My name is Rick Abrams. I am the Programs Manager at Vantage Pointe. Vantage Pointe is a philanthropic organization guided by a vision of “a community united by our differences.”
It’s a paradox that our differences can be the very source of our unity. We tend to think the opposite. But difference isn’t only inevitable. It’s most often desirable. Difference, in fact, should be shared. Whether the difference is belief, religion, opinion, background, sexual orientation, race–difference is meant to be embraced.
I’m a Red Sox fan. How dull would that be without the Yankees. My wife is a Tar Heel. I went to UVA. She is a southern Baptist. I’m a northern liberal, and an agnostic. You could not make up vaster differences between two people. And yet, they are the qualities we cherish in one another.
I think the coronavirus has figured this out. We need to be united. We can’t wait to get back to our ball games, our movie theaters, our shows, our picnics and what have you. But consider all the conflicts and and strife that drive us to these.
At Vantage Pointe we serve that universal need to share, and maybe even to delight in, our differences.
It is hard to see that a child’s running afoul of the law is a difference that would unify. And yet, when adults think back on their mistakes, they regret them, certainly, but they also realize how much they learned from them. They are better because of them.
This blog is dedicated to exploring how the reality of difference underlies the practices of restorative justice. We don’t condemn these children for their mistakes. Enough of that already happened before they come to us. Instead, we empower them. That doesn’t just make them better. That makes us all better.