Dear Cathie and Larry,
Congratulations on producing A Healing River. It is a remarkable resource. Most of us present restorative justice in terms of its intrinsic value or its beneficial outcomes. You have gone further. By weaving the film around the theme of our connectedness, you have presented restorative justice in the context of its raison d'être. And I am impressed by how effectively you have used reflections, quotations, and visual transitions to spin this central thread.
The film is a treat for the eyes, the ears, and the heart. I hope A Healing River reaches a wide audience. It can give newcomers an introduction to restorative justice and why it matters, but also has enough layers for groups who want to explore the concept more deeply?-whether in restorative justice training workshops, prison-based study groups, or university courses. The film can help (re)ground practitioners in the underlying purpose of their work, and it challenges all of us to be mindful of how much we have to learn.
A Healing River is a significant contribution to the field of restorative justice and its literature.
Thank you for creating it.
Tributary Streams of a Healing River; an in depth study of Restorative Justice (over 14 hrs on 10 DVDs, 2007), builds on the introductory work of Heartspeak Productions. Interviews, workshops and presentations offer a real life glimpse at a specialized branch of the social justice movement and the huge implications restorative justice concepts have for shifting paradigms in criminal justice, education, workplaces and other aspects of society. The production highlights top practitioners, instructors and influential thinkers in the field working with bureaucrats, volunteers and justice professionals to help reveal important nuances of restorative justice and presents vignettes of key issues and struggles. Viewers will gain new understanding ranging from interpersonal dynamics and response to trauma; to political and community based implications of social policy; to philospohical consequences of trying to redesign our ideas of justice. Heartspeak Productions have created a valuable tribute and unique learning tool to support a clearer understanding of crucial ideas. I can think of no other single resource that brings together the various influences that drive the practice of restorative justice today. As a result, its contribution to the development of the movement is timely and important. Tributary Streams of a Healing River should be on the viewing list of all those involved in or interested in social justice.
Through their reflections and captivating stories, wise and experienced voices explore the meaning and implications of not just of a restorative approach to justice but of a restorative world view. Howard Zehr
Dear Larry and Cathie,
I am writing to express sincere appreciation for your participation in our two recent training events with restorative justice conferencing specialists and their supervisors, and for presentation of your film, A Healing River. All participants were impressed with the depth of skill and caring that obviously went into the making of the film, and the passion of your commitment that emerged in the ensuing discussions. Here is some of the feedback:
"provided meaningful and valuable material."
"good philosophical frame of reference."
"video was very powerful and inspirational."
"the film was a wonderful surprise."
"a great reminder of why restorative justice is so important."
"I loved the video, definitely want to see it again."
From my perspective, the combined presentation of theoretical principles, underpinning values, practical applications and anecdotal experiences make the film a valuable training tool for anyone engaged in criminal justice, victim support, public safety or community development programming. It was engaging on both an intellectual and emotional level, while at the same time being a stunning audio-visual experience.
Numerous participants indicated their desire to have the film available as a training tool for both staff and community. I hope you will consider this as you plan for further distribution, and I offer you congratulations on this superb contribution to the restorative justice dialogue.
Thanks again for being an integral part of our training, and best wishes.
Youth Justice Consultant
Ministry of Children and Family Development
Cathie and Larry,
The purpose of this note is to tell you that I have just finished watching "A Healing River." The entire production impressed me so much. The script, the cinematography and the perfect audio quality were second to none. I was fully engaged from the very beginning to the very end. The quality of your work is exceptional and for that reason I am sending you my hearty congratulations.
Thank you for all that you do.
Co-founder Restorative Justice Oak Bay
Restorative Justice is the hot topic of discussion these days whenever the subject of crime and punishment comes up, and for good reason. There are a lot of ways to learn the principles on which it is based, all of which are worth your attention. But this visual document lets you feel the process, live in its power, and wonder how we ever tried to run a society without it.
A Healing River is sensitive, well constructed, thoughtfully organized, nonjudgmental, useful, and quite artistic. A remarkable production!
I look forward to showing it to several of my friends who have expressed interest in this way of dealing with what goes wrong when wronged people do wrong in the eyes of those who think they know right from wrong and have the right to continue the path of wrong.
Donald Nathanson, MD
Executive Director, The Silvan S. Tomkins Institute
Writer and Producer, Managing Shame, Preventing
Violence: A Call to Our Clergy.
Together, Larry Moore and Cathie Douglas, consummate networkers, have managed to bring together a collection of people who bring to life the production’s metaphors: a healing river and its tributary streams, intricate webs and Einstein’s universe, the fragile interconnections between differing worlds and the people that inhabit them.
We (CJI Staff) are often invited to teach, train, or present in settings as varied as: victim services conferences, prisoners’ groups, university classrooms or in-service sessions for professionals and community justice practitioners. Each of these settings require engaging training resources that deal with trauma and recovery, victim and offender needs and issues, shame: its devastating consequences and impact on behaviour, the role of community, and the like. Healing River has proven to be a very effective training tool in a variety of such settings, introducing themes for the sorts of discussion and further interactive work that can make training memorable and effectual.
