event for an upcoming publication:

“A Journey around Restorative Cities in the World: a travel guide”, with European Forum for Restorative Justice.

This publication features 9 cities, including a chapter on Restorative City Vancouver co-written by Dr. Evelyn Zellerer and Norm Leech.

January 12, 2024
8:00-9:30 am PST
Free, online via Zoom
Details and register here

Restorative Wishes

As we come to the close of 2023, our phenomenal team with Peace of the Circle will be pausing to prioritize restorative time so we can continue strong through 2024. Our office and emails will be closed December 22, 2023 to January 8, 2024.

From our hearts to yours, we wish you a restorative holiday season!

May peace be created everywhere.