Beyond Incarceration webinar series: Create

How do we imagine and bring about alternative systems?

United States — Mar 2023

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Speakers included Olivia Chase, transformative/restorative justice practitioner, Colette Payne, director of the Women's Justice Institute Reclamation Project, and Cesare Robinson, Assistant Director of Intervention (Bronx Office) with Common Justice. The conversation was facilitated by Daryle Brown, founding board member of Nehemiah Trinity Rising.

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Olivia Chase is a transformative/restorative justice practitioner and trainer experienced in the design and facilitation of skills transfer in restorative justice philosophy and praxis.  Olivia specializes in family reunification conferencing and peace circles with system-impacted individuals and families, as well as culture and climate programming with faith-based and community-rooted entities.

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Colette Payne is an organizer, leader, student, mother, and grandmother. Her passion is to educate families to build healthier communities. In 2020, she was appointed to serve as the first Director of the Women’s Justice Institute (WJI) Reclamation Project, the first initiative of its kind in Illinois to be led by-and-for system-impacted women. In this role, she is leading the launch of an innovative Reclamation Center in the Pilsen Arts Corridor that will serve as the Reclamation Project’s home for arts and advocacy, mutual support, healing and connection, community building and leadership development among women with lived experience.

In 2015 Colette joined the WJI’s historic delegation to conduct a Gender Informed Practices Assessment (GIPA) of Logan Correctional Center, the largest and most complex prison in Illinois, and becoming the first formerly incarcerated woman to serve in this role in the entire United States. Colette has appeared on television and spoken at conferences, churches, and universities, and provides expert testimony before legislative committees. She has received several awards for her leadership, including Claim’s JoAnn Archibald award (2013), the Jane Adams Center for Social Policy and Research Community Leadership Award (2015), Safer Foundation’s Carre Visionary Award (2018) and the Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW) 2020 Impact award for her dedication to improving the lives of women and girls in the Chicago area. 

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Cesare Robinson is the Assistant Director of Intervention (Bronx Office) with Common Justice. Before joining Common Justice, she was a program director at the Youth Shelter Program of Westchester, a residential alternative to incarceration program for young men. During this time, Cesare had the opportunity to interface with all the young men who chose to participate in the program, which provided year-round schooling, cultural/community immersion, as well as family reunification. Cesare completed her Master of Social Work and LMSW exam during this time. Cesare was born and raised in New York City, however, she briefly left to complete her Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Virginia State University. Immediately after the completion of her degree, Cesare began to work in the social service field where she immediately realized the service disparities and the representation of people of color in all the systems that she interfaced with. This work was the beginning of her trajectory as a change agent and advocate for those who are underrepresented.

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Daryle Brown, MDiv, is a Restorative Justice practitioner and a founding board member of Nehemiah Trinity Rising, a restorative justice practice. He has been an active member of Trinity United Church of Christ's Prison Ministry for the past 23 years and during that time formed The Next Movement, an interfaith committee to "evangelize, organize and strategize" around the issue of ending mass incarceration in America. One of the projects of The Next Movement, was the (In)Justice for All Film Festival, where he served as festival director from 2014 to 2021. In 2011, Daryle joined the staff of Trinity United Church of Christ as the Exec. Director, Multimedia and Communications, responsible for their Akiba Book Store, print shop, marketing and media relations efforts, social media, as well as all sanctuary technology and broadcasts of services. In January of  2022, Daryle transitioned to the position of Director of Social Justice (and IT) at Trinity UCC. Daryle is in his sixth year as a member of the Community Renewal Society, and currently serves as the board chair. He also serves as the servant leader for the Justice and Witness Ministry of the Chicago Metropolitan Association of the Illinois Conference of the United Church of Christ. In May 2022, he graduated from McCormick Theological Seminary with his Master of Divinity and has plans to research and write about the intersections between restorative justice, indigenous concepts of justice, and biblical justice constructs.