YANG TONGYAN, IMPRISONED CHINESE WRITER and ACTIVIST, DIED WHILE ON MEDICAL PAROLE, his imprisonment a further blow to free expression

Photo from Yang Tongyan’s Facebook Page.

“Yang Tongyan was a peaceful champion of human rights and democracy, who made a huge personal sacrifice to stay true to his principles. The authorities feared the power of his writing and did all they could to silence him.He should never have spent a single day in jail let alone nearly half his life,” Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International.
.

News that Chinese writer and recipient of the 2008 PEN/Barbara Goldsmith Freedom to Write Award Yang Tongyan has passed away, less than four months after the death of Liu Xiaobo under similar circumstances, is a further devastating loss for free expression advocates around the world and a harsh reminder of how critics of the government are treated by Chinese authorities, PEN America announced Tuesday.

According to a contact at the Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC), Yang Tongyan passed away after being released from Nanjing Prison on medical parole in August 2017 following his diagnosis with an aggressive form of brain cancer. He briefly returned to his home in Siyang, Jiangsu province. Although he was sent to a hospital in Shanghai that specializes in neurological care to have brain surgery, his family were informed that, as he was a “criminal,” he would not be permitted to leave the country for treatment, according to Yang’s sister.

According to Amnesty International, “Yang Tongyan was months away from completing a 12-year prison sentence when he was released on medical parole. His conviction for ‘subversion’ in 2006 was based on his writings in support of political and democratic change in China. He previously served a 10-year prison sentence for criticizing the crackdown on China’s 1989 pro-democracy movement.”

“Yang Tongyan’s death, so soon after that of Liu Xiaobo, is another black mark on the Chinese authorities’ human rights record,” said Karin Karlekar, PEN America’s Director of Free Expression at Risk Programs.

Yang, who wrote under the pseudonym Yang Tianshui, was a brilliant writer, literary critic, and member of the Independent Chinese PEN Center (ICPC), an organization of leading writers working on free expression issues both inside and outside of China. He was known for his critical writings published on web sites such as Boxun.com and EpochTimes.com. His catalog of literary writing includes poems, short stories, essays, novels, and memos, many of which were written during his time in prison. In May 2006, after a three hour trial that was closed to the public, Yang was sentenced to twelve years’ imprisonment and four years’ deprivation of political rights by the Zhenjiang Intermediate Court in eastern China’s Jiangsu province, on charges of “subversion of state power” for writing dissident articles, and for his political activism. He had suffered from poor health for years, and had served eleven years of his twelve-year sentence before his family’s third request for medical parole was approved.

News of Yang’s death comes less than four months after Nobel Peace Laureate and notable writer Liu Xiaobo’s death in custody from liver cancer. Following Liu’s release from prison, the authorities also denied his wish to travel overseas to access high-quality medical treatment. Since his death and funeral, his widow, poet and painter Liu Xia, has been held at an unknown location and has had no contact with family and friends.

China’s extensive censorship apparatus limits freedom of speech both within and outside its borders. The situation has grown more alarming since President Xi Jinping took office in early 2013, with an increased crackdown on free speech and implementation of additional censorship laws and restrictions on the internet. Lengthy prison sentences have long been used in China to silence dissident voices, and many Chinese writers, journalists, and pro-democracy activists live in fear of censorship, harassment, and incarceration as a result of speaking out about sensitive issues.

*****

This feature is courtesy of Yang Tongyan’s Facebook Page, PEN America and Amnesty International

PEN America stands at the intersection of literature and human rights to protect open expression in the United States and worldwide. It champions the freedom to write, recognizing the power of the word to transform the world. Its mission is to unite writers and their allies to celebrate creative expression and defend the liberties that make it possible.

Amnesty International is a global movement of over seven million people who, under this umbrella, campaign for a world where human rights are enjoyed by all.

“Only when the last prisoner of conscience has been freed, when the last torture chamber has been closed, when the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a reality for the world’s people, will our work be done.” Peter Benenson, Amnesty International Founder

ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

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Poets Speak Out Against Gun Violence … responses to the last Wednesday Writing Prompt

In memory of Teresa Margaret Mahfouz, beloved sister. 


