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Guiding Principles & Core Values

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Who Are We?

The Center for Truth, Racial Healing, and Restorative Justice [The Center] is an academic and theo-praxis institute within the Berkeley School of Theology. The Center was created to bring the resources of the academy, combined with the wisdom of theological and religious traditions, to bear upon critical social and public issues pertaining to truth, racial healing, and restorative justice. The Center is designed to work locally and globally to offer opportunities for theological reflection, education, critique, and practice related to justice matters in public policy.

We take particular interest in the matters of Truth in an age where objective facts are hidden, contested, or denied because dishonesty and misinformation are widespread and normative. We pursue Racial Healing because historic racial injustice remains underacknowledged and unresolved, while contemporary racial strife grows. We seek to establish Restorative Justice as a viable primary component of the criminal justice system, as well as a useful framework for public discourse and debate on all issues, including economic reparations, racial disparity in sentencing, the prison industrial complex, environmental justice and racism, and immigration reform.

Much of what we have come to understand about truth, race, and justice has been shaped by religious and theological thought that is grounded in male-dominated Eurocentric, colonial perspectives. Our approach and commitment will decolonize theological education by challenging traditional Biblical interpretations and theological assumptions and by welcoming diverse ethnic and cultural voices to offer fresh, far-sighted, fair, and faith-filled diagnoses and prescriptions for public pathways that move toward a more inclusive, just, and sustainable world.

We Realize Our Objectives By:

Offering rigorous courses of study and learning experiences for students of the BST and GTU to become leaders who speak truth to power and who are prepared to lead in the work of racial healing and restorative justice.

Conducting research to collect, analyze, and publish data that provide facts and lead to truth.

Acting as a catalyst for public inquiry and dialogues through opinion pieces, whitepapers, and public statements that bring attention to critical public and social issues, and that encourage public engagement.

Convening symposia, workshops and conferences with thought leaders and subject experts to engage in informed dialogue that leads toward praxis-oriented conclusions.

Collaborating with public, private, faith-inspired, and civic organizations to accumulate resources [financial, social, intellectual], and develop comprehensive sustainable proposals and programs that address issues of concern and highlight the value of teamwork and collaboration.

Our Priorities and Decision Making Are Guided by the Following Principles:

Academic Excellence – we employ high standards of academic research, study, and discourse to establish empirical foundations for the public discussion of social issues.

Accountability and Integrity – we keep our word and do what we say that we will do. We learn from our mistakes and resolve problems quickly.

Collaboration and Community – we seek alliance and partnerships within and outside the Center to promote teamwork and mutual support.

Communication, Honesty, and Transparency – we speak the truth with clarity, consistency, and conviction. We share our intentions, operations, and results openly and honestly with stakeholders and the broader public.

Diversity – we actively invite, and embrace and celebrate a range of different cultures, religions, ideas, and thoughts.

Innovation – we explore, welcome, and value different and novel approaches to subjects and issues that enable us to adapt to economic changes, social movements, and growth.

Our Individual Character and Behavior As Well As Our Operations and Governance Are Rooted In Strong Core Values:

Compassion, Concern and Humility – we act with compassion, concern, and humility and do our best to make the world a better place.

Courage – we boldly shape the attitudes, actions, and decisions of others by speaking truth to and against power and utilizing a moral compass of principles that guide how we behave toward each other.

Gratitude – we show gratitude and appreciation for opportunities to impact fully make a difference in the lives of others locally and globally.

Perseverance – we set goals and boldly pursue them to achievement. We learn from our mistakes and resolve problems quickly, keep track of our performance, and encourage and reward accountability and leadership.

Respect and Kindness – we treat everyone equally and with respect and kindness regardless of title, skill level or background.

The Results of the Center's Efforts Are Evidenced Through:

Alignment – The Center for Truth, Racial Healing, and Restorative Justice aligns with the Berkeley School of Theology’s (BST) Mission of “creating leaders for communities of Christian faith, hope, and justice” and the Center’s core values (See above). BST’s mission can be characterized as preparing ministers to serve people in the 21st century’s multicultural and multiracial contexts. To meet this challenge, the Center will remain innovative and committed to decolonizing theological education. Decolonization of theological education is necessary for us to assume our role in reconciliation between local and global communities (2 Cor. 5:18).

Awareness – The Center for Truth, Racial Healing, and Restorative Justice represents BST’s thoughtful concern for people struggling to survive past and ongoing social injustices such as Racial Disparity in Sentencing and the Prison Industrial Complex, Immigration Reform, Environmental Justice and Racism, and the Restorative Justice Process (which include economic reparations). The Center is committed to dialogue with and between thought leaders in areas of concern to further address injustices (Psalm 18:6).

Agency – The Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Restorative Justice functions as a change agent and an innovative catalyst that develops, compares, contrasts, critiques, and discusses mutual organizational cultures and strategic plans. Furthermore, the Center is a catalyst which builds our partners communities’ capacities to reach their goals and objectives Isaiah 1:18).

Access – The Center for Truth, Racial Healing and Restorative Justice serves as an entry point into privileged spaces that have been made difficult deliberately for sociomarginalized people to negotiate. The Center then advocates for democratic diversity and participation in these exclusive spaces and by which we seek to abolish oppression in all its forms (John 8:36).

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