How it began.
Welcome to Conflict Confidential.
I’m really missing people. I need human contact. I thrive on it. But no duh: during the pandemic so many of us are missing people, craving connection.
So I’m starting this newsletter in hopes of looking outward at *pointing back and forth* you people, instead of more winter navel gazing at *jazz hands* this person. I want this newsletter to unearth a deeper sense of connectedness for myself, and for you. But even though I’m maybe making this sound like it’s gonna be a big written hug, what I’m actually intending is to explore human disconnect. Conflict. How things break apart within us and between us.
Yet I am also intrigued and inspired that we as people can evolve. We grow. We repair. We reconnect. I’ve spent some time during lockdown pursuing a greater understanding of restorative justice and the potential for conflict resolution. So I wanna talk about it, share what I’m absorbing with you. Because all of this has to do with people. People and problems. I’m so curious about people and their problems. Aren’t you?
My perspective is steeped in years of working in the criminal justice system as a public defender in Brooklyn, New York. In conversations with clients I often catch myself taking a mental snapshot of the unique moment where my life is intersecting with theirs. What are we giving to each other? Where are we sitting? What are we saying? What is this connection leading to?
So I’m gonna channel that to tell stories of former clients and their conflicts, identities protected of course because of confidentiality. I’ll share other stories too (personal and anecdotal) about friendship conflicts, romantic or parenting woes, work drama, societal and internal strife. I am going to interview folks I admire who work in various fields that foster human connection, or who have experienced conflict that shook or reinforced their sense of humanity. I’m probably gonna reference self-help books and link articles. I’ll describe sitting in restorative justice circles. Expand perceptions of the alternative dispute resolution world. Share YouTubes, TikToks. Maybe throw in a meme? I’ll learn about myself; we’ll learn about our collective selves.
If you subscribe to this thing we can explore together what people are about. How conflict unfolds. How people get stuck, really stuck, or emerge and find themselves on the other side. Feels promising. Hope you’ll join me.
For a nice warmup to thinking about conflict and connection, this little video by The Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley encapsulates where we are as a society atm. Sure, we’re beginning a noticeably different era post-election. But we’re very much still at an inflection point. I’m trying to stay optimistic.
In this newsletter I’ll be trying to explain what Restorative Justice is exactly, that sexy buzzy new term being thrown around as a solution to all of society’s unrest. Thing is, it is a good solution, when it’s done right. We’ll definitely get into it. But in the meantime, here is what Restorative Justice isn’t.
Yay thank you so much for reading this first email! I’m really hoping I stick with it. But discipline and letting go of expectations is always a struggle for me, maybe you can relate?
I wanna hear about conflict! Something currently going on with you we can muddle through together? A tense situation you’re proud of how you handled? Email me!
Think someone else might be into this? Please share!