“On his back, Robert must have had time to see something beautiful, and not just the ugliness of a city street at the end of life. Even with the tremendous pain in his badly gutted belly he would have looked up beyond the fire escapes and the windows with their glittery trees and television glows, to the sky about the rooftops. A sky shimmery with the possibilities of death; lights exaggerated, the heavens peeled back- a swirling haze of nebulae and comets – in some distant place, intimations of the new beginning into which he would soon journey.” Oscar Hijuelos, Mr. Ives’ Christmas

The last Wednesday Writing Prompt, Dueling With Words to Stop Gun Violence, November 1,  was the gift of Evelyn Augusto, the poet who initiated an effort with the same name. Details are in that post. Clearly Evelyn’s passion comes out of personal loss and experience and she is not alone in this.  Gun violence – self-directed and other-directed – touches all our lives to one degree or another. In this collection I’ve included my own Girl in a Wooden Box, which was published on this site and elsewhere but bears repeating as a cautionary tale about depression and the abundance of and ease of obtaining guns and ammunition.

Thanks to Evelyn and to Lisa Ashley, Paul Brookes, Sonja Benskin Mesher, Kakahli Das Ghosh, Renee Espriu and Colin Blundell for participating in this prompt and taking a valued stand against gun violence.


His First Gun, A True Story

(For DJ)

His first gun was a .357. He was seven,
sitting in the front seat.
His cousin, Dwayne, 16, was driving.
His 5-year-old brother in the back seat.
It was a drug deal.
New Orleans.

Some guys wanted our stuff.
Dwayne always said,
“Shoot ‘em before you let them rob you.”
Pow, pow, pow!
Dwayne is hit in the head!
Grab the wheel!

Tried to stop the blood.
He stopped breathing.
We all had guns.
We couldn’t take him to the hospital.

We dragged Dwayne into the bushes
beside the canal
and left him there.
Later, we went back.
Only some brown stuff on the leaves.
He was just gone.

The dreams were really bad.
They went on for a long time.

I’ve been doing the negativity for a long time.
I told my mom I’m done with this.
I’m going to give my life to God.
And football.
I can’t be in here any more.
I need to be back in school and training.
I’ve always been good at sports.
My coach said I was a freak, I’ve got a lot of talent.
I can’t get my GPA up in this school in here.
We take stupid classes in here like “life skills.”
What’s that?

My cousin said it was family business,
I needed to do it for the family.
I was like 10,11.
I went to do the deal.
I took out some of the stuff,
showed it to the guys.
They wanted to see it all.
I told them only after I got the money.
They told me to get in the car.
They started to grab me.
I took out my gun.
Pop, pop, pop!
I ran.
They didn’t come after me.
I went home.
I stayed inside all night and all day.
I didn’t go to school.
I didn’t go out.

I sleep with my gun.
When I wake up I check it.
I put it on the toilet while I take a shower.
I put it in my pants when I’m done.
Then I go out the house.

People think gun violence is all about the adults.
It’s not.
It’s the teens that got the guns.
I know a 12 year old in here had a .50.
It was so big he could hardly handle it.
All the kids have guns.
One time I had so many guns
couldn’t fit them all in my backpack.
I have to protect my mother and my sister.
But I know no matter how many guns I have
something can happen.
Guns aren’t good.

But I feel safer when I have one.

When my mother came for a visit last week
I told her the next time she sees a gun
it will be registered.
The next time she sees money on me
it will be money from my job.
I’ll give her half.
I’m done with this shit.

© 2017, Lisa Ashley  (www.lisaashleyspiritualdirector.com)


Our Massacre

Always portray the killer as deranged,
abnormal, an aberration of society.

Their actions are not those of us
ordinary decent folk, though we arm

ourselves to the teeth with the same
firepower we are reasonable.

Their geography is not ours. We must
distance ourselves. This person

Is not an old friend, a neighbour.
They are a stranger who acts

strangely. We must stress, though often
this behaviour is rare, an anomaly.

We do not know this person
who kills our friends and neighbours.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

The Enemy

is a thing, not a person
you chat to, smile with,

laugh with, share your bairns
With. They are something

you respond to and at, not with.
Once seen as it they are easier

to kill, to make redundant.
Don’t worry if this is a symptom

of a psychopath. It is the others
that are mentally deranged, not you.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)

Guns Are (From A World Where 2)

good. Make you feel safe.
Make you more responsible,

like your own child. Nobody
hurts my child. I’ll shoot anyone

that does. My child needs
A decent education. Some shooter

Who wants to be famous kills
my little one in lessons.

I’m glad I’ve got my gun
so I can kill the shooter

and his family. Guns are good.
Make folk sit up and listen.

© 2017, Paul Brookes (The Wombwell Rainbow, Inspiration, History, Imagination)


..97 the acting..

presume it was. walking

the lane, looked back,

boys in black, turn,

suddenly run shooting.

shouting. turn,

do it all again,

again. i turn,

all i see is heat haze.

we have four dead now.

