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Speaker dedicated to making restorative justice part of everyday life

October 30th, 2019

Jasmyn Story

International restorative justice practitioner Jasmyn Story, Birmingham, Ala., makes a return visit to Bethel Nov. 7-8.

Story will give the KIPCOR Peace Lecture Nov. 7 at 7 p.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium in Luyken Fine Arts Center on the Bethel campus. KIPCOR is the Kansas Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution, Bethel’s peacebuilding institute.

Friends of KIPCOR are invited to help support the institute, and also enjoy a more intimate setting in which to hear from Story, at a special dinner to be held Nov. 7 before the lecture at Kaufman House, where the KIPCOR offices are located.

Freewill donations (a minimum of $30 per person suggested) will be accepted. Reservations should be made by calling 316-284-5217 or through the KIPCOR website, kipcor.org

Jasmyn Story’s first visit to Bethel came in March 2018 when she was a keynote panelist and workshop presenter for the first-ever statewide restorative justice conference, that KIPCOR hosted on the Bethel campus.

Sheryl Wilson, KIPCOR executive director, first met Story in 2015 at the biennial conference of the National Association of Community and Restorative Justice (NACRJ).

Story had just finished her undergraduate degree in anthropology at Skidmore College. She had received a scholarship to attend the NACRJ conference, which she did just before heading off to University College London (where she completed an M.A. in human rights).

Story was a student at Skidmore of Wilson’s restorative justice colleague David Karp. When Story came to Bethel in 2018, she was working with Karp as assistant director of Skidmore’s Project on Restorative Justice.

Currently, she is deputy director of the Office of Social Justice and Racial Equity in the office of Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin.

Story told an interviewer earlier this year, “Birmingham serves and the cradle of the civil rights movement, and I am blessed to be part of this history” (Story is originally from Birmingham).

“Our goal is to take the tools, accomplishments and guidance of our elders to transform the city into a beacon of human rights in the southern United States. … We are dedicated to integrating restorative justice into the systems that our citizens interface with throughout their day to day.”

Story’s Peace Lecture is entitled “From the Deep South to the World: What Social Justice Can Tell Us Today.”

“I wanted to choose [a Peace Lecturer] who could speak to our students,” Wilson said. “I thought when I heard Jasmyn [at the restorative justice conference here] last year, ‘I want to bring her back.’”

In addition to speaking at the conference, Story joined Karp for a convocation about their work using restorative justice to address sexual violence.

Story will be doing a Bethel convocation this time as well, speaking Nov. 8 at 11 a.m. in Krehbiel Auditorium.

“She has an infectious connection,” Wilson continued. “We’re going to look back on this time and say, ‘We had her here at Bethel when…’ I think she’s pretty amazing.

“Her story will probably be wide-ranging, and we shaped her lecture through that lens. She’s studied in London, where she did her master’s degree. She started a nonprofit, The People’s Coalition. She’s worked in higher education.

“She’s done a cutting-edge kind of restorative justice – she has a strong social justice practice around social equity.

“We want our students to connect to her, to see her life in the ways they see her own. As a woman of color at a predominantly white college in a predominantly white community [Skidmore, in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.], her story resonates with that of many students of color.”

Bethel is a four-year liberal arts college founded in 1887 and is the oldest Mennonite college in North America. Known for academic excellence, Bethel is the highest ranked Kansas private college, at #12, in Washington Monthly, Top 200 Bachelor’s Colleges; ranks at #23 in U.S. News & World Report, Best Regional Colleges Midwest; is Zippia.com’s highest ranked Kansas small college with the highest earning graduates; has the #10 RN-to-BSN program in Kansas according to RNtoBSN.com; and earned its second-straight NAIA Champions of Character Five-Star gold award, based on student service and academic achievement, all for 2019-20. For more information, see www.bethelks.edu

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.