Debra Gittler, founder and executive director of Contextos, spoke with US students about her work in criminal justice reform this week. Contextos promotes the power of education and personal narrative to foster critical thinking and promote healing surrounding incarceration and other trauma.
Contextos works in El Salvador and Chicago to uplift the voices and insights of people affected by trauma to challenge assumptions and provoke change. Gittler spoke about affecting the root causes of violence in both areas to create real change. In addition, the organization works to help at the various points of trauma to promote healing. The “Soy Autor” program helps these individuals to tell the stories of who they are through self-reflection, social-emotional learning and accountability. Contextos works with juveniles and adults awaiting trial, with students and in workforce development and community centers.
Contextos is partnering with the Upper School Criminal Justice Club this year. When asked about the partnership, junior Suzanne Alden said, “We want to educate the Parker community on the neglect that incarcerated and formerly incarcerated citizens face citywide and nationwide. We can't wait to further our partnership with Contextos by bringing in more speakers from the organization, fundraising and, when it is safe, volunteering.”