Dr. Davis, co-founder and director of Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth (RJOY), a national thought leader in the field, she is a long-time social justice activist, a restorative justice scholar and professor, and a civil rights attorney with a Ph.D. in indigenous knowledge. Coming of age in Birmingham, Alabama during the social ferment of the civil rights era, the murder of two close childhood friends in the 1963 Sunday School bombing crystallized within Dr. Davis a passionate commitment to social transformation.
For the next decades, she was active in the civil rights, Black liberation, women’s, prisoners’, peace, socialist, anti-imperialist, anti-racial violence and antiapartheid movements. After receiving her law degree from University of California, Berkeley in 1979, Dr. Davis practiced almost 27 years as a civil rights trial lawyer with a subspecialty in academic discrimination. During the late 1990’s, she entered a Ph.D. program in indigenous studies at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and apprenticed with traditional healers around the globe, particularly in Africa.
Dr. Davis has since taught Restorative Justice and Indigenous Peacemaking at graduate and undergraduate levels. She has also served as counsel to the International Council of Thirteen Indigenous Grandmothers.
Dr. Davis speaks and writes on the subjects of School-Based Restorative Justice, Race and Restorative Justice, the Indigenous Roots of Restorative Justice, Social Justice and Restorative Justice, Truth and Reconciliation, Youth-based Restorative Justice, the School-to-Prison Pipeline, Mass Incarceration, and other topics.
Numerous honors include the Ubuntu Service to Humanity award, the Maloney award recognizing exceptional contributions in youth-based restorative justice, World Trust’s Healing Justice award, the Tikkun (Repair the World) Award, the Bioneer’s Changemaker Award, and the LaFarge Social Justice Award. She is also a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.
The Los Angeles Times named Dr. Davis a “New Civil Rights Leader of the 21st Century”. She is a mother, grandmother, dancer, and yoga and qigong practitioner.