© 2017, Sonja Benskin Mesher  (Sonja Benskin Mesher, RCA and Sonja’s Drawings)


#An octopus of black smoke#

You love violence
You love bloodshed…
A perpetual war you fought
in an endless night…..
Where lies bravery while you kill innocence…
When your loud laughter
ruptures ailing hearts..
Your firm stick beats flimsy backs…
You are courageous
when the other stands before you with
tender eyes and limp knees…
You are rich when the other is bankrupt.
Have you ever thought that a spiral knot of bankruptcy ..
an octopus of black smoke is approaching to you..
Your throat would be choked
Your breathing would be amiss..
The faint one you desired to distract has also a garden like you
Where flowers flourish Colorful butterflies fly
Humble bees buzz every day and night..
How many jewels have you grabbed
How many rivers of peace have flown through your chest
Being so aggressive..
Now a cloud of languish is nearer to you
A fear of being lost is chasing you..
Your garden may demolish by his musket …
Now its not a face to face war
Its a revenge of mass killing Numerous bloody rivers
would be created ..
You are unknown of it
You are unaware of this new bloody horror
You are ignorant of losing your lovable birdhouse…
If you kenned that…
you never did grab that firegun
Never became a witch bloodthirsty.

© 2017, Kakali Das Ghosh


Guns Are Not the Path to Peace

The child found what looked like a toy
but when a way was found
to fulfill curiosity

found their friend
lying dead at their feet

guns are not the answer to feeling secure
left lying within the reach of
innocence

she was about her morning
preparing breakfast
on yet another Valentine’s Day

when she heard a gunshot
fill the air
and looking ’round

found her husband
of many years crumpled
in the doorway

dead…a gun in his hand

guns are not the answer to depression,
to problems seemingly
having no answer

Leaders of the world always disagreeing
make plans for larger armies
to carry more guns

to kill more people who are caught
in the cross hairs

guns are not the answer to solutions
for forcing others to agree
to another countries’ ideas

guns are not the path to peace

© 2017 Renee Espriu  (Renee Just Turtle Flight and Inspiration, Imagination & Creativity with Wings, Haibun, AR, Haiku & Haiga)


Girl in a Wooden Box

packing
my blue bag
pocketing
my lipstick
turning my back
to Brentwood

I’m on my way home.

Brooklyn beckons
as it always did
as it always does
Hudson River
city parks
a cacophony of languages
a melting pot

She’s on her way too.

by air
not track

her trunk
packed
by strangers
shipped

light
with flip-flops
a blouse
a skirt
poor
practical
that would be her

Occasionally I’d seen her laugh.

I’m
on my way
train grumbling
wheels screeching
town
upon town
Flatbush- a hub
and my stop

and there was my aunt
and there was my mother
and there was the news

Teresa Margaret
is on her way home
shipped
from Florida
on a DC10

stored
along with her trunk
a girl in a wooden box
in a cargo hold

a poor cold girl
Colder bullet in her head.

© 2017, Jamie Dedes


And this addition to the post from Colin Blundell:
Jamie: I notice that I’m 23 minutes late with this! I was stumped with the prompt, sound though it is! I can only think that the world will only change when individuals decide to make a difference. Fifty years ago I signed the Peace Pledge Union pledge: ‘I renounce war and refuse to support or sanction another…’ Anybody who supports the possession of guns and threatens others with bombs is, in my book, just a bloody idiot and I note that the world is full of them, from Trump & Co to the latest shooter…
For a few days I have contemplated posting this bit of irony:
*
I don’t like to admit my views in public
because there’s too much – far too much –
for public people to attack:
you see I’m a vegetarian anarcho-pacifist
I’m vegetarian
because I believe in a fair deal for cows
I disapprove of kings
while bombs & guns scare me
(Easter 1965)
*
23 minutes too late!
© 2017, Colin Blundell (Colin Blundell, All and Everything)

 


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

DUELING WITH WORDS TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE: Wednesday Writing Prompt


Given the media reports on the U.S., you might think we are the only ones with gun violence problems. Unfortunately we are not alone.  According to a Global Burden of Disease study in 2013, firearms were the cause of 180,000 deaths worldwide, up from 128,000 in 1990.  Approximately 47,000 were unintentional.

