Associated Initiative

Transformative Justice and the University--Panel discussion

Monday, May 3rd, 2021
Dara Bayer
Xhercis Méndez
4:00pm-5:30pm CDT

Zoom presentation: registration required

Event Description

REGISTER HERE: https://illinois.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_imL5eGW2R-axpDp3kF3HIw

As part of the historic uprisings for racial justice in Summer 2020, students, workers, and community members have called on universities and colleges to abolish campus cops, reallocate resources into life-affirming institutions, and rethink our broken approaches to communal safety and justice. Key to these shifts is the movement from punishment to transformative justice, which seeks to address harm and prevent violence by cultivating “healing accountability, resilience, and safety for all involved.”

This panel discussion brings together transformative justice activists and practitioners who work in university settings. What possibilities exist for transformative justice in the university? What new opportunities and horizons for justice emerge when transformative justice principles are given the types of institutional support and resources currently invested in cops? How can ordinary students, workers, and community members build transformative justice into their relationships with each other?

Other panelists include students Xochi Cartland and Camila Pelsinger from Brown University. Sarah Colomé (Director, Women's Resource Center) will moderate.


Dara Bayer

Dara Kwayera Imani Bayer is a social justice organizer, educator, and visual artist, who is passionate about building interconnected and self-determined communities through Transformative and Restorative Justice philosophy and practices. She graduated from Brown University with a B.A. in Africana Studies and Visual Art in 2008 and has worked as a humanities teacher at a visual and performing arts high school, and most recently as a Restorative Justice Implementation Coach in several Boston Public Schools. In both these roles she focused on developing holistic, democratic, and equitable educational environments that supported the aspirations and needs of all members of the community, particularly young people. Her grassroots community based work has focused on anti-racist organizing, environmental justice, Palestine solidarity, and the liberation of political prisoners. Dara is interested in bridging inner, interpersonal, and structural transformation both in and out of institutions.

Xhercis Méndez

Xhercis Méndez is the founder of The University TJ Project, which offers consultation and facilitation services to universities seeking an intersectional and transformative justice approach to relationship violence and campus sexual assault. She is currently a consultant at Michigan State University where she trains teams in assessing university resource gaps and identifying strategic sites of intervention for conflict resolution and healing. In addition to serving as a facilitator when conflict arises among team members, she works to develop best practices for responding to relationship violence and sexual misconduct in various colleges, departments, and units through the development of community values, toolkits, and adaptable accountability models. Her work seeks to expand the healing and accountability options available to and for a diverse range of survivors.

She is currently an Assistant Professor in Women & Gender Studies and Queer Studies and an affiliated faculty of African American Studies at California State University Fullerton. She is an organizer, activist, transdisciplinary scholar, and decolonial feminist whose research focuses on developing decolonial feminist practices and methodologies for expanding our liberatory imaginations and building towards transformative justice.