Civil rights attorney to talk about the power of restorative justice


A social justice activist and civil rights trial attorney who says restorative justice can promote peace and healing will give a virtual lecture during the University of Michigan’s Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Symposium.

Photo of Fania Davis
Fania Davis

Fania E. Davis will speak at 2 p.m. Jan. 16 over Zoom during “The Power of Restorative Justice,” an event presented by the U-M Library MLK Committee. A link to the Zoom session will be posted at the symposium’s events calendar.

Davis writes and speaks internationally about racial justice and restorative justice. According to her biography, the death of two close childhood friends in the 1963 Sunday School bombing in Birmingham, Alabama, crystallized her passionate commitment to social transformation.

Over the decades that followed, Davis became active in the civil rights, Black liberation, women’s, prisoners’, peace, anti-racial violence and anti-apartheid movements. Her studies with Indigenous healers, particularly in Africa, catalyzed her search for a healing justice and led her to Oakland, California, where she is the founding director of Restorative Justice of Oakland Youth.

Davis’ dedication to justice is what prompted the U-M Library MLK Committee to invite her to speak, said Jamaine M. Wourman, library operations service support manager and chair of the committee.

“We look for speakers whose stories or careers embody things that MLK believed in,” Wourman said.

A scholar and professor with a Ph.D. in Indigenous knowledge, Davis has received several awards for her work. They include the Ubuntu award for service to humanity, the Dennis Maloney Award for excellence in Youth Restorative Justice, World Trust’s Healing Justice award, the Tikkun (Repair the World) award, the Ella Baker/Septima Clark Award, the Bioneer’s Changemaker Award, the LaFarge Social Justice Award and the Ebony POWER 100 award.

Davis is a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and the Los Angeles Times named her a New Civil Rights Leader of the 21st Century.


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