 “The death toll from small arms dwarfs that of all other weapons systems — and in most years greatly exceeds the toll of the atomic bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In terms of the carnage they cause, small arms, indeed, could well be described as ‘weapons of mass destruction’.” — Kofi Annan, UN Secretary-General, March 2000

According to the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, there are many countries that surpass United States in gun violence. These are largely in the Caribbean and Central America,  the result of gangs and drug trafficking.

A recent feature in Forbes Magazine reports that annual firearm-related deaths in the Philippines are 9.46 per 100,000 and 9.41 per 100,000 in South Africa. According to Kaiser Foundation the U.S. is at 11.1 per 100,000.

“From 1979 to 1997, almost 30,000 people in the United States alone died from accidental firearm injuries. A disproportionately high number of these deaths occurred in parts of the United States where firearms are more prevalent.” Wikipedia

The presence of guns in households and the ease of acquiring guns contribute to the numbers of successful suicides. In fact, my sister died from a self-inflicted gun-shot wound to the head. She was twenty-seven and I was thirteen. It’s been fifty-four years but I have never stopped wondering how and where she acquired a weapon and how she learned to use it.

“There are more than 875 million firearms in the world, 75 per cent of them in the hands of civilians. Guns outnumber passenger vehicles by 253 million, or 29 per cent. Each year about eight million new small arms, plus 10 to 15 billion rounds of ammunition are manufactured — enough bullets to shoot every person in the world not once, but twice.The authorised international trade in small arms and ammunition exceeds US $7.1 billion each year.” GunPolicy.org (hosted by the Sydney School of Public Health)

ACCORDING TO THE GENEVA CONVENTION ON ARMED VIOLENCE AND DEVELOPMENT:

  • More than 740,000 people have died directly or indirectly from armed violence – both conflict and criminal violence – every year in recent years.
  • More than 540,000 of these deaths are violent, with the vast majority occurring in non-conflict settings.
  • The annual economic cost of armed violence in non-conflict settings, in terms of lost productivity due to violent deaths, is USD 95 billion and could reach as high as USD 163 billion – 0.14 percent of the annual global GDP.

“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” Mother Teresa

Today, for Wednesday Writing Prompt, we tackle gun violence. In concert with poet Evelyn Augusto of Dueling with Words to Stop Gun Violence, I ask you to bare witness and to do the work of raising the communal consciousness of this critical issue, especially the consciousness of those who feel the need to carry guns, those for whom a gun is part of their identity. This is the first time I’ve invited a guest to post a prompt and I do so because Evelyn has made a commitment to this cause.  You can read more about what she’s doing HERE.

– Jamie Dedes

Photograph courtesy of Tony Webster under CC BY 2.0.


“537 children under the age of eleven have been killed or injured by gun violence in the United States this year alone, according to Gun Violence.org.” Evelyn Augusto


U R Not Your Gun

(For Shaun)

You are: The sound of your mother’s voice calling your name and your father’s
chance for a better life–not his,
but yours, because it’s too late for him,
but not for you…not yet, unless you forget

U R Not Your Gun.

You are your greatest fantasy and
someone’s best friend and another’s
first love. You are shelter
from the storm.
You are memory and risk and reward.
You are tougher than your
disappointments, you are kinder
than you imagine, you are everything
that child you once were
wanted to be and more. But

U R Not Your Gun–

not grey and cold and lifeless.
Not unforgiving like that. Not hollow or predictable. Not dangerous.

U R Not Your Gun. You are someone
I can love.

© October 2017, Evelyn Augusto for GUNS DON’T SAVE PEOPLE POETS DO… 


WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT

Write a poem…post a poem….Stop gun violence.

If you feel comfortable, leave your work or a link to it in the comments section below. All work shared on theme will be published by The Poet by Day next Tuesday and also on GUNS DON’T SAVE PEOPLE, POETS DO…DUELING WITH WORDS TO STOP GUN VIOLENCE . Anyone is welcome to take part in Wednesday Writing Prompt no matter the status as a poet: beginning, emerging or established. You have until next Monday at 8 pm PST to respond.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY

 

THE GOOD WORKS of poets and their allies …


When I started The Bardo Group, now The Bardo Group Beguines (publishers of The BeZine), back in February 2011, I had in mind the human union in sacred space (common ground) as it  is expressed through the arts and the sharing of work that is representative of universal human values however differently they might bloom in our varied religions and cultures. I feel that our art and our Internet-facilitated social connection offer a means to see one another in our simple humanity, as brothers and sisters, and not as “other.” They also offer a means to get some other good things done.

