We had the good fortune of connecting with Dr. Shaniqua Jones and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Dr. Shaniqua, as a parent, what do you feel is the most meaningful thing you’ve done for them?
Recently, I released my 7th published work, Pineapple Orange Juice: Bridging The Gap Between Parents and Educators where I share some of my most intimate moments as a mother, educator, and Restorative Justice Practitioner before and during the deadliest virus, racism coupled with COVID-19. I am an advocate of the power of self-reflection and storytelling. I live my life by the mantra, A Journey Not Shared Is A Soul Not Healed™. I share this to provide sustainable and tangible solutions that have helped me on my journey as a parent pre-COVID and even more now during these perilous times. The sliver lining in this experience is that I have unlearned to relearn my five children. I have learned how to humanize their experiences as well as understand the concept that validation is for parking only. I have truly learned how to best implement Restorative Justice as a way of life; especially in our home. We discuss matters of the heart before we dive into any conversation revolving around chores, business, and/or school. We all have a voice in our home to the extent that respect is honored without having to reiterate the need to do so. Our bond is tighter than ever before. I reflect on the errors of my ways when I was younger, ill-equipped with a poverty mindset to learn the lessons that fuels my passion present day. As a full-time educator as well as the Founder + CEO of Purple Path, I have embraced the words of Bishop T.D. Jakes, “Your wounds are your brand!”
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
As a full-time educator, I am the District Coordinator of Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices where I ensure students have all equitable and alternative opportunities to thrive opposed to traditional zero-tolerance policies. I educate our students, staff, administrators, and other key shareholders to the foundations of Restorative Justice as a way of life to positively shift the climate and culture to one that is more compassionate, empathetic, and creative. In what we are experiencing due to racial unrest and the global pandemic, we have a great opportunity to reimagine education and redefine the village. Also, I am in the final stages of releasing our district-wide Restorative Justice Plan and developing a full Restorative Justice Training Series that will be mandated to complete. This is huge and I am overjoyed! I wish the words that you read rings loud as you read them to express just how excited I am. As an alumna of this same school district, this is one of many ways to create positive, sustainable change as well as pay-it-forward. My other professional role is the Founder + CEO of Purple Path. Purple Path is an organization founded on the principles of Restorative Justice and Restorative Practices that help youth, families, educators, and law enforcement agents understand and live a more meaningful existence and dismantle the punitive systems that alienate and dehumanize life. Purple Path provides outstanding motivational signature talks, seminars, training sessions, and workshops that focus on the power of storytelling to aid in the healing process. We provide full wraparound services for youth and families impacted by deep-rooted harms. We pride ourselves in proactively building community as well. I can recall many trials I experienced as a 15-year old girl lost and suffering from one traumatic experience that was the onset of other situations; some I could control and others I could not. I was a teen mother, suffered from a mental illness and postpartum depression but lacked the knowledge as well as the resources to understand what I was experiencing. From domestic violence, rape, sexual assault, homelessness, cervical cancer, and other mishaps/obstacles, I have been able to come out on the other side with a drive and commitment to help someone else. My mother calls me the “comeback kid” – I love it. What’s the point of overcoming all of these obstacles if I am not willing to help others. I thank God for my life and the ability to do the work…..
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Haha! In the midst of this pandemic, I have to be totally honest. I would prepare a home cooked meal. I have stepped my cooking skills up during this time. My home is welcoming and filled with love, creativity, and peace. I love enjoying movies; specifically thought-provoking documentaries, etc. as well as participating in dance challenges with my children. We even staged a part of our home as a studio for recordings, photoshoots, and to tap into our creative flow. I know this may not sound like the most exciting but this is what we find joy in these days. Oh! We definitely love loving on our paw baby, Rosie. She is a two-year old Shitzu. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am shouting out a few educational institutions and community organizations that has helped me along the way as well as allowed me to use full creative control to produce the work I am so passionate about, Restorative Justice + Restorative Practices. 1. Thornton Township High School District 205 2. Cook County Southland Juvenile Justice Council 3. Harvey School District 152 My husband, children, and mother deserves recognition for being my greatest supporters. Thank you Mr. Jones, Patricia, Patrick, Ayanna, Ariel, Sanaa and Ms. Odia Anderson.
Flyers and photo credit: Felice Kimbrew of FMK Media, LLC