Restorative Justice with Fania Davis

Drew WIlson -

Fania Davis, Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow 2019

Carlow University Welcomes Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and Social Justice Activist Fania Davis, for Events During the Week of March 18

Carlow University will welcome Woodrow Wilson Visiting Fellow and social justice activist, Fania Davis, JD, PhD, to campus for the week of March 18.  Davis' appearance for the week is sponsored by the Education Department at Carlow. 

"Fania Davis is a champion of civil rights and an inspiration to our students and educational partners," said Keely Baronak, EdD, chair of the Education Department at Carlow University.  "Her influential work in Restorative Justice resonates deeply in our community as we engage in deep and meaningful conversations around racial inequality, disproportionality in student achievement, and a lack of diversity in our educator workforce. We are thrilled to welcome her to Pittsburgh."

Davis, who is the co-founder and director of Restorative Justice of Oakland (CA) Youth, will meet with Carlow students, faculty, and staff several times throughout the week, and will also lead two public discussions about restorative justice on Wednesday, March 20 and Thursday, March 21.  These two events are free and open to the public. 

Wednesday, March 20 - "The School to Prison Pipeline."  This event is scheduled for 4:30 to 5:30 pm, in the Gailliot Center, located on the fifth floor of University Commons, on the Carlow campus. for tickets, visit

Davis will share the story of her personal journey to restorative justice and will offer an RJ 101 presentation, how it differs from the prevailing form of justice, and its history and practice models. The presentation will also focus on the way it is being used in Oakland, California schools and the juvenile justice system to interrupt racialized mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline.  It is co-sponsored by Carlow's Women's and Gender Studies Committee, the Social Justice Institutes, and the Pittsburgh YWCA.


Thursday, March 21 - "Restorative Justice Practices: Disrupting the School-to-Prison Pipeline." This event will be held at Arsenal Middle School, in Lawrenceville, from 6 to 8 pm.  Presentation from 6-7 pm, followed by a panel discussion from 7-8 pm. For tickets, visit

An overview of restorative justice, including its origins, principles, practices and data, with a focus on its African indigenous roots and its intersection with racial justice, particularly the way it is being used in Oakland, California to interrupt racialized mass incarceration and the school-to-prison pipeline. Davis will also share the story of her personal journey to racial justice and restorative justice. It is co-sponsored with A+ Schools and Trying Together board members.  

A national thought leader in the field or restorative justice, Davis, who is a scholar and professor as well as a civil rights attorney, grew up in Birmingham, AL, where she was close friends with two children murdered in the 1963 Sunday School bombing.  The impact of this event gave her a passionate commitment to civil rights and social transformation. 

Biography -- Fania E. Davis, J.D., Ph.D.

Co-founder and Director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), a national thought leader in the field, Fania Davis is a long-time social justice activist, a restorative justice scholar and professor, and a civil rights attorney with a Ph.D. in indigenous knowledge. Coming of age in Birmingham, Alabama during the social ferment of the civil rights era, the murder of two close childhood friends in the 1963 Sunday School bombing crystallized within Dr. Davis a passionate commitment to social transformation.

For the next decades, she was active in the civil rights, Black liberation, women's, prisoners', peace, socialist, anti-imperialist, anti-racial violence and antiapartheid movements. After receiving her law degree from University of California, Berkeley in 1979, Dr. Davis practiced almost 27 years as a civil rights trial lawyer with a subspecialty in academic discrimination. During the late 1990's, she entered a Ph.D. program in indigenous studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and apprenticed with traditional healers around the globe, particularly in Africa. Dr. Davis has since taught Restorative Justice and Indigenous Peacemaking at graduate and undergraduate levels. She has also served as counsel to the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers. Dr. Davis speaks and writes on the subjects of School-Based Restorative Justice, Race and Restorative Justice, the Indigenous Roots of Restorative Justice, Social Justice and Restorative Justice, Truth and Reconciliation, Youth-based Restorative Justice, the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Mass Incarceration, and other topics.

Numerous honors include the Ubuntu Service to Humanity award, the Maloney award recognizing exceptional contributions in youth-based restorative justice, World Trust's Healing Justice award, the Tikkun (Repair the World) Award, the Bioneer's Changemaker Award, and the LaFarge Social Justice Award. She is also a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.  The Los Angeles Times named Dr. Davis a "New Civil Rights Leader of the 21st Century". She is a mother, grandmother, dancer, and yoga and qigong practitioner.

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