Reflections from Facilitating Difficult Social Justice Conversations: Utilizing African Concepts of Restorative Dialogue



immigrant women, Ubuntu, racism, social justice, restorative dialogue


Following the death of George Floyd, other racial killings that had preceded him and the others that followed, the USA and the world witnessed increased racially driven conflict and tensions. For us as Black immigrant professionals from Kenya now living and working in the United States, this specific incident was especially stupefying, mind jarring, and grotesque to say the least. We felt angered, enraged, and extremely upset by that violent incident. In our attempts to make sense and comprehend the dehumanizing racial violence displayed, the seemingly rising racial tensions around us, the vulnerability we felt, and what this act of violence meant to our own lives, we realized we could no longer remain silent and on the sidelines—we needed to act. This essay is our reflection of the journey we’ve taken since. We discuss some of the activities we’ve engaged in, the conversations we started, and the strategies we have embraced as we co-facilitated interracial conversations in various circles and continue to grapple with the social injustices we witness in this nation every day.

Author Biographies

Wanja Ogongi, Millersville University

Wanja Ogongi, Ph.D., MSW is an Assistant Professor at the Millersville University School of Social Work in Pennsylvania, USA. Her areas of academic, research, and clinical interest and scholarship include: Social and Community Development, International Social Work Practice & Education, Multicultural Mental Health, and Issues affecting the African Diaspora in the United States.

Mary Gitau, Clarke University School of Social Work

Mary W. Gitau, Ph.D., MSW is an Associate Professor of Social Work at Clarke University, Dubuque, Iowa. Her areas of teaching expertise include human diversity and cultural competences; social work research; human behavior; social work practice with communities and organizations, and global/international social work; and social work with immigrants and refugees. Mary’s research interests include multicultural/diversity, cultural competencies, and educational access as strategy to eradicate poverty in developing countries.




How to Cite

Ogongi, W., & Gitau, M. (2022). Reflections from Facilitating Difficult Social Justice Conversations: Utilizing African Concepts of Restorative Dialogue. Reflections: Narratives of Professional Helping, 28(2), 73–81. Retrieved from



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