Southern Truth and Reconciliation responds to requests from communities with histories of lynching and other communal forms of racial and ethnic violence. When Archbishop Desmond Tutu, who chaired the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, left his visiting professorship at Emory University, he challenged the United States to address its history of racial violence with an effort equivalent to that of the South African process. S.T.A.R. was founded in 2003 as a response to Archbishop Tutu’s challenge.
S.T.A.R. partners with communities to adapt the truth and reconciliation process to local needs, on the premise that truth-telling and acknowledgement by all stakeholders must precede healing, reconciliation and justice for the entire community. Although S.T.A.R. does not oppose the prosecution of perpetrators, it does advocate for, and educates communities about, a menu of programs and processes that may contribute to restorative justice and community building. S.T.A.R. supports projects that require analyzing local community needs, documenting human rights violations, institutional reform and policy recommendations, and advancing community-wide reconciliation. It starts with requests from local leaders seeking justice and reconciliation for human rights violations. It focuses on the South, but it also responds to leaders outside the South as resources allow.
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