Andy and Diana (see biographies below) work to create policies and infrastructure for community ethics and accountability for organizations in fields ranging from educational institutions and therapy providers to art collectives, and have been educating around alternative justice systems for many years at colleges, professional conferences, and with activist groups.
We firmly believe that the infrastructure of the civil and criminal courts is rarely the effective conflict resolution tool that participants hope it will be, and that an out-of-court process in which clients seek to work collaboratively from a basis of shared understanding and mutual care is not only more consistent with our personal politics but also frequently more efficient, effective, and sustainable.
We believe wholeheartedly that alternative justice tools such as Transformative and Restorative Justice processes* are powerful when turned to the interests of members of marginalized or over-policed communities, who are frequently underserved and targeted for violence by the state and its structures of justice, and particularly those who have existing trauma that would render interaction with those structures far more torturous, including but not limited to sexual assault survivors.
Alternative justice systems and conflict resolution paradigms allow marginalized people to strengthen community bonds, resist disposability, and build power and resilience that is not dependent on state violence. This empowerment is beneficial for communities as well as for their traumatized and disempowered members, and the creation of tools for individual empowerment with regards to institutional abuse is a way of taking an unambiguous stand in defense of those community members.
When we work with organizations and events, we help them to create policies and infrastructure tailored to their needs and communities for the prevention of and response to misconduct, harm, and violence within their communities. This can include codes of ethics, harassment and accountability policies, reporting and response mechanisms; it often includes ongoing work as a trainer, external advisor, mediator, and alternative justice systems facilitator if and when conflict and harm arise.
For an example of this kind of work, see The Practice of Transformative Justice workshop hosted by Sex Postive City which we facilitated in NYC in February 2018.
We are committed to making this work available to communities that need it, and welcome organizers to contact us to discuss rates and scope to collaboratively create a plan that is within your organization’s budget.
*Note that we use the terms Restorative and Transformative Justice to differentiate between two systems with different goals.
Restorative Justice is an ethos and a set of tools based in healing of harm and sincere and supported work to transform by the person who committed the harm, rather than punishment.
Transformative Justice is an ethos and a set of tools that builds on restorative justice by implicating the responsibility of the community for contributing to the conditions that allowed the harm to happen, and responding to the harm with collective support of survivors, healing of the community itself, and movement towards a world free from violence.
You are welcome to read Andy's medium.com post "Why It's Painful and Scary To Talk About Transformative Justice, and Why It's Time" for a longer and more personal description of this work. (CW: suicide, assault)
Diana Adams, Esq. is Principal and Founder of Diana Adams Law & Mediation, PLLC, based out of New York City and Frankfurt, Germany. Diana founded this boutique family law and mediation firm which primarily serves the LGBTQIA+ community and non-nuclear families.
Diana is a mediator, lawyer, speaker, facilitator, and coach. Healthy honest communication is the thread throughout Diana’s work, and she teaches Courageous Conversations workshops to help people communicate more honestly and effectively. In all of these roles, Diana encourages and teaches others to speak beyond taboos, through fear, about crucial issues like relationships, consent, sexuality, monogamy, parenting, money, and trauma and is passionately dedicated to helping form healthy, stable families and communities.
Diana has extensive experience in both domestic violence and sexual assault cases, as well as community mediation. She is also a proud member of The LGBTQI Family Professionals of New York, a NY collective of LGBTQI attorneys, mediators, mental health professionals, and financial professionals, who often work together in the collaborative process to support families, individuals, and groups without court intervention.
Andy Izenson, Esq. is an Associate Attorney with Diana Adams Law & Mediation, PLLC and is a passionate advocate for queer and nontraditional families and for trans and gender-nonconforming youth. As a trained mediator and collaborative attorney, Andy aids every facet of Diana Adams' practice, and aids clients with a broad array of legal needs. In addition to being an attorney, Andy is an activist and educator around gender, sexuality, positive consent practices, and de-escalation and communication. He has spent the last decade creating community events in the LGBTQ and polyamorous communities, including week-long retreats, and learning about best practices for safety and accountability policies from that experience.
Andy is further extensively trained in alternative justice systems and conflict resolution paradigms. He received his mediation training with the Center for Understanding in Conflict, a restorative justice circlekeeper certification with the Restorative Center, and training in transformative justice practices from Dr. Mimi Kim at Creative Interventions. Andy also recently participated in a circlekeeper mastery training with Kay Pranis, which deepened his understanding both of the mechanics of restorative justice and its integration into larger social structures. See for example this Practice of Transformative Justice workshop at the World Fellowship Center Andy lead in July 2018.