Conference brings restorative justice ideas to Fresno

Center for Peacemaking

A speaker with a nationwide reputation and a film with an international scope are among the highlights of the ninth annual Restorative Justice Conference at Fresno Pacific University.

The conference, "Building the Restorative Community," will be October 25-26 on the campus at 1717 S. Chestnut Avenue. The event is sponsored by the university's Center for Peacemaking and Conflict Studies.

The film, Long Night's Journey into Day— South Africa's Search for Truth and Reconciliation, will be shown at 7 p.m. October 25 in Ashley Auditorium in McDonald Hall. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Long Night's Journey into Daydramatizes how South Africa struggles to deal constructively with its Apartheid past through the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission led by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The film begins with the story of Amy Biehl, a Stanford University graduate and Fulbright scholar, who was an American anti-apartheid advocate in South Africa and was murdered by a black youth strictly on the basis of her skin color. Post-apartheid, Amy's California parents, Peter and Linda, made the journey to South Africa to be part of the truth and reconciliation process and come to terms with the death of their daughter.

Long Night's Journey into Daywon the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival. The New York Times has described it as "a beautiful and often disturbing reflection on the nature of truth and forgiveness." For Archbishop Desmond Tutu, it is "an impressive, heart-rending film."

Featured plenary speaker at the conference will be Dan Van Ness, executive director of the International Center for Justice and Reconciliation located in Washington, D.C., a program of Chuck Colson's Prison Fellowship International. Van Ness is a leader and author on restorative justice, and has long been active in the field, both nationally and internationally.

Conference sessions will feature what is happening in restorative justice locally, across the state and around the world. Workshops will focus particularly on building the restorative community in Fresno, schools and faith groups.

The conference fee is $80, which includes a Saturday conference luncheon. A pre-conference training in Restorative Justice is also available on October 24, the day before the conference. That fee is $35.

For more information on all conference activities, contact CPACS at 559-455-5840.


Wayne Steffen
Associate Director of Publications and Media Relations