Dr Elizabeth ElliottDeath for me is a reminder to live. I am sad and reflective with the passing away of colleague and friend Liz Elliott on Sept 9th.

I first met Liz in the early 90s as doctoral students at Simon Fraser University. She already had vast experience and went on to become a professor and founding director of the Centre for Restorative Justice at the university. She impacted many many lives, including through her work in prisons. Many learned of restorative justice and went on to become advocates because of her classes and passion.

One of Liz’s gifts to us and part of her legacy is her scholarship. Her book, “Security with Care: Restorative Justice & Healthy Societies” was just published this year. This is an excellent book; full of stories, theoretical discussion, research and challenging questions.

Security with Care: Restorative Justice & Healthy Societies by Liz Elliott I feel moved to highlight some of her words of wisdom. Liz invites us to reconsider punishment, understand justice, and appreciate the broader vision of restorative justice in theory and practice:

    “The purpose is to introduce the paradigm of restorative justice and to challenge some of the key assumptions we hold about conflict and its transformation in order to understand the many dimensions of RJ.” (p.211)

Restorative justice is a paradigm, not a program, and is not solely actualized within criminal justice. “Restorative justice as peacemaking is activated through value-based responses to conflict… Do we practice what we preach? How might we respond to conflict in ways that model the values of a peaceful society?” (p.105)

It’s about democracy, community, relationships and learning. “The adage that we learn by experience is not exactly true – we learn by reflecting on experience. Restorative justice processes create environments in which reflection on experiences of an event can help everyone affected to learn and grow.” (p.104)

Liz is such an invitation; she lived large, spoke her mind, was thoughtful, connected to her heart and always contributing.

    “we all have a responsibility to make the world a better place, even (and perhaps especially) when the going gets tough…Values are the touchstones that inform how we want to be in the world, as individual people and as citizens in a collective… RJ affords us the values to consider and the processes that provide integrity to the values” (p.124)

She has passed the torch on to us.

    “I learned that the problems were much deeper than a flawed criminal justice system and that our work needed to begin in our relationships with each other and the natural world and, most importantly, with ourselves.” (preface)

So I am revisiting questions. Am I living up to my full potential? What further contribution can I be to bring about change and to leave a worthy legacy? Thanks Liz. You are missed.