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What If We Choose To Do It With Love?

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Is there another road to justice for Trayvon? by Werth Media

As just one example, consider the tragic death of Trayvon Martin: What would it look like if we chose to look at it with love? Would we spend a little more time focusing on our grief and sadness -- for a young life lost, for a slighter older one disrupted? Might we collectively grieve the injustice of a society in which Black boys and men are disproportionally seen as criminals, not only by the public but also by those whom we entrust to protect our safety?  Would we be able to access compassion for both Martin and Zimmerman simultaneously? Could we see each as both fully responsible for his choicess and as the products of a society that is, in many ways, infused with a racial hierarchy and defined by racial stereotypes? Would we imagine a different form of justice for all involved?

No, love is not all we need, but we do need it. Let's follow in the footsteps of Gandhi, King, Wiesel and so many others who made this discovery much earlier.  Let's do our activism without compromise but with compassion. Let's do it with love.


1 This sentence about our shared humanity and the M.L.King quote that follows were added 7/28/2013, following several valuable comments from my PsySR colleagues. More generally, this essay was inspired by a PsySR retreat on race and its contents have been shaped by many contributions from multiple individuals at the retreat.


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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License .

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Mikhail Lyubansky, Ph.D., is a member of the teaching faculty in the Department of Psychology at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where he teaches Psychology of Race and Ethnicity, Theories of Psychotherapy, and a graduate-level restorative justice practicum based at a youth detention center. An autobiographical essay of Mikhail's interests in race relations and basketball is available here.

Since 2009, Mikhail has been learning, facilitating, evaluating, and supporting others in the U.S. in learning about Restorative Circles, a restorative practice developed in Brazil by Dominic Barter and his associates. In addition to conflict and restorative practices, Mikhail also has a long-standing interest (going back about 20 years) in race and (more...)

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