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METRAC: Holistic Justice Zine

September 27th, 2012     by METRAC ReAct     Comments

Holistic Justice zine is the 2nd in a series of 3 zines addressing healing, justice and systems that support justice for young people.

This zine was made possible by the dozens of young people throughout the city who shared their ideas and stories with us - thank you to all of them. It is also the work of the ReAct Team, a passionate group of youth workers who want justice and peace for all.

Thank you to:

Asam Ahmad Helen Yohannes Angela “Ice” Musceo Keli Bellaire Najla Edwards

Young people experience a lot of physical, emotional, sexual, and verbal violence. But young people tell us that they rarely feel like they get support or justice: 77% of the youth we asked said they don’t think the justice system creates justice for young people. This isn’t ok with us. While it is important to change the system, we also know that a lot of people don’t trust it so we need to find ways outside the system of resolving and healing from our conflicts.

This zine provides space for young people to explore tools for self-advocacy as well as brainstorm what justice means to them.

“If there were no prisons, how would human beings respond to harm like this? Harm comes from prior harm. People harm others when they have been harmed themselves–by abuse, poverty, trauma–but prison does not address this prior harm. It only adds a new layer of trauma to that individual, their family, and their community. When you hurt a person, you hurt a bunch of people connected to that person. Therefore, prison not only harms inmates, but their families and communities as well. But what response to harm is fair to victim, perpetrator, and community? What can stop the cycle of violence?” Aparna Lakshmi, high school teacher

Holistic Justice zine is part “know your rights” handbook, with lots of helpful info on not just dealing with the police and court system, but also the school, workplace, shelter system and CAS. It also asks questions about what readers would add to their definition of rights.

What rights do you think you deserve? (page 27) I deserve the right to …. I deserve the right to …. I deserve the right to …. In a world with justice, youth would have the right to ________________. We would feel _____________ and _____________, and _______________ would not exist. Young people would say “____________________________________________” to the world! It would be a world where people would be treated with ______________________, no matter what their ________________ or _____________________. A world with justice would look like __________________ and sound like _____________. People would ________ _____ each other. In a world with justice, I would be ___________________.

Holistic Justice zine is also part workbook for those seeking justice:

People I would want to talk to and to support me on my justice path are (pg 29): ______________________________ ______________________________ ______________________________ Instead of taking revenge (hurting the person back), I could get my anger out by: _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ I would want direct contact with the person who hurt me: Yes, because ______________________________________ No, because ______________________________________ I would want to know the other person had learned a lesson like: _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ They could show me they had learnt something by: _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________ Being free would feel like: _________________________________________________ _________________________________________________

The zine also lets youth know of other groups who are interested in supporting them in their search for justice.

working with others

There are lots of organizations and community groups doing different work about justice for youth and other targeted groups. Check out the websites and/or facebook pages of these groups if you want to get involved (just google the name and you’ll find them!).

Justice for Alwy Justice for Junior Native Youth Sexual Health Network Toronto Stop the Cuts (look for the youth coalition, or a group in your community) Youth Justice Network (out of JVS) Some awesome groups in the United States: Project NIA The Campaign for the Fair Sentencing of Youth Critical Resistance INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence The Real Cost of Prisons

To download a digital copy of this zine, click here (PDF).

“Finding justice means admitting that something got to you; that the violence or crime you experienced is affecting you and you need to do something about this. Sometimes people are called weak for admitting this. But it’s “tougher to be vulnerable than to actually be tough.” Rihanna

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