I have written about:

  • English poet and musician, John Anstie and the Grass Roots Poetry Group, that was founded through Twitter friendships and that published a collection to raise funds for UNICEF;
  • Dorothy Yamamoto, a poet and editor who brought a group of A-list English poets together to create a collecton, Hands & Wings, to raise funds for the rehabilitation and support of torture victims seeking protection in the U.K.; and,
  • Silva Merjanian who – along with her publisher – has donated procedes from the sale of her collection Rumor to fund assistance for Armenians escaping violence in Syria. The last time I spoke with her $5,000 was raised.

You can read about these three efforts HERE.


Today I’d like to bring three more initiatives to your attention:

  • Evelyn Augusto’s “Guns Don’t Save Live, Poets Do,Dueling with Words to Stop Gun Violence;”
  • Jazz singer Candice Hawley’s “Let’s Talk About it,” a free and open discussion of Anxiety and Depression; and,
  • Rev. Terri Stewart’s Peacemaking Circles for Seattle’s incarcerated youth. Terri is the founder of The BeZine’s sister site, Beguine Again, and a member of the zine’s core team.

“537 children under the age of eleven have been killed or injured by gun violence in the United States this year alone, according to Gun Violence.org.” Evelyn Augusto

Evelyn asked me to share information on her project  (I’ve included some info in a few Sunday Announcement posts). 

  • She is available to come and speak at high schools and to youth groups;
  •  She’s encouraging more people to write and post poems on gun violence;
  • She will be presenting at Rise and Resist for Sensible Gun Safety on November 2 in Oneonta, New York;
  • She has a collection of poems coming out shortly;
  • Her Facebook page – Dueling with Words to Stop Gun Violence –  is HERE.
  • To arrange a speaking engagement connect with Evelyn at poetsoul@gmail.com

Your Gun Is Talking

Excuse me, I can’t hear you–
your gun is speaking
louder than you do

and yes, you scare me,
it isn’t how it ought to be–
we are more like each
other than you can see

I can’t hear you
I can’t hear you
your gun is speaking louder
than you do

and yes, it saddens me
because all I see–
is a woman who doesn’t know
who she could be

I can’t hear you
I can’t hear you
your gun is
speaking louder
speaking louder.

There’s no more you.

© Written by Evelyn Augusto for Guns Don’t Save People, Poets Do. October 21, 2017


courtesy of openclipart.org

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT: Special for our Silicon Valley/South Bay friends, a workshop hosted by Jazz Singer Candice Hawley as part of her church’s Good Works Project: Let’s Talk About It is a free and open discussion of Anxiety and Depression, Chemical Imbalances and overall Mental Health. Candice says, “you’ll hear stories of lived experience, see a presentation by Tanya Pekker, MFT, on anxiety and depression, engage in a Q&A with all participants and more . . .”  Saturday, October 28, 10 am – Noon, Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula, Moldaw-Zaffaroni Clubhouse, 2031 Pulgas Avenue, East Palo Alto, CA. Register HERE.


courtesy of Terri Stewart

Note: Among other things, Terri Stewart and colleagues are holding peacemaking circles with youth who have been picked up on possession of firearms.  Recently the success of these circles was acknowledged by the Seattle Times HERE.

The July issue of The BeZine covered prison culture and restorative justice. Learn about peacemaking circles in this excerpt from July’s The BeZine. 

JUSTICE IN NEW-OLD WAY

by

Terri Stewart

Rev. Terri Stewart, Associate Pastor at Riverton Park United Methodist Church

Today, we sat in the King County Youth Service Center lobby that had been turned into a courtroom for the sentencing of one of the youth we have been working with. I am a member of the King County Peacemaking Coordinating Team (PCT). We apply the principles of Peacemaking Circles, an ancient process taught to us by the Tagish and Tlingit First Nation people to modern court cases. A new-old way.

Today, we heard from the judge, the prosecution, the defense, the PCT…and then the respondent (person who did harm) spoke. And then the victim’s mother spoke.

We were all blubbering and sniffling by the end of it. But not because it was hurtful. The tears were because of the witness of transformation and hope. To see a genuinely healed person extend their hand to honor the victim. To see the victim’s family stand up and say, “Do more of this.”

There are some flaws to work out but that is because we are human. And this process is all about becoming more completely human.

In this particular case, the respondent had committed felony harassment. This charge on a juvenile record could irrevocably alter his future. It would limit his housing, loans, educational opportunities and more. I don’t know if we really understand what we do to juveniles when we hang felonies around their neck during a time in their life when their brain is not fully formed. But I digress.

