March 17, 2021
A RESTORATIVE JUSTICE PROGRAM FROM THE LOS ANGELES CITY ATTORNEY'S OFFICE
"Justice will not come because someone bestows it. It will come because we make it happen."
- Mike Feuer
Los Angeles City Attorney
Message From Mike
Visual: City Attorney Mike Feuer sits on a piano bench with his back to a shiny piano talking directly to the camera.
Hi. I’m Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer.
With so many crises colliding now against a backdrop of deep division, this is an extraordinarily challenging time. But I believe we can emerge stronger than ever because we’re more deeply committed than ever. To racial justice and institutional reform, to finding the common ground of mutual respect and understand and empathy. To doing the sustained work necessary to make our society more equitable and more just. A place where Black lives really do matter.
In this most significant moment, I’ve asked you to join us by participating in a series of really unique conversations between demonstrators and law enforcement and others. I’m anticipating an authentic exchange of views with a lot of listening, as well as a lot of talking. And I’m looking forward to tangible ideas that we can translate – together – into action.
Even as we engage each other, we also need to look within. And so I’ve named an exceptional member of our staff, attorney Heather Aubry, to be my Special Assistant City Attorney. Heather is going to be the General Counsel to the newly created Department of Civil and Human Rights. And she’s going to serve as our Equity Officer, looking internally within our office on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion. Even as she focuses externally for opportunities for us to engage on litigation and legislation and community action.
At the same time, we are deepening our already significant commitment to Criminal Justice Reform. Our office is setting up panels on issues that range from alternatives to incarceration to police accountability. I am so proud that more than 120 members of our staff have volunteered to participate in these panels. What a testament to their commitment to justice!
As we begin this next phase of our work, I want to focus again on that word, “justice.” It’s not going to come because some bestows it on us. It’s going to come because we make it happen. Because we make this world more just, together.
I really appreciate your participation with us in these very significant conversations that we’re about to inaugurate. Thank you. I’m really looking forward to it.
F A Q
WHAT IS COMMUNITY VISION CONVERSATION (CVC)?
The CVC is one of our Office's responses to urgent calls for justice, reform of law enforcement and other institutions, the elimination of systemic racism, and more, following the killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and so many others.
We hope to provide a safe space for our participants to fully express themselves about these issues—and really listen to each other—as we strive for meaningful change, mutual respect, healing and reconciliation. These conversations are important in themselves, but we intend to go beyond talking about these crucial issues. We hope to take what we learn from our participants and translate those lessons into action that serves our community. The time for that action—to take steps toward tangible and long-lasting change—is now. Only then can we truly, authentically, emerge as a stronger and more unified community.
WHEN WILL I VIRTUALLY ATTEND?
We will be sending out a survey in circulation to determine the best day and time of the week that works for all participants.
WHO WILL BE PARTICIPATING?
Our office sent thousands of letters inviting those who were arrested by LAPD while protesting in response to the killing of Mr. George Floyd who did not engage in acts of violence, looting or property damage. We have also invited local business owners whose businesses were affected by the demonstrations as well as LAPD Officers. In addition to providing a forum for participants to express themselves, we are also using the CVC as an effort to begin to build a sense of community by bridging gaps and finding some common ground so that we can all build a better Los Angeles. If you fall into one of these categories and you are interested in participating, please email the CVC team.
WHERE WILL IT BE HELD?
In light of COVID-19, the first CVC will be held remotely. Participants will receive a link to the meeting and be able to participate, but maintain a social distance from other participants.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER I ATTEND?
In a nutshell, what's said here stays here, but what's learned here leaves here.
We are sensitive to your privacy and will not make any of the personal information shared during the CVC public. However, we will use the information we learn from the CVC in general to make the changes necessary. We don't just want to talk about the problems and have it end there, we need to learn from all of you so that we can develop and grow to better serve our community.
I'VE TOLD YOU I WANT TO PARTICIPATE. NOW WHAT?
Once you confirm that you are interested in participating, you should receive an email confirmation from us. You will receive further communications from us regarding details for the CVC at the same email address, so please use an email address you check regularly to receive further details.
WILL THIS BE RECORDED? OR SHARED WITH THE PUBLIC?
No! It is imperative to our Office to create an environment that fosters transparency and openness to really maximize the effectiveness of the CVC. The things shared by all participants will be kept in strict confidence and not used against any of the participants whatsoever.