There are segments of the DVD which powerfully illustrate the important and necessary role of the community in supporting, protecting and encouraging children and youth in their journey to becoming healthy adults. Raven Clan Elder Phil Gatensby’s, question: “Didn’t you see me?” could be an indictment in the hands of other editors, but it is delivered here, rather, as an invitation to all of us to look to our own roles in ensuring the well-being of each of the children of our communities. Equally poignant is the moving segment involving a young man serving life for his role in a murder committed when he was only 15 years old. Is, perhaps, the antidote to shame, sufficient exposure to unconditional love?
The technical quality of the DVD is excellent; the production values extraordinary. Cathie Douglas is a gifted artisan, capturing the cool colour temperatures of the Yukon midnight sun, weaving tapestry of fire, human song and story with subtle artistry and keen eye, almost as though she were the eagle whose flight she captures, surveying all from high aloft, and with equal clarity of vision.
Despite some vivid challenges, the production manages to convey and hold high the values of dignity and respect. If, in all our training and consultation these prevail, there is at least increased hope that justice might, as well.
Dave Gustafson, Co-Director, Community Justice Initiatives
Sandi Bergen, Co-Director, Community Justice Initiatives
I viewed "A Healing River" at a Restorative Justice day at Ferndale Institution. It had a deep healing impact on me. I have been through the Criminal Justice system as a witness and was left with many questions. I longed for justice which was restorative rather than adversarial. Watching "A Healing River" helped me on my healing journey for it gave words to the values, feelings and ideas I have experienced as a survivor of violent crime. More importantly, for the first time on video I heard people from diverse backgrounds, who work with or whose lives have been impacted by serious crime, articulate the values which were constantly lived out during the Victim Offender Mediation process I went through some years ago.
I identified with people in your video as they described the restorative justice values and relationships (based on those values) which have transformed their lives. This common ground where we all meet as humans reaching out to listen and care for one another is at the heart of restorative justice and is expressed so succinctly in this video.
"A Healing River" is full of excellent, timely material that helped me gain a further understanding of trauma and shame and how these affect our lives.
I hope this video is recognized and used as a valuable resource for all of us who are on a healing journey, moving forward from being survivors to being thrivers. Thank you for this exceptional work.
Yolanda Blacklock, Thriver
To Heart Speak Productions,
I want to thank you for inviting me to help with the cataloguing and filming of "A Healing River". It was a great opportunity to learn more about participatory justice and was very emotionally fulfilling. Every time I watch the video, I can not help but think there will be a brighter tomorrow.
The video pulls on every fiber of my being. I have been told when you truly feel love, there are no words to describe it. This documentary is indescribable!
It leaves you with the feeling of pure love and awe. I wish to see this educational package in high school curriculum being used to its full potential to explore the values and principles of restorative justice.
This resource could help further the understanding of our interconnectedness / interdependence and our responsibility to do our best to do right and make right what's wrong.
Warren Paul Glowatski
Prisoner Serving Life
I am writing this letter to express what working with Heartspeak Productions on the "Healing River" video project has done for me. This was a wonderful experience and for someone in my position (in prison) a chance of a life time. To learn employable skills and be a part of something that will help and guide people to a better understanding of restorative justice is amazing. Everything about this project was restorative; symbolical and practical, everyone was included, everyone had an equal voice.
Heartspeak Productions sponsored a trauma workshop by Dr. Joe Solanto, here at Ferndale institution, which victims, prisoners, volunteers and correctional staff were all invited (an example of true restorative practices). Being a person who has been traumatized as a child through sexual abuse, this workshop was very valuable to me. I learned a lot about the effects and symptoms of trauma. For so many years I could not figure out why I reacted the way I did to certain situations, and through this one workshop so many questions were answered. I have learned how to better deal with my trauma and the abuse I suffered.
I also learned about rehabilitation, true rehabilitation and how to achieve it. This video project helps me see many different points of view. The effects of harm and redemption, the many different stages of forgiveness and how to deal with conflict in a positive pro-social way.
Through this job training project I now know what it is that I want to do with my life and what I need to do to achieve my goals. I have learned to apply the values & principles of restorative justice in my day to day life. Once upon a time if you asked me what is restorative justice I could not give you an answer in just one sentence. After working with Heartspeak Productions on countless hours of raw video footage of some of the leading minds on Restorative Justice, I know that restorative justice is "healing harm" plain and simple.
Healing the harm internally and externally through the circle process, equality of position and voice because we are all connected; we are all the same. My self esteem is very high now. I don't think I am better than anyone else, but I do know that I am equal. I know that I can do good. I know that I can be successful when I get out of prison if I work hard and reach out to my community when I need help and guidance.
I believe the most important thing that I have learned is the secret to life — trying not to do any harm. Life is not about being rich, famous, the best or getting over, life is about caring and respecting others, respect for self and helping people when you can, that is the secret to life and happiness.
Deltonia R. Cook
Earlier this week I received (intact) your small parcel with the wonderful new Restorative Justice Videos that you kindly share with my students and me. I have already listened to some of the lectures and found them both interesting and useful. The lecturers speaking on these disks are world known experts on RJ, and it is fascinating to listen to some of their ideas, explanations and insights.
On behalf of my students and myself I wish to thank Heartspeak Productions for their contribution that I will share, in my courses, with our 'multicultural' group of students at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
With many thanks, Uri Yanay (Prof.)
School of Social Work and Social Welfare
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem