PESA LMU advocates restorative justice

Students Greg de Gersdorff, Brian Gilmartin, Charles Luxton, Simona Vishnevsky and Nathaniel Flores pose with Judge David Wesley (third from left), who spoke at a PESA LMU event on juvenile restorative justice. His work with the teen court and SHADES court programs are designed to handle crime among youth through rehabilitation rather than punishment.

Parents, Educators and Students in Action (PESA) LMU is a student organization that Brian Gilmartin, a senior history major, began in Spring 2019. He organized the club in conjunction with the wider PESA group, a Los Angeles non-profit that aims to support the community through its pillars of advocacy, mentorship and education. According to Gilmartin, PESA has given several members of PESA LMU internship opportunities. He also mentioned that the club “participates in a number of educational initiatives aimed at educating at-risk youth in LA about diversity, tolerance, and genocide awareness."

The club helps students to gain experience with law, education, criminal justice and restorative justice as well as facilitating positive change. One of the ways PESA LMU has worked toward making this change was through their "Restorative and Juvenile Justice in Los Angeles: Past, Present, and Future" event, where speaker Judge David Wesley spoke on his past experience working with minors on restorative justice, a justice system that focuses on rehabilitation rather than punishment. Wesley mentioned he believes that "most minors will age out of criminality and become productive citizens," and that this type of justice is important for this reason.

PESA LMU has no dues or application processes in the effort to make its pursuit of social justice accessible to everyone. They currently have over 20 active members and are looking for more. More information can be found on their Instagram @PESALMU or by contacting pesalmu@gmail.com.

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