Circle Keeper

Dorchester, MA

Janet Connors comes to OurRJ as a long time community and social justice activist in Boston, targeting neighborhoods most affected by violence and social injustices.  She brings over 40 years experience working with youth and families in community based organizations including her important work as a Survivor Support Coordinator at the Louis Brown Peace Institute, a Community Fellow and Trainer with the Center for Restorative Justice at Suffolk University, and her membership in the Massachusetts Restorative Justice Collaborative, Mothers for Justice and Equality, “Legacy Lives On” Survivor Support Organization, the Leadership Team of the Family Advisory Committee for the Department of Children and Families, and is a Survivor to Survivor Support and Program Consultant to the Homicide Support Services Program at the BIDMC Violence Prevention and Recovery Center. A survivor herself, Janet lost her son, Joel, to homicide.  Her own personal journey brought about a change in policy practice to Massachusetts, offering victims the option of participating in Victim-Offender Dialogue. She has met in restorative dialogue with two of the young men who killed her son and their mothers. Janet has particular experience in keeping circles with families to promote healing from grief and trauma, to assist families with decision-making, peace-keeping efforts, and preparation for the court process.  Janet brings restorative justice practices to schools as alternatives to suspension and as a means to build positive relationships and a strong community by engaging in meaningful dialogue through the Circle Process.