RJ for Collective Liberation: Intergenerational Partnerships for Just and Equitable Schools

November 09, 2022


In this webinar, RJ practitioners Evelin Aquino, Anita Wadhwa, Heather Bligh Manchester - authors of The Little Book of Youth Engagement in Restorative Justice - discuss their intergenerational work toward creating systems change for more equitable schools. Alongside alumni from school based RJ movements, they will discuss how youth engagement in restorative justice must involve partnering with young people most impacted by structural injustice as changemakers in all aspects of restorative practices including community building, healing, and the transformation of institutions. 


Date: Wednesday, November 9th, 2022
Time: 1:00 - 2:00 pm PT


Online via Zoom
Note: This event is held via Zoom Webinar and will be recorded. A link to the Webinar will be distributed via email to registrants prior to the event.


Evelín Aquino

Evelín Aquino is a longtime organizer/educator/trainer/dancer with over 35 years’ experience of being in Circle with elders, peers, youth leaders, and community. Committed to education for liberation, her work is grounded in love and relationships, while providing imaginative spaces for youth and adults to think critically - as they co-create just and equitable schools and communities. She was the Assistant Director at Pa’lante Restorative Justice in Holyoke and continues on their Advisory Board. She is also a board member of the Encampment for Citizenship. Evelín is a Boricua/Dominicana graduate of UMASS Amherst. She is deeply inspired and guided by the youth of today (especially her beloved children), family, her ancestors and elders (especially her father).
She lives in Hadley, Massachusetts.

Heather Bligh Manchester

Heather Bligh Manchester is an educator, trainer, and connector with over 30 years of experience facilitating leadership and community engagement programs and infusing theater, games, and movement into restorative justice in rural and urban settings, including the Oakland Unified School District. She partners with youth and adults to create spaces for meaningful engagement to build equitable and resilient communities locally and internationally. Heather coaches organizations to work in partnership with young people as trainers, researchers, and policymakers. She has a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies, with a focus on Youth Participation in Peacebuilding, from the University of Ulster. Rooted in family, nourished by travel, she thanks the stories that guide her.

Anita Wadhwa

 A native Houstonian, Anita Wadhwa is descended from Punjabi refugees and owes everything to her parents, husbands, and two lovely girls. She has been in education in 2001 in various roles such as English teacher, In School Suspension teacher, Dean of Students, and Restorative Justice Coordinator. She is the author of Restorative Justice in Urban Schools: Disrupting the School to Prison Pipeline and The Little Book of Youth Engagement and Restorative Justice. She co-founded Restorative Empowerment (or REY) and hires former students to train organizations in Houston in restorative practices. 

Youth Voices:

Leslie Lux

Leslie Lux is a current student at the University of Houston. Currently, she has four years of experience in Restorative Justice, In which she was the Headteacher Assistant of the Leadership class during her senior year at YES Prep Northbrook High School. She would develop lesson plans and manage a class of 14 students along with 4 other Teacher Assistants and introduce lessons such as the School to prison pipeline, Self-care, Privilege, etc. She Trained at the University of Texas at Austin and held space for adults to talk about Implicit Bias.

During the pandemic, Leslie continued to hold circles and collaborated in providing tips for Youth-Led Virtual Circles for those who need guidance in holding space as we move to an online setting. She was the opening keynote at the Restorative Justice in Education conference where she presented what Restorative Justice is and how it helped her in becoming the best version of herself.


The purpose of this book is to illuminate a theory of youth engagement in restorative justice that seeks to create systems change for more equitable schools. The authors define youth engagement in restorative justice as partnering with young people most impacted by structural injustice as changemakers in all aspects of restorative practices including community building, healing, and the transformation of institutions. Based on Adam Fletcher’s version of the Ladder of Youth Engagement, coupled with Barbara Love’s model of liberatory consciousness and an analysis of youth engagement in Restorative Justice in three different regions—Western Massachusetts, Oakland, and Houston—the authors provide a theoretical contribution: Youth Engagement in Restorative Justice grounded in liberatory consciousness.


Purchase: Amazon


Community Guidelines:

Our community guidelines are intended to ensure the safety of all speakers and participants, and to foster honest, socially accountable dialogue during our session.

  • Above all, there will be zero tolerance for those who promote violence or discrimination against others on the basis of race, ethnicity, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, religious affiliation, age, or disability. Anyone who incites harm towards other participants (whether through chat, video, audio or otherwise) will be removed at the discretion of our moderator.
  • Don't assume pronouns/gender/knowledge based on someone's name or appearance.
  • Please refer to people using the usernames and/or pronouns they provide.
  • Take space, make space: share your perspective, and make space for other voices to be heard too. Recognize that we are all here to learn 
  • Practice self-care in whatever way you need to. If you need to get up or take a break, please do so.