2013 Conference

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The 15th annual Urban Initiatives Conference explored restorative practices, which address community interests between and amongst people who experience conflict and harm. As a philosophy and healing practice, restorative justice seeks harmony through the development of common understanding between people, with a focus on problem-solving for the future rather than establishing blame for past behavior. Practitioners adopt restorative practices as a philosophical approach to increase trust levels in order to build healthy relationships that support a pro-socially functioning sense of community. Restorative practices are usually implemented with three fundamental goals in mind: repair harm, restore relationships, and build community.

Through a day of discussions and workshops, national experts Carl Stauffer and Kay Pranis and local voices informed attendees about the principles, methods, and applications of restorative practices and demonstrate how they are being used to build better communities.

Opening Plenary

Dr. Carl Stauffer

Breakout Sessions

Restorative Practices 101
Paul Dedinsky and Sarah Kubetz

Restorative Practices in Domestic Violence Settings
Moderator: Kay Pranis
Panelists: Carmen Pitre, Terri Strodthoff, Michele Wink

Restorative Practices in Community and Neighborhood Settings
Moderator: Joe Kubisiak
Panelists: Rev. Carol Heglund, Dae Hill, Ron Johnson, Officer Raymond Robakowski

Restorative Practices in Educational Settings
Moderator: Dena Radtke
Panelists: Elizabeth Lingen, Kathy Masch, Heather Sattler, Jeremiah Owen

Afternoon Plenary

Kay Pranis
Using Restorative Practices for Community Building

Afternoon Discussion

Arno Michaelis and Pardeep Kaleka
Transforming the American Dream


Our exciting group of presenters informed participants about the principles, methods, evidence, and applications of restorative practices toward building a better community through a day of discussions and workshops.

Carl Stauffer


Dr. Carl Stauffer teaches Justice and Development Studies at the Graduate Center for Justice and Peacebuilding, Eastern Mennonite University, Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Stauffer was born and raised amidst the war in Vietnam. In 1975, his family fled Vietnam and moved to the Philippines just as the Marcos regime was beginning to crumble. After completing his university education in 1985, Stauffer worked in the Criminal Justice and Substance Abuse fields. In 1991, Stauffer became the first Executive Director of the Capital Area Victim-Offender Mediation Program in Richmond, Virginia. In 1994, Stauffer and his family moved to South Africa under the auspices of the Mennonite Central Committee (MCC), a faith-based international relief and development agency. In South Africa, Stauffer worked with various transitional justice processes such as the Peace Accords, Community-Police Forums, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Local Community Development structures. From 2000 to 2009, Stauffer was appointed as the MCC Regional Peace Adviser for the Southern Africa region. His work has taken him to twenty African countries and ten other countries in the Caribbean, Middle East, Europe, and the Balkans.

Stauffer’s academic interests focus on narrative studies, restorative/ transitional justice, and post-war reconstruction and reconciliation. His research concentrates on the critique of transitional justice from a restorative frame, and the application of hybrid, often parallel indigenous community justice systems. Stauffer is married to Dr. Carolyn Stauffer who teaches Sociology at EMU, and is the proud father of two university-aged children. He enjoys worship, the Arts, nature, a good dose of humor and cruising on his motorcycle.

Kay Pranis

Kay_1Kay Pranis teaches and writes about the dialog process known as ‘peacemaking circles.’ Kay learned about peacemaking circles in her work in restorative justice in the mid-90s. Her initial teachers in the circle work were Barry Stuart, a judge in Yukon, Canada, and Mark Wedge and Harold Gatensby, First Nations people of Yukon. Since that initial exposure to the use of peacemaking circles in the justice system Kay has been involved in developing the use of peacemaking circles in schools, social services, churches, families, museums, universities, municipal planning and workplaces.

Kay has authored or co-authored several books about circles: Peace making Circles – From Crime to Community; The Little Book of Circle Processes – A New/Old Approach to Peacemaking; Doing Democracy with Circles – Engaging Communities in Public Planning; Heart of Hope – A Guide for Using Peacemaking Circles to Develop Emotional Literacy, Promote Healing & Build Healthy Relationships.

Kay works primarily as an independent trainer in the peacemaking circle process. She is also an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University, Eastern Mennonite University and Southwest Minnesota State University.

Kay has a particular interest in the use of circles to support social justice efforts addressing racial, economic, class and gender inequities. That interest includes the use of peacemaking circles to understand and respond to historical harms to groups of people. The peacemaking circle process has been a source of energy, inspiration and continuous learning for Kay for the past 15 years.

Arno Michaelis

Arno Michaelis is one of the local voices at the 19th Annual Urban Initiatives Conference, Restorative Practices: Repairing Harm and Building Communities. The conference is presented by the UWM Center for Urban Initiatives & Research and The Medical College of Wisconsin.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Arno Michaelis was a founding member of what went on to become the largest racist skinhead organization on Earth, a reverend of a self-declared Racial Holy War, and lead singer of the hate-metal band Centurion, which sold 20,000 CDs by the mid-nineties and is still popular with racists today. Single parenthood, love for his daughter, and the forgiveness shown by people he once hated all helped to turn Arno’s life around, bringing him to embrace diversity and practice gratitude for all life. Today Arno is a speaker, author of My Life After Hate, and very fortunate to be able to share his ongoing process of character development. Arno enjoys spending time with his daughter, art, music, and all forms of fearless creative expression, along with climbing things, being underwater, and the wonderful natural beauty of our planet Earth. Learn more athttp://mylifeafterhate.com

Pardeep Kaleka

Pardeep Kaleka is one of the local voices at the 19th Annual Urban Initiatives Conference, Restorative Practices: Repairing Harm and Building Communities. The conference is presented by the UWM Center for Urban Initiatives & Research and The Medical College of Wisconsin.
Pardeep is the eldest son of Satwant Singh Kaleka – the president of the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin, who was gunned down during the attacks of August 5th, 2012. Being a former Milwaukee Police Officer and a current teacher in the inner city – Pardeep is no stranger to the never ending battle against violence, racism, bigotry, and ignorance. His firm belief is that the lamp of knowledge and truth will outshine all the darkness in the world, and does his best to profess this through his work with Serve 2 Unite. Pardeep grew up in Milwaukee and graduated from Marquette University.