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In addition to our work with membership, developing position and policy statements, providing mini-grants, and hosting the National Conference on Community and Restorative Justice, NACRJ operates a growing number of programs to convene and connect the fields of community and restorative justice. Please join our mailing list or check our Events calendar for information on upcoming circles, webinars, and other gatherings.


Our online Community Sharing Circles bring people together for deeply meaningful connection and conversation. Since 2020, hundreds of people from across the country and world have participated in these circles to build community and to respond to acts of violence and injustices impacting our country. Due to the positive feedback we’ve received from participants, we plan to increase the frequency of Circles offered in 2023. Examples of Circles we’ve hosted include:

  • Community Sharing Circle on Restorative Responses to COVID-19 (April 2020)
  • Acknowledging the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd: A Community Sharing Circle (June 2020)
  • Addressing Harm & Establishing Hope in our Current Educational (K-12 Schools) Landscape (September 2020)
  • Post-Election Listening Circle (November 2020)
  • Exploring the Future of Law Enforcement: A Restorative Community Conversation (July 2021)
  • Acknowledging the death of Daunte Wright: A Community Sharing Circle (April 2021)
  • Acknowledging the death of Tyre Nichols: A Community Sharing Circle (February 2023)
  • Gun Violence in 2023: A Community Listening Circle (May 2023)
  • A Talking Circle To Celebrate Pride 2024 (June 2023)
  • Restorative Justice Week Circle (November 2023)

We could not host these circles without the dozens of people who volunteer their time to serve as Circle Keepers. Thank you to the following for serving as organizers and Circle Keepers in the past few years:

Vanessa M., Catherine C., Shannon S., Olivia C., Regina P., J Renee T., Leslie F., Stephanie K., Tamara S., Caitlin M., Lehidy F., Michelle D., Kimberly C., Vanessa W., Sheryl W., Ames S., Mike G., Jeffrey W., Deb W., Shane C., Camisha F., Kim C., Kathy B., Lee R., Emmanuel A., Joia C., William J., Justine O., Marshawn W., Trinice H., Samantha S., Paige D., Sage R., Abby W., Zyshaun J., Brooklyn H., Chauna P-F.

We are continuously adding experienced Circle Keepers to our roster. If you are someone who practices Circle and are interested in serving as a Circle Keeper for NACRJ Community Sharing Circles, please contact for more information.

Joel Friesz, NACRJ Executive Director, hosts virtual circles for two main purposes: Firstly, to create a supportive space where NACRJ members can gather, connect, and share. Secondly, to actively listen to our members’ insights, allowing us to better serve the NACRJ community. These circles are a dedicated time for individuals to pause amidst life’s demands and engage in meaningful Circle practice together.

Message from Joel Friesz:
I experienced my first circle in 2008 and have been an avid student and advocate of the process ever since. To serve the field of community and restorative justice in the ways I aspire to, I know I need to be in Circle as much as possible to listen, learn, and connect with our NACRJ members and wider community. Prior to the COVID pandemic, I would not have envisioned the elements of Circle could be effective via video (i.e., a virtual space). However, over the past several years I’ve learned many elements of Circle are indeed effective via video. With NACRJ being a national organization with wide geographic reach of members, I am utilizing Zoom to host periodic Circles with the primary intent to 1) hear directly from NACRJ members on how I (and NACRJ) can be of service to them and 2) provide a space where NACRJ members can come together to connect with one another. Above all else, this is simply a time for people to step away from the busyness of life and be in circle with one another.

NACRJ members are making an impact across the country. We created this series to highlight new resources and ideas and to facilitate new connections.

October 2022 Member Spotlight: Elevating LGBTIQA2S+ Needs in Restorative Justice Practices: Restorative Rainbow Alliance Restorative Justice Facilitator Code of Conduct. Watch the recording here.  

NACRJ is connected to an expansive group of talented and experienced speakers, trainers, facilitators, circle keepers, and practitioners across the country via our membership and networks. If you are seeking to be connected to someone from the field of community and restorative justice, please contact us at

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