Truth and Reconciliation (T&R) is coming to terms with the wrongdoings of one's past in order to find liberation. The T&R commission was founded in 1995, reaching its way into more than 40 countries over the past 2 decades. The purpose behind T&R is divided into 2 parts. The first part is the Truth. It looks at global trends of mass violations to human rights, and basically confronts them. Countries or organizations look at how human rights or other problems have been violated, and they acknowledge it in order to move onto the next step. Reconciliation. The reconciliation part is designed for those who have been denied their human rights to start to heal and find reassurance for their traumas. It's recognizing that what happened was wrong, but it won't happen again, and it won't be hidden either.
One form of truth and reconciliation is restorative justice. Restorative justice repairs the harm that is caused by crime. Victims, offenders, and community members meet to decide how they will restore that peace. The results can be transformational. Restorative justice emphasizes accountability, making amends, and if they are interested, facilitated meetings between victims, offenders, and other persons. It focuses on bettering the person, rather than punishing them for a long series of time. RJ helps the prisoner/offender go back into the community and be able to function as a normal human being.
There are several countries that have made in impact with truth and reconcilation. However the case that relates to America the most, is South Africa. South Africa also had a racial Apartheid, and South Africa took action to repair the problems. For more information, click below.
However, a major truth and reconcilation approach hasn't reached the United States yet. There are organizations in the United States, that work towards integrating truth and reconciliation in their states and hopefully, around the world. One of the bigger, organizations is Equal Justice Initiative, located in Alabama. They have several museums/memorials and involve the community in their work as much as possible.
Another organization/site using truth and reconciliation to educate the community, is the New York Times. It was published in 2019, to acknowledge the 400th anniversary of slavery being introduced to America. On the website, there are various projects consisting of essays from different point of views, a podcast about a girl and her families struggles throughout the years, art essays, etc.
This project was made to just introduce America to slavery and the reality it has had on black communities since the first slave boat arrived. It shows perspectives of black people and their takes on slavery, that aren't shown in textbooks often.
Click the link below to see the different pieces of art, essays, and the podcast!
Slowly, but surely, truth and reconciliation is making it's way into the United States. It's educating the community, driving some of them to want to make a difference. With more people, T&R can make its way into the criminal justice system.