HOW CAN I GIVE FEEDBACK TO THE CVC TEAM?
Please also feel free to continue to reach out to email the CVC team with feedback. There may be more than one CVC event, so we welcome all constructive feedback to be serve our community.
Glossary (Courtesy of Project Listen)
An ally is any person that actively promotes and aspires to advance the culture of inclusion through intentional, positive and conscious efforts that benefit people as a whole.
The act of working against racist systems and policies.
Prejudice toward one group and its members relative to another group.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
A political and social movement originating among African Americans, emphasizing basic human rights and racial equality for black people and campaigning against various forms of racism. Abbreviations: BLM, B.L.M.
The means by which we can measure Socio economic conditions in the community. All community indicators should be disaggregated by race if possible.
Investments in contracting, consulting and procurement should benefit the communities in Los Angeles County, proportionate to its demographics.
To deprive (someone or something) of human qualities, personality or dignity.
The resulting condition we aim to achieve in the community.
A social group that shares a common and distinctive culture, religion, language, history and customs.
Biases that people are unaware of and that operate consciously. They are expressed directly.
Biases people are usually unaware of and that operate at the subconscious level. Implicit bias is usually expressed indirectly.
Bigotry or discrimination by an individual based on race.
Policies, practices, and procedures that work better for white people than for people color, often unintentionally or inadvertently.
The act of not being racist but is complicit towards systemic racism.
A preconceived judgment or opinion. An adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.
Performance measures are at the county department or program level. Appropriate performance measures allow monitoring of the success of implementation of actions that have a reasonable chance of influencing indicators and contributing to results. Performance measures respond to three different levels:
Quantity- how much did we do?
Quality- how well did we do it?
Is any one better off?
A mix of these types of performance measures is contained within the recommendations.
A social construct that categorizes people based on physical characteristics and ancestry to justify inequitable distribution of resources and power.
Eliminating race-based outcome gaps so that race cannot predict one's success and improving outcomes for all. This approach centers those who are worse off and moves from a service-based approach toward focusing on policies, institutions and structures.
Outcome gaps between people of different races based on historical or current factors or structures that benefit White people more than people of color. We occasionally use "equity" or "inequity" as shorthand for "racial equity" and "racial inequity," but only when the full phrase has just been used. While it's tempting to shorten for brevity's sake, it's more important to be explicit.
Refers to unconscious biases we have about people of other races that affect our decisions and actions.
Something conforming to a fixed or general pattern, especially a standardized mental picture that is held in common by members of a group and that represents an oversimplified opinion, prejudiced attitude, or uncritical judgment
A history and current reality of institutional racism across all institutions, combining to create a system that negatively impacts communities of color.
A state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress be- comes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence, and leaving the stress inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium.
A location of structural advantage, of race privilege. Second, it is a ‘standpoint,’ a place from which White people look at ourselves, at others, and at society. Third, ‘Whiteness’ refers to a set of cultural practices that are usually unmarked and unnamed.
Refers to the individual and systemic advantages afforded to White people by virtue of them belonging to the dominant ethnic group in society.
That the workforce of Los Angeles County government reflect the diversity of Los Angeles County residents, including across the breadth (functions and departments) and depth (hierarchy) of Los Angeles County.
Research and Resources
Just Peace: Creating a Container for Conversation
Libraries Transforming Communities: Community Conversation Workbook (PDF)
United Way Campaign for the Common Good: Community Conversation Workbook
U.S. Department of Justice: Community Dialogue Guide on Race (PDF)
Grassroots Economic Organizing: Key Facilitation Skills - Durable Containers for Hard Conversations
Claremont Lincoln University: Making a Generative Container? 6 Important Questions You Need to Ask
Search for Common Ground: Community Dialogue Design Manual (PDF)
American Hospital Association: Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities Toolkit (PDF)
Government of Botswana Ministry of Local Government & Rural Development: Community Capacity Enhancement through Community Conversations (PDF)
Application of the Community Conversation Enhancement Methodology for Gender Equality in Namibia
Racial Equality Tools: Dialogue and Deliberation
Intergroup Resources: Let's Talk About Race
Continuing Courageous Conversations Toolkit (PDF)
Restoring Racial Justice (PDF)
The McDonough County Voice: Racial & Restorative Justice Requires Discomfort
The Opportunity Agenda: Ten Lessons for Talking About Race, Racism, and Racial Justice