Community Engagement for Urgent and Innovative Alternatives to Violence in our Streets

Our project stands at the intersection of state sponsored violence by police officers and the despairing internalized violence by gangs. Our approach for healing trauma is based on the principles of Restorative Justice.  We facilitate direct interactions between police and community, through safe open reciprocal dialogue, and we seek to empower oppressed communities to speak directly to those in power.

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Not This Time sees open, respectful, and continued communication--based on a foundation of education, trust, and self-empowerment--as the key to reducing violence. Personal interaction like this makes it possible to break through stereotypes and humanize a perceived adversary. Victims of trauma (who often inflict trauma on others) are rarely afforded the opportunity like this, to reflect on internalized fears and identify the deep-rooted external factors that perpetuate the dynamics of violence, and to attain restorative justice. We provide self-investment and authentic repair without judgment.

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Not This Time’s weekly meetings take place in the Central District of Seattle at the Seattle Vocational Institute. This school and neighborhood are long associated with the African American community in Seattle. Our meetings are built upon a practice of mutual trust and mutual respect garnered through continuous weekly interaction providing a safe forum for dialogue free from judgment or harmful criticism. This forum builds a bridge of communication which leads to action for constructive civic engagement; which is why we believe this similar approach will work to engage in humanizing and healing the cycle of trauma, ending tragic loss of life.

This innovative approach of understanding and compassion has the potential to disrupt the systems that currently profit from cycles of violence through use of deadly force and mass incarceration, to one that encourages civic engagement and constructive change the community demands. We dismantle barriers the status quo perpetuates to keep the oppressed and oppressors in their respective corners.

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