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Photo courtesy Kathleen McGoey

Kathleen McGoey is Executive Director of Longmont Community Justice Partnership

By Lisa Truesdale

Q: Why did you move to Longmont, and what do you like most about it?
Kathleen McGoey: I love living in Longmont because it feels like people are sincerely interested and committed to defining the identity and culture(s) of their community. From my perspective, most people didn’t just end up in Longmont, they made a choice to live here, and the diversity of their backgrounds and life experiences contributes to a sense of openness and welcome. This is incredibly important for my work in restorative justice, which relies on community participation in the process of creating justice and reintegration. Not to mention Longmont has beautiful parks, great restaurants and a charming downtown district!

Q: What is restorative justice?
A: Longmont Community Justice Partnership (LCJP) is a nonprofit that provides restorative justice services and training in Longmont and throughout Colorado. In Longmont, law-enforcement officers and the municipal court have the option to refer youth and adult offenders to LCJP instead of making an arrest or writing a ticket. LCJP trains volunteers to facilitate dialogue between victims, offenders, community members and police to identify how people have been affected and how the offender can repair those harms, with priority placed on addressing the victim’s needs.
If offenders complete their agreements to make things right, they will not have a criminal conviction on their record for that incident. Our amazing partnership with the Longmont Police makes this possible, and other programs around the U.S. are striving to replicate ours. Additionally, LCJP trains school personnel in utilizing restorative practices as alternatives to suspension and expulsion. This collaboration can transform our communities to become more compassionate and inclusive.

Q: What are LCJP’s goals?
A: My vision is for more people and agencies to come to LCJP to learn how to use restorative practices to address conflict in any context (not only within the justice system). We teach skills for holding difficult conversations in a way that prioritizes repairing relationships and rebuilding trust. Gaining these kinds of communication tools helps us to be more honest, with others and ourselves. I believe that taking responsibility for how we communicate and interact with others is at the heart of the systemic change needed to create safer, healthier communities.

Years in Longmont:
Family: Brothers Patrick and Michael, nephew Jaden, niece Kessiah

Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I love to dance, and I’m having a lot of fun at an Afro-Brazilian dance class with Samba Colorado. I currently teach a qigong (movement meditation) class in Longmont, and I really enjoy sharing this simple practice that helps people slow down and feel good. I’ve also found that incorporating fun into the workplace is essential for resilience. For a staff member’s recent birthday, we staged a surprise zombie attack that targeted all restorative practitioners of Longmont. The staff member had to run around downtown Longmont collecting clues and solving riddles to save her peers. She succeeded!