I remember the mother of the victim looking at the respondent and saying (paraphrase), “It is so good to see you this way. Before, all I had as an image of you was the threat on social media where you had a gun and were threatening my boy’s life. You were scary. Now you are human.”

During the Peacemaking Circle process that took about 8 months, we discovered how similar the respondent and victim were. They were both from homes going through divorce. They both loved photography. They were both kids being sunk by the social systems around them. One responded by acting out. The other by withdrawing. In this case, working towards healing the family systems healed the crime. It helped everyone remember that they were human. And that we are all human.

I share below with you the recommendation from the PCT and the joy in a complete dismissal of charges against the respondent. (I’ve removed the names of the young people involved).

Can I get an Amen?!

Summary and Final Recommendations for Referral #4

July 7, 2017

Good afternoon, my name is Safia Ahmed and I am a member of the King County Peacemaking Coordinating Team. I have the honor of speaking on behalf of the team to share the work that has been done in this case and our recommendations for sentencing.

To begin, the Peacemaking Coordinating Team would like to honor and thank the victim and his family who gave their courageous support for this case to be referred. Their support and willingness to participate was instrumental in this restorative process to promote healing and partnership between King County, community based organizations, faith based communities, and the youth, families and communities of King County.

We received a referral for the respondent’s case on October 11, 2016 from Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jimmy Hung. A home visit was conducted with the respondent and his family to determine the suitability of this referral for the Peacemaking Circle process. In addition, a home visit was also conducted with the victim and the victim’s family to share an overview of the Peacemaking Circle process, answer any questions and gain an understanding of what level of participation in the Peacemaking Circle process they may want to have.

After completing both home visits, the Peacemaking Coordinating Team accepted the case. The following summarizes the work done since accepting the case in December 2016 until July 1, 2017.

Five Healing Circles with the respondent, the respondent’s family and community members who wanted to show support. Each circle was on average 3 to 4 hours long. These circles were to promote healing, peace and reconciliation and as preparation to meet with the victim and the victim’s family since they indicated their openness to actively participating in the Peacemaking Circle process.
The respondent and his parents participated in an all-day community circle with King County Executive Dow Constantine and other King County leaders on March 11, 2017.
The respondent’s mother attended a 3-Day Introductory Peacemaking Circle Training from April 26-28, 2017
One Pre-sentencing Circle and One Sentencing Circle that included the presence of the victim’s mother along with criminal justice stakeholders; friends and family from both parties.
Approximately 8 hours of check-ins via phone and text with the victim’s mother and her family, keeping them apprised of the respondent’s progress with the Peacemaking Circle process.
Ongoing check-ins with the Criminal Justice stakeholders involved in the respondent’s case, keeping them apprised of the respondent’s progress.
One home visit and approximately 20-25 hours of check-ins via phone and text with the respondent over the course of 7 months.
The following outline was agreed upon in the Sentencing Circle as a conclusion to this case:

Reimbursement to the victim’s family for 8 of the 12 counseling sessions the victim partook in for self-care and healing work. Each session cost $120 for a total of $960
2 sessions paid by the respondent
3 sessions paid by the respondent’s family
3 sessions paid from funds provided by the community and the Peacemaking Coordinating Team
The respondent’s father kindly agreed to show support to the victim and the victim’s mother by offering to pay for a trip as an opportunity to spend time with each other to rebuild their relationship along with having a positive experience coming from the respondent and his family.
In addition the Peacemaking Coordinating Team also recommends the following:

6 months of volunteer work with the Peacemaking Coordinating Team as a way to give back and pay it forward that includes:
Attending the Peacemaking Coordinating Team meetings once a month
Participate and help lead a monthly Young Men’s Circle in support of other young people who are going through similar situations.
The respondent, with the support of his brothers and parents, has agreed to these recommendations as a way to heal the harm he has caused to the victim, the victim’s family and to the community at large.

The Peacemaking Coordinating Team would like to conclude our review and recommendations to this case by again expressing our heartfelt gratitude to the victim and the victim’s family who graciously permitted the respondent and his family to participate in the Peacemaking Circle process even while contending with the harm inflicted by the respondent’s actions. It is our belief that their generosity and commitment to restorative practices have given space for the healing process to begin for both families. We would also like to express our appreciation to the court, our criminal justice partners and the community for the continued support of our work.

Shalom and Amen,

Terri Stewart

Currently Terri is raising money for the King County Peacemaking Teams.  As I write this $1,555 of $2,000 has been raised. Details and to donate link HERE.


ABOUT THE POET BY DAY