Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Western Justice Center Foundations' Peer Mediation Invitational
Euphoria! Optimism! New Found Hope in our Future! Awe! These were some of the deep emotions I felt experiencing the Western Center for Justice Foundation's Peer Mediation Invitational yesterday. There, they gathered 60 Elementary School aged Peer Mediators for an observed Mediation "role play". One of the children I had the privilege to observe, Jasmine, had been a Peer Mediator for three years: and she was only in the 5th grade! The kids got to "agreement" and got to the "underlying issues" with such ease and innocence. It was truly remarkable. I was also privileged to Co-Coach with Justice Barry Russell, who is the presiding Judge in the US Bankruptcy Court in Los Angeles. Justice Russell understands the value of mediation, and of "teaching our children". He is a Board member of the WCJF and took the day off to observe. I reminded him that he taught me bankruptcy at Loyola Law School way back in 1979. That was my last foray into bankruptcy, thankfully, but it was rewarding to find that he had come to the same place as I had--if only for the day. Justice Dorothy Nelson, of the U.S. Court of Appeal was equally charming and inspiring to the children (and their coaches!). I was struck by the openness of these kids to the notion that they can choose their own paths as adults. Some will choose the military, some will choose to be "Peacemakers" and others will aspire to be Judges, or athletes or artists. Their generation may indeed make a difference to ours. AMEN. Before the day was over, we danced with a multicultural band, Najeeba Sayeed-Miller, the Center's Director with her baby on her hip, dancing the very non-traditional Indian style...with many non-traditional followers! Great rewarding work. Thrilled to have the opportunity!