VISION WJC envisions a world in which communities are healed, united, and transformed through conflict resolution education and restorative practices rooted in equity, justice, and opportunity.
MISSION WJC empowers people to strengthen their communities by growing the conflict resolution skills and capacity of youth, educators, schools, and community partners.
EMPATHY: We listen with open hearts and minds, willing to be moved to action.
EMPOWERMENT: We believe in and support the power of people acting individually and collectively to shape their lives and communities.
EQUITY: We dedicate ourselves to fair treatment, opportunity and advancement for all, because every person deserves the chance to pursue their innate human potential.
INCLUSION: We actively seek out, embrace, and elevate the perspectives and life experience of people of diverse backgrounds.
IMPACT: We hold ourselves accountable for making a difference, and we do it with integrity.
Western Justice Center (WJC) was founded in 1987 by a group of judges, lawyers, and civic leaders led by the Honorable Dorothy W. Nelson, senior judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. WJC’s founding members sought out innovative ways to handle conflict and by supporting the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques in and beyond the court system. Their aim was for WJC to serve as a thought leader, convener, and capacity builder in the field of conflict resolution education.
Conflict resolution education and practices are like preventative health care – an investment we make in our collective well-being that prevents problems from becoming acute and helps address them when they do. Conflict resolution education empowers people to resolve differences constructively; manage the expression of their emotions; de-escalate potentially explosive situations without violence; and, create opportunities for reconciliation. Conflict resolution practices like peer mediation and restorative circles create neutral space where empathy and collaborative problem solving can flourish. In recent decades, WJC has created a range of programs designed to reduce violence threatening students in school and community settings. These activities include: running and supporting peer mediation programs throughout the Greater Los Angeles Area, teaching conflict resolution skills to young parents through First 5 LA, facilitating community forums with local law enforcement, convening a Youth Mediation Summit for the City of Los Angeles, and creating School Tools, an interactive online resource for conflict resolution education geared toward grades 4-12.
In 2020, WJC enters a transformational new chapter of our history in which we will build on our roots in conflict resolution. We commit to advancing the use of restorative practices in our schools and to empowering youth to become agents of change in our communities. Through that work, we commit to addressing the disparate impact that traditional school disciplinary methods have on students of color; the increasing propensity of youth to respond to bullying, bias, and neglect by harming themselves or others; and, the negative impact of these combined ills on long-term behavioral and mental health outcomes. We make this decision with respect and humility for our place in a larger movement that is striving to move our society away from destructive methods of punishment and toward constructive investments in youth and community development.